All posts by Grace Paduano

Coach, facilitator, foodie, adventure seeker, life long learner, guardian of tomorrow's visionary leaders.

Full Circle

Tonight was our last colour belt class and I’m struggling to get my mind around how we got here.  It really does feel like yesterday, when Sofia celebrated her 6th birthday at the dojang with her friends and I was standing in the entrance with a 4 year old Chiara wrapped around my legs not about to budge.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100
VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

Robert and Sofia blazed the trail for Chiara and I,  and a lot of mental, physical and emotional growth took place for all of us over the last six years.  Before you know it, and in the company of family and friends we were off to yellow stripe……

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100
VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100
VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100
VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

….and the motivational yellow belt…..

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100
VLUU L100, M100 / Samsung L100, M100

….the determined green stripe….


…emerging into the green belt….


….and the pride of the blue stripe…


…and no looking back after blue….

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…here comes danger, in the power of the red stripe…

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…and the strong warrior red…

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…all the way to the awe inspiring black stripe!


Awe inspiring indeed, after trials and tribulations, tears and laughter we made it this far together and we are ready to kick it into BLACK!

Stay tuned!


Self Defence – By Robert


As the title suggests it is about being able to provide defence for oneSELF in various situations.  It all begins with self awareness, and confidence.

It is something that many people say, “I hope no one needs to use it”.  Without realizing that in many many cases we are using it in our every day lives constantly.  Much of it in the forms of avoidance and de-escalation of potentially dangerous or difficult situations.

I am proud of my family and the journey we embarked on and the progress we have made on this front.  We have been able to use it walking into meetings and negociating, with friends in the school yard, and on stage performing a musical piece for concerts.  A lot of this has to do with confidence and being positive.  If we address these situations with a timid and uncertain tone in our voices then others will react accordingly; and outcomes will be less than desirable for ourselves.

I noticed that when I enter a meeting negotiating deliverables and I am positive and non-confrontational the others in the room will be much more amenable to reaching a compromise.  Also, when I get the others in the room to focus on the successful deliverables already in place and then onto the challenges that they are facing; everyone is more creative and work better together.

So remain positive and build upon successes!  This is what I will be doing with my family this coming week-end while testing for our black belts.

Leadership Camp at Taekwon-Do by: Sofia

11080835_1015600265133992_6680861250394404014_oMarch 18, 2015 (Wednesday) at the TKD leadership day camp I learned many things. When I was helping the younger generation to do proper push ups and sit ups, I learned to be patient because they might not get it right on the first shot.  Also, I found that it was important to keep a good spirit (positivity) and encourage them, to keep them motivated and engaged.

When I was practicing my kicks, I learned to do a jumping high twisting kick (which was very fun to do) since I already knew how to do a high twisting kick from Mrs.Duford who is a more experienced leader and taught me something new and helped me improve. I find that she is a good leader because  she is very patient, she gives good feedback and she knows some tricks to help, here is an example: for the high twisting kick she showed me a stretch for my legs, it really helped my kick. Now I find that I can kick higher after doing the stretches.

This camp was an opportunity for me to be a leader and show others the way and to be a guide just like Mrs.Duford was to me.  It was a great learning experience for me and I look forward to doing a similar leadership activity at Taekwon-Do again!

Almost there By: Chiara

black strip (1)

Hi, this is Chiara! There are only two months left before our black belt test. I have to say, I am a little bit nervous. Training is getting a lot harder, more push ups, sit ups etc. If I tell myself that I can do it, it will be a lot easier. In school I had to do a presentation on how optimism could change my future. By doing that presentation I learned that optimism could do a lot more than one thing, it could change the whole world if you tried hard enough and it could help you personally too.  Here are some examples of how optimisim has and can continue to help me with Taekwon Do:

  • during a sparring match if I am tired I could tell my self: There can not be a lot of time left so I could still put out some effort!
  • and if I am doing push ups I can tell your self: Come on, I could do better than that, at least ten more!

You see, I learned that negative thoughts are just my brain blocking me and telling me that I can’t do it any more. Now it’s time to go conquer more obstacles, because I know  it is a lot easier than I think it is!

Breaking the Psychological Barrier – by Robert

The UBBT physical conditioning is going great!  Getting to sets of 40 reps went well.

Now comes a challenging part for me.  What I refer to as, “breaking the psychological barrier”.  “What is that”, you ask.  It’s getting through the sets of 40 reps and on to the 50’s.  Perhaps it’s because I am afraid of some day hitting the 50’s (age that is).

So, what I’ve begun to do is break it down into 20 + 10 + another 20.  For some reason that seems to work.  Is it because I enjoyed my 20’s more . . . Maybe!

The same thing happens with the one minute of plank.  I get to a certain number of seconds and then my body says, “enough already!”  But if I know there are only 20 seconds or so to go, then I can get my mind to kick in and psych myself to complete the challenge.

Break your psychological barriers and complete your challenges!

Happy training : )

Life mimicking martial art – by Grace

I have only been doing Taekwon-Do for the last 6 years and upon reflecting I realize that despite this I have had several grand masters inspire me throughout my life.

I recently said good-bye to one of my most influential grand masters who embodied the 5 tenets of Taekwon-Do before I ever knew what they were.  Although, she never practiced martial arts herself, she modeled the essence of what we aspire to in our training.

Courtesy – she taught me what it meant to be considerate of others in thoughts words and actions
Integrity – she taught me that honesty and humility align us with our personal integrity
Perseverance – she showed me what true perseverance was by finding the courage to try things she had never done and use mistakes as feedback to do even better
Self-control – she taught me the importance of finding a safe space to deal with tough situations and to breathe, really BREATHE
Indomitable spirit – even faced with life’s greatest hardships and cruelest of circumstances she pushed through and thrived, leaving a legacy of love and devotion.

To all the grand masters out there, whether you are martial artists or not, a sincere thank you.

Riposa in pace Nonna.

The Game of Sparring – by Robert

Sparring…What an invigorating element of Taekwon-Do! I enjoy it because it forces me to concentrate and use everything that I’ve learned and practiced. Whether they are things that I have learned in the dojang, growing up watching wrestling, or from everyday life. I learned some very important lessons early on in my Taekwon-Do training, while sparring with a young previous Canadian Kickboxing champion, and some older sometimes-overweight opponents, even from those that seemed to be non-combative. Key “take-aways” for me were:

  • Respect my opponent,
    • I learned to expect the unexpected and to be ready for it.
    • I learned that looks could be deceiving. I learnt that lesson when I was tapped on the head with a kick.  Luckily for me my opponent showed good self control and had his footgear on.
    • Reminder: Be aware of my opponents’ hidden abilities!


  • Score as many points as possible,
    • Thinking that I would have more chances later in the sparring round to get my points, did not always pan out. Some opponents seem to gain energy as the round goes on.
    • Reminder: I don’t know when I’ll get another chance.


  • Limit scoring opportunities for my opponent,
    • I’ve noticed how some of my opponents are able to anticipate some of my moves and use them to score points.
    • Reminder: The fewer points my opponent scores the fewer I will need to win.  So I need to self correct, and change my approach during the match.


  • Conserve enough energy to finish the round huffing and puffing – and not passed out on the mat.
    • At times, I had to spar multiple rounds with different opponents and felt like I could not counter attack or block properly. So it was important to adopt different strategies, and change my style of sparring to save some fuel.
    • Reminder: Save my energy I may need it to go another round really soon.

Ottawa-20141218-00060 I enjoy sparring in the dojang as I know we are all just trying to score points without hurting ourselves; all the while getting a good work out with family and friends. When the match is over if my opponent and I are both huffing and puffing and are able to smile – it was a success.

 A success even though I may have a sore shin, forearm, even a toe. Not to mention a bruised ego or cheek. I really look at sparring as a game, pointing out weakness in the opponents’ defenses and challenging myself to learn new strategies from them. Ultimately, I am grateful to be able to speak with my family about each of our sparring match experiences from the night on the ride home and be able to laugh about them together.

When do you ever get to attack your parents with a noodle? By: Chiara

Last week, at the Dojang, we were doing twenty second reps: Speed sparring, sprints, push-ups, planks and sit-ups and the best one of all was NOODLE WARS! We each took one noodle and one hand shield. The first round we had to hook arms with a partner and attack other teams. The second round it was black belts against colored belts. The last round, it was kids against parents! We screamed at the top of our lungs and we attacked them as hard as we could! I have to say, that was probably one of the most fun times I had at Taekwon-Do! And anyway, when else do you get to attack your parents with a noodle? I guess at a pool party too but lets stick with the Taekwon-Do subject.

Can’t wait until next week!


Self Defence by Sofia

Don’t think of Taekwon-Do as just an after school activity.The things I’ve been taught there actually helped me in life. For example, self defence techniques have come in handy for me. Last week after school when I was walking to my bus to get home, the sidewalk was very icy. I was trying to go quick because it was cold. As I was walking I slipped and fell, but I didn’t get hurt because I did a break-fall.  No scratches or bruises!

A break-fall is how you protect your head and back from getting hurt when someone pushes you or you’re about to fall. I’ve used it and it actually works! 🙂

Another example is when someone was trying to drag me to a place I did not want to go. I was able to break out of their grip and get free by using a wrist grab defence technique. It was not a serious situation but at least I could protect myself.

Taekwon-Do is a martial art that helped me build my confidence, make new friends and also helped me prevent getting hurt. I look forward to practicing and learning more self defence techniques.


Tul – Acceleration and Power

Grace here!

This week was patterns and sparring week and as I reflect on lessons learned my awareness is drawn toward the acceleration and power in patterns.  Although I’ve been doing some of these patterns for years, the brain still gets muddled when asked to do all patterns at once – it is definitely a work in progress, that requires practice, practice and more practice.

Overall, I have noted improvement on form and fluidity since I started TKD.  This week, with the kind assistance of one of our conscientious leadership team members, my awareness was brought to improving the acceleration and power in my movements.

A properly executed pattern is poetry to watch, and I have seen many a beautiful pattern performed by TKD masters live and on-line.  The well executed sign waves, timed acceleration and powerful impact at just the right moment against an imaginary opponent are easy to observe and admire when done properly and an eye sore when not.

BBX Goal #1:

My goal for patterns improvement between now and the next time we train for patterns at the dojang is to decrease the eye sores by focusing on the acceleration of each movement right before the moment of imaginary impact. This will be accomplished by increasing practice times and incorporating music to patterns practice, which we did in the dojang for the first time this week.

Although performing patterns to music was confusing for me at first, I can understand how the rhythm of different musical pieces helps to focus the execution of each movement.   I also observed this when my daughters performed a musical team pattern for a tournament.  It all comes together differently, more eloquently.

Before going off to practice some patterns, I share with you one of my family’s favorite online patterns videos performed by 6th degree Black Belt, Jaroslaw Suska.  He truly embodies excellence in acceleration and power in his patterns.  Here is one of my personal favorites where he performs Joong-Gun Tul – Enjoy!