Have you ever felt unsafe?
Have you ever felt unsafe? Maybe you heard a strange sound when you were home by yourself. Perhaps you were just walking to your car at the mall and suddenly felt a little uneasy. Corinne Scully felt that way several years ago when she traveled to Slovakia, alone.
The 63-year-old Michigan native moved to Brazil in 1994 with her family when her husband was stationed at Hulman Field. After he retired from the Air Force, they decided to remain in Brazil.
During their military experience, the Scully’s lived in Europe for 12 years. All three of their children were born out of the United States. So Corinne thought she would feel at ease in many of the European countries.
After settling back in the U.S. permanently, Corinne became interested in International Messengers. It’s an evangelical Christian-based organization that teaches English to residents of an area in different foreign countries.
On her first of eight mission trips overseas, Corinne picked Slovakia. She traveled alone and eventually met up with other I.M. members. But since she was somewhat familiar with much of the area Corinne arrived early to do some sightseeing before reporting to the English language camp. She was never attacked but realized that being totally alone in a foreign country could be dangerous. Suddenly, she felt unsafe. Corinne thought she needed to learn how to defend herself and decided to do something about it before her next mission trip.
When talking to this retired nurse about her adventures I was totally amazed. I cannot imagine going to Slovakia by myself. I get lost going to the mailbox. And with my motion sickness problem my only hope of protecting myself from an attacker would be if I threw up maybe he’d slip in it and fall.
But this enthusiastic, strong-willed, determined woman was not going to stop her mission trips. And she would not travel in fear. She enrolled in a class at the Skelton Taekwondo Academy here in Brazil.
Taekwondo originates from South Korea and means kicking/punching way. Corinne quickly fell in love with the sport.
“It certainly teaches self-defense,” she said. “But it does much more than that. It’s great for any age. I’ve seen kids as young as four and one man from this region who is a Master Instructor, a 6th degree black belt, just turned 95. It helps with balance, strength, flexibility, memory, endurance and focus. It also improves character traits such as integrity, self-confidence, loyalty, discipline, perseverance and respect for self and others.”
Taekwondo has 18 different belts, levels of achievement, nine colors and nine black. Corinne has advanced through all the colors and is a third degree black belt. She is very competitive by nature and is passionate about Taekwondo.
Last year, she won the 2016 World Champion in Sparring for the American Taekwondo Association in her gender and age group. In 2015, she was the ATA Combat Weapons Champion. One of her goals is to become the World Champion in Weapons.
“Taekwondo is also very beneficial for kids with special abilities,” Corinne said. “It helps those with ADHD to focus and helps with discipline and self-control. It’s also been shown to help autistic kids with all that and interpersonal skills.”
Corinne is now a certified instructor at Skelton’s and continues to take classes herself.
“Although training and competing in Taekwondo keeps me physically fit, satisfies my competitive spirit and gives me the confidence that I could defend myself if need be,” she continued, “the greater joy and challenge is in being an instructor, passing on what I’ve learned (and continue to learn) in my black belt journey. Teaching life skills and helping children, as well as adults, experience the life-changing benefits of martial arts training is more meaningful to me than any of the medals I have earned.”
Corinne hopes to achieve the 4th degree black belt and will be testing for that next February. I think she’ll make it. She said she thought I could do well in Taekwondo and suggested I try it. I maybe could do it, but I’m never going to go to Slovakia. And if I should travel anywhere here in the states I think I’ll just ask Corinne to go with me.
Linda Messmer can be reached at 812-448-8725.