Martial arts give her kicks

Martial arts give her kicks

Jun 01, 2008

Working on her black belt: Dr. Deanna Tickle takes her fitness to the next level with a crescent kick. (Courtesy of Dr. Deanna Tickle)
To put it mildly, I'm not athletically gifted. I've always been a couch potato and never liked working up a sweat. I gained weight during and after veterinary school and made several failed attempts to stick with a fitness program. After taking a self-defense class, I became interested in tae kwon do. I signed up for three introductory classes, then began paying month to month for lessons. And finally, I signed a one-year contract. That was more than two years ago, and I still attend classes three to four times a week. Late this summer, I'll be testing for my black belt.

Tae kwon do is a Korean martial art with four basic skills. My favorite of the skills is board breaking. We also learn self-defense strategies, sparring techniques, and poom sae, which are defensive moves performed in sequence against an imaginary attacker. We also learn some Korean language, which will come in handy this summer when my class visits Korea and China for training and to see the sights.

I was fortunate to find a reputable tae kwon do academy in my area with top-notch instructors. They're highly skilled and create a supportive, nonintimidating environment for students of all skill levels. I'm not the most skilled or the fastest student in the class, and the sport doesn't come easily. I have scoliosis, which limits strength and flexibility in my back. Through my martial arts training, I've been able to work within my skill level while still pushing myself to improve. My flexibility and strength, as well as confidence, have improved.

Many of my veterinary clients are aware of my hobby, and some of them have begun taking classes, too. Besides graduating from veterinary college, my tae kwon do training has been the most challenging and rewarding endeavor of my life. I plan to stick with it as long as I am physically able.

—Deanna Tickle, DVM
Gibsonville, N.C.

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