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://
gogetfunding.com/whkhaidonggumdo/, on Facebook search
Whakatāne Haidong Gumdo or Instagram @whkhaidonggumdo