One Australian-Filipina shows it is never too late to pursue a passion - and get a Black Belt along the way. VIOLI CALVERT writes.
This month, 36-year-old Hazel Coloma Lim won first place in Kata Female Basic Veteran (over 35-yrs) division and second place in Kata Female Basic (over-16yrs) division. Hazel has only had nine months of training at BBMA (Black Belt Martial Arts) Hornsby Dojo when she reluctantly entered the BBMA Intramural Tournament, held at the Central Coast Grammar School. There were 345 competitors across all divisions from all the six BBMA schools in NSW.
“I was afraid of competing and making myself vulnerable to the judges and peers; however, what I witnessed was not a focus on competition but a celebration and platform for each individual to share their karate journey," she said.
“Deciding to start karate at my age was not an easy process. It took a whole year of sitting in the sidelines, waiting and observing my two boys and my two nephews in their karate classes twice a week. Parents were often encouraged to join in the classes but I felt too old, too heavy and too awkward to try. Plus, I didn't want to embarrass myself in front of the other parents watching.”
While watching her children train, Hazel noted the positive physical and mental impact that karate had on her children and this triggered the desire to want the same results for herself. After a lot of encouragement from the karate instructors and her husband, Hazel gave it "a go".
“Through karate, I have gained a better balance, both physically and mentally in my everyday life. It has become an outlet of stress, a break from the usual routine and challenges of being a stay-at-home mum."
"During classes, I'm no longer 'Mummy' but a training partner and a fellow student to my children. At home, practicing what we have learnt at class has become our quality bonding time. Karate makes me a better parent by modelling to my children the attributes of respect, self-discipline, focus, perseverance, humility and courage."
“Currently, I am on my advance green belt and committed to achieving my black belt in three to four years with the guidance and support of the BBMA Hornsby instructors and team. In the process, I would also like to take up their weapons training program which includes the Filipino martial art of 'Arnis'.”
For the past five years, Hazel has been a full time mother giving up her career as an IT product development manager to look after her two sons (Caleb, aged 9 and Elijah, 6). Along with her mummy duties, she also does a lot of volunteer work for the school and church, and loves decorating cakes for family and friends. She proudly shares her ‘creations’ on https://www.facebook.com/thecakecreche
Hazel is the daughter of Filipino-Australian artist and author Mon Coloma and wife Annie.