Woman earns Master Dan black belt after 29 years of dedicated taekwondo training


Kirsten Livingstone, en route to her 7th Dan black belt, and Alex Lovell.

VANESSA LAURIE / Stuff

Kirsten Livingstone, en route to her 7th Dan black belt, and Alex Lovell.

Five minutes of concerted effort ended with a celebratory double pump from a New Plymouth woman who achieved master status after training in taekwondo for nearly 30 years.

On Saturday, Kirsten Livingstone managed to earn her 7th Dan black belt after showing the required moves and skills to the scoring board.

A delighted Kirsten Livingstone received her status as a 7th Dan master in <a class=taekwondo on Saturday.” style=”width:100%;display:inline-block”/>

VANESSA LAURIE / Stuff

A delighted Kirsten Livingstone received her status as a 7th Dan master in taekwondo on Saturday.

It came after a 29-year devotion to the Korean self-defense art form, and being able to pull off the feat in front of family and friends was just icing on the cake, Livingstone said.

“That’s why.”

James Sevenster and Olivia Perry practice during Saturday's taekwondo ranking session.

VANESSA LAURIE / Stuff

James Sevenster and Olivia Perry practice during Saturday’s taekwondo ranking session.

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Black belt rankings for taekwondo students took place in New Plymouth.  Iris Pease, left, and Sarah Taing show off their moves.

VANESSA LAURIE / Stuff

Black belt rankings for taekwondo students took place in New Plymouth. Iris Pease, left, and Sarah Taing show off their moves.

Livingstone was one of 16 taekwondo students vying for various black belt ranks during the Senior Ranking Weekend, which took place before a large audience at St Joseph’s Scouts Hall in New Plymouth.

The hall was transformed into a dojang, or formal training hall, for experienced taekwondo students, as they were guided by the principles of the practice – courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control and an indomitable spirit – when they performed their movements. .

Taekwondo student James Sevenster takes off, but Olivia Perry didn't even flinch.

VANESSA LAURIE / Stuff

Taekwondo student James Sevenster takes off, but Olivia Perry didn’t even flinch.

As the students took to the floor, concentration was etched into their faces as the hours of training were put into practice.

Propelled by rapid breaths, the students dodged imaginary opponents, using punches, kicks and strategic body movements to show off their skills.

They also fought in pairs, sometimes exhibiting spectacular aerial kicks, which came within inches of their target.

At the end of his scoring session, Livingstone’s efforts were met with a huge cheer from the crowd.

She said the achievement meant she became only the second woman in New Zealand to hold a 7th Dan black belt.

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