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Martial arts kids to have very memorable journey

DUBBY HENRY
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013
tae kwon do
DUBBY HENRY
BRING IT ON: Practising their tae kwon do stances are, from left: Takanini coach Robyn Ferrier, cousins Chozen Wanahi, 9, and Jovarn Wanahi, 11, and newcomers Jesse Thomas, 13, and his sister Awa Teanau, 10.

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Tae kwon do gave Takanini mum Robyn Ferrier a new lease on life. Now she's bringing the sport to others who need a bit of a boost.

Ms Ferrier has been coaching Papakura youngsters at the Pikorua Community House on Smiths Ave since last year.

Tae kwon do values are hugely useful for children who come from difficult backgrounds, says Ms Ferrier, who has a black belt in the martial art.

"We do a lot of physical hitting of pads, sparring and breaking boards but we are more about discipline and focus.

"Tae kwon do is more about proving to yourself that you are capable of doing things you never thought possible."

Learning tae kwon do changed her life after a relationship breakdown saw her and her young son living at the Takanini caravan park.

She is a firm believer that everything happens for a reason but this time she was at a loss.

"I was like, what the heck? I'm not an alcoholic, I'm not a druggie - what's going on? That was my learning curve - I got to go into the houses of some of these kids and see their lives."

The experience led her to approach Pikorua with the aim of teaching tae kwon do to disadvantaged children. The organisation jumped on board and the class has been growing as kids find a safe environment to learn new skills and vent frustration.

Youngsters are now vying for selection to accompany their coach to the International Martial Arts Games in Melbourne in early May. Two or three of the students who best embody tae kwon do's values will attend the games and go sightseeing in Melbourne. Community fundraising will help them get there and is another chance to teach the kids a life lesson, Ms Ferrier says.

"When we're there, I'll say to them, ‘All that hard work that you did, this was what it was for'."

Fundraising kicks off from 9am this Sunday with a gala, garage sale and sausage sizzle. It will run every second Sunday at Pikorua House until March 31.

Phone Ms Ferrier on 022 139 8513 for more information or to purchase work vouchers.

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- Papakura Courier

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