I started training in 2003, after an incident in the City made me realise that I had no idea how to defend myself or others. I had been previously been teaching fencing, but found that it wasn’t all the practical for self defence. One of my friends recommended Factor 10 (then East Coast) and Hapkido as he’d been doing it for a long time and really enjoyed the atmosphere at the club. I initially started with a goal towards self defence but over my time with the club have picked up several additional goals. I find it’s a great way to keep my fitness up and I’ve come to appreciate the Arts side of Taekwondo and Hapkido as much as the self defence. I feel that I have made a lot of personal development at the club and a lot of who I am today can be attributed to my instructors and fellow students.

I started teaching regularly when taking over the coaching of the Factor 10 Demo Squad. While it was very challenging at first, after our first public performance at the Tan’s tournament I realised that I wouldn’t trade the teaching experience for anything else. Particularly with Demo, there’s a great amount of reward seeing your students performing at their very best and pulling off techniques at the very best of their ability. This applies just as much to my time spent instructing Hapkido. Helping students to reach their goals is the best part of teaching in my opinion. I love seeing a student nail a technique or goal that they’ve been working towards. Watching gradings is particularly rewarding when I see the high technical standard that our students demonstrate and knowing that I, in some way, have been a part of that excellence.

That technical excellence shown in our gradings and general work is only part of why I love Factor 10 and why I’ve remained with the club for so long. There’s just a nice, friendly atmosphere around the place that makes it a joy to train at. I’m always looking forward to seeing people in class and around the club. Classes really reflect this atmosphere, as well, with a great sense of camaraderie and everyone working together to achieve something rather than competing to keep other people down. Even the competitions show this sense, with people talking to each other before and after a sparring match comparing thoughts and experiences or competitors in the same division at a Hammadang cheering each other on to achieve their very best.

I’m very proud to be a member and instructor at Factor10. I feel like we really do make a difference in people’s lives.

John Gurnett