What has 80 feet, never gives up and works for 48 hours straight? That’s right – the Taekwon-Do Kickathon Team 2018!
48 hours, 10,002 boards, 10,470 press ups, 117,716 pattern movements.
We, the University of St Andrews Taekwon-Do Club, had a dream. Maybe our dream seemed slightly crazy or absurd looking back, but we made it. At our annual charity Kickathon, we were outside for 48 hours doing Taekwon-Do in support of Save the Children, Scottish Refugee Council, and Families First St Andrews.
Being in its fourth year now, the Kickathon 2018 set a new record for the Taekwon-Do Club. We smashed last year’s targets by breaking more than 10,000 boards, enduring more than 10,000 press ups, and performing more than 100,000 pattern (a fixed set of self-defence movements against an imaginary opponent) movements within 48 hours, all in an effort to raise money for the University Charities Campaign. In an unforgettable and amazing team effort, the Club rose above previous years, with all those participating demonstrating true embodiment of the Taekwon-Do tenets of perseverance and indomitable spirit.
Our endeavour began on Friday at 7 pm sharp with the breaking of the first board. Spirits were high and the weather thankfully still dry, leaving us confident and keen to start working towards our targets. With cheesy music blasting out and water bottles from our sponsor Sainsbury’s keeping us hydrated, we settled in for a long weekend.
4 hours later we were still going strong. Patterns were being performed, boards were being broken and press-ups were being undertaken. Slowly but steadily students were starting to trickle in to the Union for the infamous “Rewind 80s Bop”. On their way there, a great many of them stopped to watch our board-breaking in awe and drop their spare change in one of our donation buckets. Whilst they went on to dance the night away to Abba, the Taekwon-Do Kickathon team remained outside, finding great comfort in the kind and toasty donations of the Toastie Bar! Some of the most entertaining moments of the weekend took place when the 80s-music-revellers came crowding out of the Union at 2 am, easily wowed by our efforts and keen to donate generously.
After a night out, bed is the preferred next destination. However, some of our members, after having rejoiced in the 80s, decided to extend their night by joining our night shift team. The night shift truly embodies perseverance. In the course of an hour, St Andrews turns as quiet as it has ever been (except for the eerie seagull screams echoing down market street) and stays this way until the sun begins to rise. No breaking is allowed during this time due to noise regulations, but our invaluable night shift members make up for this by heroically enduring press-ups every ten minutes and performing a plethora of patterns, thereby staying not only warm but also in form. In spirit with the theme of the night, these brave, sleep-deprived souls turned to Abba classics in the darkest hour – powering through press-ups and patterns like “Mamma Mia – here we go again!”.
A whole new day of fundraising began with sunrise. Having fallen behind on breaks during the night, our morning risers set about turning the numbers around. By 2 pm we had reached 2450 breaks, giving us five hours to make up the remaining breaks to meet our half-way point. First things first though – Rory McLion paid us a visit. Everyone’s favourite lion did not shy away from trying some Taekwon-Do himself: after a bit of practice, Rory was performing patterns, joining us for some press-ups and even broke his first board! Boosted by Rory’s presence, the Taekwon-Do Kickathon team organised itself efficiently, breaking more than ten boards per minute on average. Team spirit, team effort and some Domino’s Pizza got us there – 5000 boards had been broken by exactly 7pm on Saturday.
After yet another night shift, we gathered on Sunday morning to gauge how far we had to go. Realising that significant team effort would be necessary to achieve our dream of smashing last year’s targets, we were overjoyed to see how many of our members made time during their busy study schedules to help out! Our awesome team was made up of wonderful St Andrews University Club members, amazing members of the Dundee University Taekwon-Do Club, lovely local members of our Club as well as our brilliant Taekwon-Do instructors. Despite the mountain of targets we still had to climb, with such a team constellation, hopes were high. Battered and bruised, with an hour to go, we arrived at the moment, when our dream was in reach: 10,002 boards had been broken. 10,470 press ups had been done. 117,716 pattern movements had been performed. All our hard efforts had paid off, culminating in the breaking of two bricks. Tired but happy, our members regenerated with food from the Union and Blackhorn Burgers.
Thus far, £1785 pounds have been raised, both from donation collections during the event as well as on our online donation page. A big thank you to all those who have been generous enough to donate. Our dream for this year’s Kickathon not only involved smashing last year’s targets, but also raising a significant amount for the three chosen charities: Save the Children, Scottish Refugee Council, and Families First St Andrews.
The Club Vice Captain, Luisa Bergunde, gave her thoughts on the event.
“Of the three years I’ve been involved, this year has been the best yet. It is just such a valuable and worthwhile event, benefitting not only the three chosen charities but also all our Club members – old and new, advanced and beginners – by providing them with a chance to show their Taekwon-Do skills and grow as part of a team.
“I’m really proud of what we were capable of achieving together as a team.”
Owen Crew, who joined the Club in September 2017, expressed his enthusiasm for the event, stating that ” I had a great time pushing myself for a greater cause and was very impressed with the amount of money we raised.”
We would greatly encourage anyone who saw us practicing various elements of Taekwon-Do and thought that it was pretty neat, to come along to any training session and try it out for yourself. Or maybe you saw us laughing at jokes, collectively supporting one another despite tiredness and bruises, and dancing (badly) along to our music and thought that was the kind of club you want to join. We train on Mondays 8.30-10.30pm (at the Sports Centre), Wednesday 8.00-9.00pm (at Victory Memorial Hall) and Friday 7.00- 8.00pm (Also at Victory Memorial Hall). During the summer we train Friday 7.00-9.00pm (Victory Memorial Hall) in June and Wednesday 7.00-9.00pm (Victory Memorial Hall) in July and August.