BOPDHB Checkup April 2019 | Page 9

Left to right: Neil Pendleton, Ashley and Danyel Degenhardt. Te Koru team has the cutting edge What started from treating a Haidong Gumdo martial arts instructor with a sword injury has led to a life-long passion and world competition for Whakatāne based Te Koru Physiotherapists Danyel and Ashley Degenhardt. Danyel says he was invited to try the Korean sword martial art and thought it would be a good way for the couple to challenge themselves in a unique way together. “We had only been in New Zealand for about a year at that point, and saw it as an opportunity to meet new people as well.” The idea didn’t really appeal to Ashley, but with a bit of convincing she decided to give it a go. “My plan was to attend the two free sessions and that was it. The main reason I’ve continued is because of the unique challenge it provides to both my mind and body. I love the martial art and how it has helped me develop an interesting and unique skill set. It keeps me in shape and I’ve met an awesome group of people I’d otherwise not have met.” Fast forward three years and Danyel is now the head instructor at Whakatāne Haidong Gumbo and the couple along with five other club members are preparing to go to the World Mulimpia Championships in Korea in July. “The club’s first value is whānau, our members train as a family, and we have parents and children doing this together,” says Danyel. It’s that family atmosphere that appealed to colleague Occupational Therapist Neil Pendleton. Last year he joined the club with his two eldest children. “I wanted a way of keeping fit and something I could share with my two oldest kids Noah 13 and Autumn 12,” says Neil. He says as well as being a shared activity they progress through the gradings together. “It’s challenging and great to do together, that’s one of the most important things for us” Recently Ashley accomplished ‘The Trials of the Sword’, needed to achieve a black belt. This involves an hour of active meditation posed in a horse riding stance with both arms overhead. From there she had a five minute break before completing 1000 cuts using her sword in 20 minutes. Next month Ashley and another club member will be graded for their black belt before a Master Oh from Australia. The next focus is World Mulimpia in July. The club is fundraising for the world competition #30000likes for $30000 that it needs to get there. For more information see https://, on Facebook search Whakatāne Haidong Gumdo or Instagram @whkhaidonggumdo 9