Gayna was one of the two mothers with a young son training in TKD with her when I walked into the Casper Rec Center with my daughter. It was encouraging for me to see that families were learning together, with complete equality. A quiet and reserved lady, it was several weeks before I began to get to know Gayna. While intelligent and soft-spoken, she does have her fun!
When Master Martin needed a location for his bi-annual summer camp, Gayna suggested the H R Wilderness Camp out of Esterbrook. If you've ever seen the camp, you'll know it's perfect! Both her daughter and her son train (Maggie is a green belt, while Todd is a 1st Dan), and her husband, Dwight, pitches in with all the hard work at the camp, freeing the practioners to train. Here's what she has to say:
"I have been interested in the martial arts since I was in junior high. I saw a demo by one of my classmates. Of course, back in the early 70's, girls just weren't allowed to participate in such things, and I forgot about it. When my son (Todd) was 5 years old, he started taking Karate as a form of self defense. His instructor quit and moved away when he was 7. He still wanted to do martial arts, so I started to look for a class for him. No one wanted a child that was less than 8 or 9 years old in their class, so I did not find another class for him at this time. What I did find was something that I was interested in, and had been for at least 25 years. I had observed many martial arts classes. The TKD class at the Rec. Center impressed me the most, so that is where I started my TKD career. I also found out that I had known the instructors and their families since my early childhood.
"I stay in TKD mostly because it is very challenging. It does not come easy for me. Taekwon-Do has become a family sport, with everyone in my family involved in some manner. Being able to bond with my son is a very important thing for me, and I do this through TKD. I enjoy the camaraderie between everybody, and the friendships I've formed. TKD is a way of life for me; it is a bright spot in my world. I like the fact that TKD is very consistent. With TKD I can work at my own pace to MY limits, not someone else's. I am pushed to work to my limits though. I am not compared to others, only to myself. That means a lot to me because all of us have our own limitations and abilities.
"I have been practicing TKD since June of 1997. I took my first seminar with Mr. Fabian Nunez as a white belt. That was a sparring seminar; I didn't hardly even know what sparring was! All that I can say is that I was scared to death. I followed the seminar up with an equally terrifying ordeal . . . testing for 8th gup in October of 1997 at the age of 39. I can honestly say that it was one of the most frightening things that I have done in my entire life. Fortunately, things have improved since!
"Each time I tested for a new rank, I was always excited, but then I had to learn new information, moves, etc. TKD then became a bigger challenge to me, which drove me to continue. It has been a "vicious circle", which is a good thing, not a bad thing. Perseverance is key to TKD, and I have certainly persevered!
"At green belt I finally figured out sine wave. (Of course, I am still working on it.) I would say that sine wave was one of the biggest challenges in my entire TKD career. At blue belt I lost my long time training partner to a truck. This was pretty devastating to me, but again, I persevered. At 1st gup, getting ready for 1st dan testing was another really tough part of TKD for me. I trained and trained and trained, and after I finally made it, I fell apart. I pulled my self out of my dark hole and continued my training, discovering that at 1st dan you have more responsibilities and more is expected of you!
"TKD has kept me moving. I have some injuries and arthritis that have kept me from doing many things. However, TKD has kept me flexible and active. In TKD, I have my limitations, but I can still do many things. I will never be able to do pretty flying kicks, and that is not an expectation of me. I am expected to try, and believe me, I do try, but I have my limits. TKD has also made me a more confident person. This increased confidence shows up in all aspects of my life and helps me on a day-to -day basis.
"My biggest accomplishment thus far has been to attain the rank of 2nd degree black belt and do the pattern Juche, which I can actually do, not perfect, but can do. My short term goal at this time is to train hard and test for 3rd degree black belt at some time in the next year.
"As far as what makes TKD fun--it's the challenge. It's a "release" from my everyday activities. It's the friends and aqcuaintances. It's having quality time with my son and being able to bond with him through TKD. I love doing patterns and trying to perfect them. I love training to improve my techniques as well as helping others improve their techique. I've gone to many certification classes, and have become a reference person because of it. I really like being able to help others because of my knowledge of TKD. There's a real body/mind connection for me in TKD.
Gayna has worked as an RN at the Wyoming Medical Center since 1980. She is a Certified Rehabilitation RN, and has worked on the Rehab Unit since its inception in 1984. In her leisure time, she spends time with her family, church, biking and hiking, sewing, cooking, cooking, reading and spending time with her two dogs, Magic (a golden retriever) and Barney (a lab mix). Gayna and Dwight have two children, Todd, who is 15 and a 1st dan, and Maggie, who is 11 and a green belt. However, as Gayna puts it, Maggie "has more interest in gymnastics, swimming, and horseback riding, as well as playing the violin"!
Mrs. Kuhl USTF-2-2627