Karen Bennett strikes a heavy bag at the Cloverdale Black Belt Academy. Bennett is a taekwondo world champion in the category of creative weapons. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

Cloverdale taekwondo instructor feels martial arts can empower people

Karen Bennett believes she can make a difference in people’s lives everyday

For Karen Bennett, taekwondo has always been a family affair.

Her family’s relationship with taekwondo started when Bennett’s son Michael was 5.

“My oldest son had issues with discipline,” said Bennett. “He was very fidgety and had a lot of excess energy.”

So she decided to enroll him in the popular martial art. Soon she enrolled her other son, three-year-old Trenton. Then her husband David decided to enroll.

Bennett said the family constantly encouraged her to join too and a few months later she gave in and signed up.

“When I started, I didn’t have a lot of confidence,” Bennett remembered. “I was really reluctant to start. Taekwondo was not in my wheelhouse.”

SEE ALSO: Cloverdale martial arts instructor Karen Bennett gets drenched in the ALS ice bucket challenge

SEE ALSO: Surrey teen heading to Tunisia to fight in junior world taekwondo championship

Fast forward 24 years and both Bennett and her husband are master instructors and sixth-degree black belts. The husband and wife duo also opened Cloverdale Black Belt Academy in 2001.

Bennett recently won a world taekwondo championship title in 2019 in Little Rock, Arkansas — as part of the ATA Martial Arts organization (formerly known as the American Taekwondo Association). ATA has more than 300,000 members worldwide and is one of the largest taekwondo organizations in the world.

Bennett won her title in the category of “creative weapons.”

Bennett said she would never have made it to the top without first learning through taekwondo that anything is possible.

“As you start to develop your skills, it helps to develop your confidence as well,” she explained. “You realize that, ‘I actually can do this,’ and the more you start doing things, the more you start to realize that there are less and less things that you cannot do, because it pushes you outside your normal comfort zone.”

Bennett said the discipline that is inherent in martial arts transforms people into better versions of themselves — both physically and mentally.

“I feel that it can be life changing,” she said. “It stimulates the brain. It’s great for exercise. It helps with anxiety. It builds confidence.”

She said it helps people, and especially children, create confidence where there was previously none. She noted that is key in helping people overcome any personal adversity they may be facing as well.

“It’s a really great environment,” she said, regarding the process of training and learning taekwondo.

Bennett said that “great environment” is what helped pave the way for her family to open the Cloverdale Black Belt Academy in the first place.

“Again, when I started, I didn’t have a lot of self-confidence. But I [now] realize what it can do for people. It’s very empowering.”

SEE ALSO: Taekwondo instructor, 21, identified as B.C. bat rabies victim

SEE ALSO: Family steps outside its comfort zone

Bennett said her and David saw the impact that taekwondo had on people and they realized that instructing was something they felt they needed to do.

“It’s not the same as other jobs,” explained Bennett. “We impact people’s lives.”

She said she believes she can make a difference in people’s lives everyday.

“You can help people that are having bad days. You can change their mindsets.”

In addition to being a taekwondo instructor, Bennett also teaches Krav Maga — the Israeli military self-defence and fighting system — and she teaches human kinetics courses at TWU.

Bennett said she finds a type of balance in splitting her time between teaching on the training floor and inside the classroom, adding that she finds fulfillment in both.

“I think martial arts is really integral for people,” said Bennett. “It doesn’t just make people physically fit. As they become more physically fit, they will learn that they can push their boundaries — it expands their world.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Delta council passes bylaw to fine people who don’t socially distance, respect closures

Not social distancing or obeying provincial orders in Delta could set you back hundreds of dollars

White Rock council members stand by decision to close pier

Minimal push-back over closure to minimize chance of spreading COVID-19 virus

Surrey’s JoJo Mason brings mom along for Saturday song during Diesel Bird Digital Music Festival

Online event March 28-29 to rally behind Canadian musicians hit by COVID-19 show cancellations

VIDEO: ‘Hands, washing hands’: Surrey teachers sing ‘Sweet Caroline’ with COVID-19 lesson

Staff at Fleetwood Park Secondary are featured in video posted to Youtube on Friday

Two workers at seniors’ homes in Surrey, Langley diagnosed with COVID-19

One is a staff member at Elim Village-The Harrison, at 9025 160th St., and the other is a health worker supporting and Chartwell Independent Living at Langley Gardens

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

Significant snowfall forecast for Interior mountain passes

Allison Pass, the Okanagan Connector, Rogers Pass and Kootenay Pass could see 15 to 25 cm of snow

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

‘Now is not the time to bag that peak’: BCSAR manager discourages risky outdoor adventures

Call volumes are not going down, even as the COVID-19 pandemic persists

Food Banks BC already seeing surge in demand due to COVID-19 pandemic

Executive director Laura Lansink said they expect applications will keep increasing

Nanaimo couple caught aboard cruise ship with four dead and COVID-19 present

Four ‘older guests’ have died on Holland America’s Zaandam; cruise line confirms two COVID-19 cases

Most Read