Collins siblings in black belts
FIGHTS between siblings take on a whole new meaning when it comes to the Collins family.
Matthew, 16, Amy, 14, and Laura, 11, are all members of the Tae Kwon-Do black belt community.
On Saturday the sisters achieved their junior black belt after three years — and ten gradings — closing in on their older brother’s first dan black belt he was awarded last year.
“We both had to spar with him in our grading on the weekend, and it’s always good fun trying to take him on,” Laura Collins said.
The pair were among 33 students to be promoted on Saturday, some of the best numbers to come through the Queensland Self Defence and Tae Kwon-Do Academy (QSDTA) in instructor Kris Richardson’s 25-year involvement.
Since September the Gin Gin branch alone has grown from three to 26 students.
“And that’s just word of mouth, families telling their friends how good Tae Kwon-Do is,” he said.
Gin Gin brothers Thomas and Morris Vysma can also now boast a black belt connection, after 18-year-old Thomas was awarded his first dan at Saturday’s promotions as well.
They all credit their instructors’ tough edge and rigorous training for getting them this far.
“It’s hard work, but it’s worth it, and we all test each other out a fair bit,” Laura Collins said.
Instructor Jackson Lau is 51 but has the energy, agility and power of a man half his age.
After 23 years in the sport, Lau will attempt to gain his fifth dan black belt in Brisbane in two weeks time.
Lau has seen the Collins’ and Vysma’s develop since day one.
“I remember when they started, and it’s great to see them achieve a black belt,” he said.
“I know they think I’m tough, but it’s necessary for their development into great students.”
This year marked the 30th year of the QSDTA in Bundaberg and Lau said the current crop of talent was better than ever before. Ninth dan is the highest level to be reached in this form of martial arts; a level the ageing Lau acknowledges is out of his reach.
“But hopefully some of our students can strive for it and I can help them on that journey,” he said.