A British Taekwondo member story.

It’s brilliant hearing stories from our members and the reasons why they do Taekwondo. In this feature we find out more about three-time National Champion Gabriella Pettigrew of Cumbria Tae Kwon Do in Kendal.

Name: Gabriella Pettigrew

Club Name: Cumbria Tae Kwon Do

Club location: Kendal

Instructor: Beverley Fallows

Dan/Kup grade: 1st Kup, hopefully doing 1st Dan/Poom at the end of the year

Cumbria Tae Kwon Do
Gabriella Pettigrew and Steven Pettigrew of Cumbria Tae Kwon Do

When did you first try Taekwondo?

I first tried Taekwondo late in the summer of 2017. It was great fun, and everyone was so friendly, and I’ve really enjoyed training and competing in the last six years.

How often do you train?

I go to one general class a week and one sport session. I am also going to be training with the Sports Performance squad once a month starting in October this year.

What makes you keep training?

I enjoy seeing my friends, challenging myself to learn all the time and to get better footwork and control.

My whole family does Taekwondo now. My older brother started a few weeks after me, he is a 2nd dan and a very good player at competitions, but he has been injured a few times so hasn’t achieved what he wants to yet in Taekwondo.

My dad did Karate from the age of 5 to his early teens and was a local and national champion. He has also moved over to Taekwondo. He is one of the club coaches, sport coaches, and coaches at tournaments.

My little sister started a couple of years ago and she has just started to compete at sport tournaments, she loves it, but has lots to learn still and I enjoy helping her.

Do you practice the combat sport, poomsae, or the martial art – or a combination, or all three?

We train in all areas, but it’s the sport side that I love and live for.

What events have you competed in?

I’ve been all over the UK and competed in Wales, England, and Scotland. I’ve won the Welsh nationals, Scottish nationals and British nationals, and many opens.

In 2023 I became a three-time British champion in A class under 26kg child. In the three nationals I have competed in I have still yet to lose a single round. In my first nationals I went four fights without even losing a point, I only got scored against in the final, and it was only the odd point scored against me.

If someone is reading this and hasn’t ever stepped onto a Taekwondo mat, what would you say to them to help them give it a go?

Just do it, you will make friends for life, the clubs are families and more.

What is the best thing about Taekwondo?

I like to win and always to be the best. It’s easy to prove you’re the best when you win. Hard work shows in the ring.

Do you have any top tips for training?

Keep hydrated, work hard, always warm up and cool down well. Practice stretching daily, and push yourself.

What are your hopes for the future in your Taekwondo?

I want to go all the way, I know so many students/players say this but I mean it. Nothing will stop me from achieving it.

Why is Taekwondo the activity for you?

It’s great fun, gives me a good feeling, helps me meet people and make friends.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I enjoy all sports and am very active, I take part in gymnastics, different dances and enjoy competing in those also, I love running and hope to get more involved in it as I get older.

Richard Gottfried was speaking to Gabriella and her mum Rachel.

We wish Gabriella and everyone at Cumbria Tae Kwon Do the very best, and thank Gabriella for sharing her Taekwondo story with us.

You can find out more about Cumbria Tae Kwon Do on the club’s website, Facebook Page, Instagram and Twitter/X.

Cumbria Tae Kwon Do
Why Taekwondo?

If you would like to share your Taekwondo story please contact Richard Gottfried, Marketing, Digital & Media Manager via media@britishtaekwondo.org

Photos: Submitted.