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Taekwondo for self-defense and beyond: One student's journey

Courtney Vogel, former competitive gymnast and mother of three came to Bear Force Taekwondo for a good workout but discovered something more. This is her story in her own words.

"Since starting Taekwondo in September, I have seen many health benefits in multiple areas of my life. I'm sleeping better, my anxiety has been significantly less, I'm more productive and less overwhelmed, and I have learned skills for self-defense. It's been a personal outlet to rediscover the athlete inside of me.

"Growing up as a gymnast, I was always strong and confident but gymnastics wasn't something my body allowed me to do into my college years. I struggled to find where I fit in because I was no longer considered an athlete by my college peers. I never really found that physical activity that I loved as much as I did when I was training for competitions. Over the years that followed, I gained and lost weight, got married, had babies, and moved across the country, all of which have taken a toll mentally and physically. Taekwondo has helped me gain back my mental clarity while strengthening my body so it can better heal itself.

"Earlier this year I was diagnosed as being diabetic. Since then, I have been able to lower my A1C from 9.8 to 6.9. Training in the adult class, better diet, better sleep, and less stress have been key in being able to make such a big difference in this number in a short amount of time.

"The support of the other adults in class and the positive energy are incredible and it has become my happy place where I get to work on me! Self-care at its best! I have found the sport that makes the athlete in me happy again. I'm starting belt testing, and looking forward to my first competition in February of 2020!! 

"My kids, all of whom also train at Bear Force, love seeing me train. They are my cheerleaders and they know that this is important for mom and dad to do. I cheer them on in their classes and they do the same for me. They see me differently now. They see a strong mama who doesn't give up and I see them fighting harder when things get difficult for them as well. They are learning how to process their emotions in a positive way because they see me do it."

This is the spirit of our classes, encouragement, support and celebration of one another's accomplishments. Not just those in class but in life. Come join us. Bear Force Taekwondo has a program for everyone. Our adult classes have a range of ages and abilities. Master Darren has the knowledge and training to create an individualized program with and for you. The basics are a foundation of strength and flexibility. Safety of the student is always a priority.

All are welcome at Bear Force Taekwondo, whether you want to compete or just gain strength and improve your health. Students of all abilities and ages, Bear Cubs (4-6 year olds) to seniors, are welcome.

Come in and see. The first class is free. For more information please feel free to contact Master Darren or Coach Caryn at (661) 823-4175.

Bear Force is a vendor for Inspire and Valley Oaks Charter Schools.