Ingrid and Stefan Brockelbank are a mother and son duo that train together at our OMAC Burlington location. They give their best effort and show great persistence and enthusiasm in their training. Both Stefan and Ingrid are an inspiration to all students and families wishing to pursue taekwondo training. 

Interviewer: Stefan, you started when you were 11 and now you are 13. You’ve made it all the way to red belt.

Stefan Brockelbank: It happened so fast for me! The first thing I remember were the red and blue mats and being a little bit intimidated because I thought it would be a bit too strict or scary.

Ingrid Brockelbank: They make you feel so much like part of the family though. It’s nice how the instructors are so different from teachers at school where it’s all so formal and stiff but here it’s so inviting and welcoming and friendly and it just encourages you.

Stefan: I feel like they are closer to friends than other teachers at school.

Interviewer: Stefan, if you had tried to do any of the things you practice at red belt when you first started, or even at white belt, would it have been possible?

Stefan: No, of course not. I think it’s very gradual, and I like the fact that there are different belts because it makes me have a new motivation so I know I’m making progress.

Interviewer: For you, too, Ingrid, you’re now orange belt and you started training in June. It’s a big step up in skill!

Ingrid: Yeah, it’s so different already. As much as I still feel like there’s so much more to learn but I feel like I’ve come a long way. I think I can keep going and keep learning and it actually does seem possible to achieve black belt. It’s the journey, and it doesn’t matter if I do get my black belt as long as I continue and have fun training. That itself is rewarding, just to come and workout and feel strong.

Stefan: After every workout is the best thing. It’s the best feeling. I could keep going for more time when I get home, feeling like “I just have to kick some more!”

Ingrid: It’s very rejuvenating.

Interviewer: It instills a great sense of achievement. You do the work. You show up to train. No instructor can do that for you.

Ingrid: Stefan has come a long way in his confidence level and the way he carries himself. Everyone can see the difference in him from a few years ago when he wasn’t feeling so sure. Now, he’s physically stronger and mentally stronger.

Stefan: Life seems more memorable now. I feel like I don’t think I ever lived before then, I don’t remember the turning point. I just feel like I’ve been here forever. The confident life has started here, for sure. I’ve started all sorts of different things because of it.

Ingrid: We wanted him to find something to do, sports weren’t our thing. We never expected him to love taekwondo so much! I’m glad we finally found something.

Interviewer: Practicing taekwondo gives you the opportunity to watch yourself grow more than you could have imagined.

Ingrid: I think the environment here also helped him to be comfortable enough to let himself enjoy the time and continue to train. If it had been a different environment, it’s hard to know if he would have stuck with it. It was a nice combination of enjoying coming here and working out more.

Stefan: And now, I have top marks in gym class!

Ingrid: Who knew, I finally found something that I like. It’s very motivating. I’m a bit obsessed with it as far as thinking about it, I’m always practicing in my head, doing patterns and trying to think of what to do.

Interviewer: You’re really eating, sleeping and breathing taekwondo!

Ingrid: It’s very motivating; it really makes me want to continue doing it. Every time I come here I just want to get out on the floor and start moving and kicking and hitting something!

Interviewer: I want to ask how your relationship as mother and son has transformed during the time that you have trained together.

Stefan: (to Ingrid) I think that I’ve been able to talk to you about all sorts of different things.

Ingrid: (to Stefan) It’s easier to talk because we have something in common.

Stefan: When we talk to each other about taekwondo and stuff like that it makes me feel like you’re not just a parent but friends at the same time.

Ingrid: Like we are equals.

Interviewer: Stefan, you have the opportunity to help your mom and be a teacher, too!

Ingrid: He does! He’s very good; being a red belt he’s got a lot to teach.

Stefan: It makes me feel confident. If I ever wanted to try a new thing, I can just say, “I’m a red belt I can do it!” even if it has nothing to do with taekwondo.

Ingrid: it gives you the confidence to try something new, he started practicing guitar! Between the two of us training together we really motivate each other. I have a much bigger appreciation for how hard something is here. When you’re watching as a parent, it makes it look a lot easier. When you start doing it yourself you realize it’s a lot harder than you thought.

Stefan: I enjoy stretching here, I feel so loose after I stretch.

Ingrid: I never thought I could touch my toes and now I can stretch more than ever. It’s amazing to think these toes don’t seem so far away, my body seems more like a whole part of me. I feel more powerful. It’s a great learning experience.

Stefan: We get to train each other, I like that.

Ingrid: My favourite thing above all is the respect. I love the fact that they respect children, they respect every body. Not only adults, but kids especially. Kids are shown the respect that they deserve. Not a lot of places show that.

Interviewer: Thank you for your insight and for talking with me today! It’s been a pleasure.

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