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The Tough Old Birds Flying Towards Yellow Belt

I feel blessed to meet, teach and grade so many lovely people, and it’s a real privilege and something that I never take for granted.

My most recent grading was no exception. It was enjoyable for a few reasons. The first was that it was one of the first face to face gradings I’ve done in some time. Of course, during the lockdowns, I’ve been doing online gradings, but as with most things online, the lack of connection and being there as it happens can’t be replaced with an online process. I’ll argue the case to anyone that it’s just not the same. That’s not to say that the student will suffer, but I think the examiner suffers the most because grading and assessments are more enjoyable as a two-way process.

The second thing about this grading, it wasn’t an ordinary group of students that I was going to grade, not that any students are ordinary, but these are undoubtedly extra special students.

The students that stood in front of me were from a school formed during the lockdown. They are a group of ladies who have called themselves the ‘Tough Old Birds’

They all live within a stone’s throw of each other, and all of them are at an advanced age, at least they are in one way, but please don’t get me wrong these are not old ladies; these are ladies that are reversing the ageing process and getting younger. They are blocking, punching and kicking and doing the thing that will keep them going for much longer yet. They are moving and doing things that people ten years their junior only dream about doing. The ladies were born pre 1955; one of them was born in 1936, shame on all of you that asked, “am I too old to start in my 50s?”

The Tough old Birds have a secret weapon, they have an instructor who is as awesome as they are, and she takes no prisoners. Ms Susanne Klein is the sort of woman who would have flourished in the early days of TKD, and she would have given most of the men a good run for their money. She’s the kind of teacher that pupils feared at School, but they also had the maximum respect because underneath the tough exterior was a heart of gold. I’m hoping to interview Ms Klein on my blog so that others can find out what makes her kick. Ms Susanne Klein is also an associate professor at the centre for fine print research at UWE Bristol.

It’s fair to say; I sat in awe as the ladies went through their routines of punching and kicking and then tackled the individual theory test that granted them all the much-coveted yellow belt.

This is a closed school, so unless you’re of a certain age, you can’t join. To be honest, not many of you would be able to keep up with the ‘Tough Old Birds’

I don’t do alcohol, but I will raise a glass to the Tough Old Birds

Peace & love from The Dark Master

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Huge respect to the tough old birds. So many people much younger make excuses, so it's great to see. And respect to Ms Susanne Klein to for taking them on and motivating them!

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