Student Spotlight is on Tina Clark!

Our student spotlight this week is on Tina Clark, who started her practice this year after spending many months watching her son Dylan practice from the lobby.  She is a mother of 2 (13 year old daughter Sydney and 8 year old Dylan), and a wife of 18 years.  Most recently, Tina’s husband Gren started his practice and just tested for his white-yellow belt! Tina is a sharp and focused practitioner who brings excellent balance and coordination to her evolving practice.  Additionally, she is a great partner for any classmate, young or old, due to her amazing capacity to relate to others and make people feel safe.  We are so glad that Tina (and fer family members) practice here at Sun Soo and we hope you enjoy Tina’s interview below!
Age:  44
Rank:  yellow/green belt
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor which means I am board certified to conduct talk therapy to help clients with an array of issues that are often interfering with them living their best life. I own my own private practice but have worked in a variety of settings (domestic violence and homeless shelters, a rehabilitation hospital in the traumatic brain injury unit and a university student center). It is an honor and privilege to be in this line of work and yet it can also be an arduous career path where self-care is of utmost importance. If I don’t take care of myself then I won’t be able to take very good care of the people counting on me…my clients and most importantly my family.
So that explains the primary reason I practice Tae Kwon Do at Sun Soo. My son Dylan (who is 8 years old and a green blue belt) began practicing in the Spring of 2013. The more I watched his classes and witnessed the changes in him, the more I wondered what it would be like to be an adult student. I remember Master Morris mentioning that really cool things happen when parents practice with their children. I remained skeptical for a short time, worrying that I would somehow interfere with my son’s progress. It wasn’t until I watched some of the Saturday testings that I began to see what he meant. I saw a huge community of adults and students that supported each other with cheer, hugs and words of encouragement. I saw instructors and students fully invested in their school and I started to realize I wanted to be a part of that…not just sitting on the sidelines. I also realized that my life load was pretty heavy and I needed a healthy way to unload that heaviness. I also have always been happier when I was part of a team (athletic or otherwise) and I hadn’t been part of a team in some time. The final nudge came from my friend, colleague and Sun Soo black belt Nancy Fraser (who works in my building). She seemed to think it was just what I needed. The rest is history. I decided to ask Santa for a uniform and first month at Sun Soo for Christmas. Thanks Santa! I started in January of this year.
At first I felt overwhelmed and about as uncoordinated as I can ever recall feeling. Fortunately I felt surrounded by smiling supportive students and instructors who helped me learn to stop worrying and just keep going. I enjoy so many aspects of my practice 7 months into it. I absolutely love the community and the heart of this school. I love that my body, mind and spirit are getting stronger every class. I love the amazing friends I am making. I love watching the incredible contribution Sun Soo has made in my son’s life. He has grown up so much in the past year. I love that now we have gotten my husband Gren hooked too. Tonight he said that he “needs” to get to class tomorrow “it’s been too long since Monday.” I love the challenges ahead and the upper ranking students that show me what I am capable of with enough practice and perseverance.
I have many other hobbies and interests. I love rock climbing, horseback riding, canoeing/kayaking, playing soccer and lacrosse, hiking, drawing, photography, cooking, traveling, volunteering for Brother Wolf Animal Rescue and enjoying time with my kids.
I’m not sure if I can narrow down a favorite moment in Tae Kwon Do. I love watching my son test and seeing how laser focused and full of pride he can become. I enjoy the many moments when I have laughed so hard or been moved to tears. I enjoy and appreciate the extra help and mentoring that seems readily available and eagerly given. I love that when I get called onto the mat at testing, everywhere I look there are people smiling and encouraging me to do my best. I am eternally grateful for Sun Soo and everything it has and continues to give my family.