Martial arts helped protect me while living in fear

In *Renee’s own words: My first introduction to taekwondo was around 2006 as a mother to a spirited 3 year old, I wanted to get back into shape and found a friendly environment to learn and train in at IronTiger Castle Hill. 

The competitive sports that I had played before having a baby (touch football, tennis and athletics) just didn’t fit into my life, but Taekwondo started at 7pm which I could make most weeks.  After training for two years and getting to blue belt, baby #2 and #3 came along.

I was wholly consumed by my babies, full time work and an unwell husband, so I took a 9 year break from TKD.

In December last year, I finally separated from my husband.  We had been together for 22 years and married for 16 years.

I was careful around my husband for the last 6 years and fearful of him for the last 3 years.  The first few times he attempted to hurt me, I had no idea of what was happening, I had no clue about how to protect myself.

I was lucky he decided to stop.  I didn’t like the idea of depending on my luck for much longer as things began to escalate and the attacks became physical more often.

I found my way back to TKD in 2017 and found Master Di had added self defence, boxing and offered commando Krav Maga courses to the already tough sparring sessions I attended.

She answered my “innocent” questions like “what if someone is strangling you and has you pinned against a wall?”.

I learned to fall properly, roll properly and at all times keep myself safe.  The attacks from my husband continued, but I didn’t allow myself to be pinned, I kicked him away (side kick, cut kick, hook kick).

I didn’t fall again, I now knew how to put myself in the best position to be safe.  I didn’t get hurt again.

The fear didn’t leave me, but at least now I knew what to do.

(*Renee entered 2019 as a newly single mum, however a Pink Belt Scholarship has enabled her to continue with her Taekwondo training)

I’ve known Master Di for over 12 years now, so of course I expected to be trained well.  What I didn’t expect was the family I would gain from TKD.  What I didn’t expect was the confidence I would gain from being around such a great group of people.

The families I have met through training and as I now follow my children to tournaments is so incredibly supportive and caring, it’s an amazing community to be a part of.

For my now 16 year old son, who also bore the brunt of my husband’s violence, TKD has given him physical ability, flexibility, confidence, mental strength and poise.  I know there are many women experiencing what I have lived through and aren’t fortunate enough to learn what I did in time to keep themselves safe.

I can only be thankful that I knew where to go.  I will forever be grateful for learning the things I learned.  I will never forget the service that TKD has done for me and for my three children.

(* name changed to protect identity)

Read more updates from other Scholarship Recipients:



  1. Mel Reply

    Hi Renee* and Kristy

    Thank you for sharing your experience, you are very brave. It is wonderful that the Pink Belt Scholarship enabled you to keep training with your Taekwondo family. Best wishes to you and your children for a safe and more carefree future.

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