Mrs. DeeDee Connell


5th Dan

DeeDee Connell

     DeeDee has had a tremendous influence on many people's desire for excellence in Taekwon-Do.  Petite and slim, she performs her patterns with passion and confidence.  At one of the numerous testings where I was sweating with fear and tension, DeeDee was testing from high blue to red.  I watched in awe as she performed Toi-Gye, nailing the W-shaped blocks with perfect composure.  She's carried that same passion forward with her training, and took a silver medal at the World competition in her bracket for patterns in 2003.  Currently, she is training with the team for Nationals (to be held in June in San Diego), with an eye to returning to World in the fall.  She's going to have an interesting summer!
     A quiet and unassuming lady, here's what DeeDee has to say about her reasons for starting Taekwon-Do . . .
     "The girls (our daughters Katie and Allie) were both taking gymnastics in town in the evenings.  We live just far enough out to make it impractical to drive them in, drive home, then drive back in to get them.  Orrin (her husband) was in TKD, he tested for his green belt about the time I started.  Katie had been in for a while, til she got her yellow belt, then she decided to concentrate on her gymnastics instead.  I knew the instructors a little bit because of Orrin's being in class, and because I had been a 'lobby mom' with Katie.  TKD class happened to be at the same time as the girls' gymnastics classes, and I could drop them off, drive to TKD, and get back to pick them up afterward.  The timing worked out, and I decided I'd much rather be learning something along with a workout than simply taking an aerobics or strength class at the Y.  I wasn't sure I'd like it, but once I was in class and training, I found I could hardly wait for the next class.  I couldn't get enough of it.  I was surprised that I liked it so much!
     "That was in the fall of 1997; I had just turned 40 in June of that year, and also that summer I had a pretty bad wreck with one of my horses . . . that was another reason I wanted to start working out.  That fall I was still injured, and feeling old, and thinking I was too young to be this decrepit.  I believe each of us has a unique experience in TaeKwon-Do.  Even though we go through the same or similar classes, and we all go through the same thing on test days, we take something different out of it.  I have found it interesting to visit with other people while we are all sitting waiting for our turn in front of the test boards.  Some are more nervous than others, some are downright terrified.  I always was nervous and trying to find ways to deal with it in a positive way, to turn the nerves into extra energy rather than letting fear take my brains away.  Don't know that I always succeded, but I tried!"
     "The changes and benefits that Taekwon-Do training has made in my life are extraordinary.  I have had chances to travel through Taekwon-Do, and the people I've met on my travels are, without exception, positive influences.  The personal returns go far beyond the immediate realm of Taekwon-Do.  Setting a goal, making a plan, and following through on the plan . . . learning that the journey is the reward . . . taking every setback and finding a way to use it to some advantage.  The list goes on and on.  Taekwon-Do reaches into every corner of my life, and enriches it.  When not training or teaching Taekwon-Do, I'm teaching horses.  I have worked in the horse business for 30 years, raising and training polo horses.  I help with some of the ranch work, and am sometimes a 'gopher' for the off-ranch businesses.  I went back to school last year, and will get an Associates Degree in May.  I'm considering going on for my Bachelors.
     "While neither of our daughters takes Taekwon-Do, it has an influence on their lives as well . . . sometimes they think it's kind of cool that both Mom and Dad are black belts, but they've complained that it's harder to get a date when the boys find out!"

DeeDee Connell


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