How Taekwondo helped Andrew Jackson to regain his confidence.

There are some truly exceptional people within the Taekwondo community and this member story really proves it. This is the story about how training in martial arts and Taekwondo has helped Andrew Jackson of Spartans Taekwondo regain his confidence despite his invisible disability, Epilepsy, and bullying.

Image 11

Andrew was diagnosed with Epilepsy after a bout of measles at the age of three at a time where there was very little information and awareness of Epilepsy. This was perhaps most evident by the fact that Andrew had to wear a cycling helmet at primary school to prevent him injuring his head if he fell to the floor.
The lack of awareness and understanding towards Epilepsy led to severe bullying throughout primary and secondary school which affected Andrew more than the Epilepsy itself.

Andrew was inspired to try Martial Arts training after meeting Frank Bruno at the age of 14, however his small town did not have a Martial Arts club so he had to wait until he had his driving licence so he could drive to a Thai Boxing club 10 miles away. Practicing Thai Boxing helped improve his confidence and his coordination skills until this club closed a few years later. Andrew then found Taekwondo where he achieved 1st Dan blackbelt in the ITF style. This milestone was made possible by accommodations from his club and those he trained with.

Andrew had a status epilepticus 14 years ago. This is a seizure that lasts longer than five minutes, or having multiple seizures within a five-minute period, without returning to a normal level of consciousness between episodes. This was a medical emergency and could have led to permanent brain injury or death. The status epilepticus was due to working long hours and becoming burnt out at work, not Taekwondo training, but Andrew still spent six weeks in hospital.
When he was better and after he had undergone medical checks, he started Taekwondo again, but this time at a British Taekwondo club where he started at white belt.

Andrew is now a 4th Dan black belt, has undertaken a SEND qualification and is also coaching Taekwondo students of all ages and abilities. Andrew always checks with medical professionals before starting or restarting a sport, but he will not let his condition stop him from doing something he enjoys. Along with his family, he often fundraises and takes part in campaigning activities to help raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding Epilepsy. Andrew would recommend practicing Taekwondo to everyone and encourages people to not let disabilities, either visible or invisible, stop them taking part in activities which they enjoy.

For further information about Epilepsy visit the Epilepsy Action website.

You can find out more about Andrew’s club on the Spartans Taekwondo website.

You can find out more about Taekwondo clubs and sessions in your area using the British Taekwondo Club Finder.

If you would like to share your Taekwondo story please contact Anna Warburton-Ball, Insights & Communications Officer via or 07562 647 880.

Images: Submitted.