An Aberdeen taekwondo master has become the first woman in Scotland to be awarded a sixth dan black belt by British Taekwondo.
Lyndzie Jeffrey, head instructor of Granite City Taekwondo in Danestone, had her success on the same day club coach Aaron Reid reached fourth dan – at just 16 years old and after only 11 years in the sport.
Jeffrey has competed around the world at European, Commonwealth and World level while running her school.
The number of dan roughly corresponds to the amount of years a taekwondo athlete has to leave between gradings.
Jeffrey had to demonstrate her improvement as a martial artist since earning her fifth dan – another Scottish first – in 2013.
She said: “I have done courses for karogi (fighting) and poomsae (patterns) to improve my skills.
“I go to regular training days and seminars. I’m also part of the British team squad for poomsae, so I’m quite advanced when it comes to the competitive side of things.
“Basically the qualifications end up being in what you build up over the years between grading, your knowledge and experience, learning from your own students.
“Helping them and developing them can help your understanding of the things you’re trying to teach yourself.
“The grading was a physical examination. We had to do patterns, defence against a punch, defence against grabs, defence against a knife.
“We also had to do three-directional breaking techniques and if you didn’t manage to break a board you couldn’t move on to the next one.
“You had to do a thesis, which goes off to Seoul in South Korea. It’s where the World Taekwondo headquarters are and where you get registered as a black belt.
“I chose to do the benefits of taekwondo for ADHD and autistic children.”
Of her historic honour, Jeffrey said: “It feels surreal. I’ve taken over as a higher dan than my old instructor in Elgin.
“He’s only a fifth dan and put on Facebook after my news it’s always an instructor’s dream or wish their own students go further than they have.
“I still know there’s plenty out there for me to learn and people to help.
“My aim would still be to go higher, we’ll just have to see if my body accepts it.”
Paediatric nurse Jeffrey, 37, started the sport at home in Elgin 1995.
She said: “I got my black belt in 1999, my second dan in 2001, my third dan 2004, fourth dan 2008, fifth dan black belt in 2013 – where I was also the first woman in Scotland and I’d only had a baby six or seven months before. There’s another lady from Glasgow who passed (fifth dan) later on that year or the following year.”
Of her coaching background, she said: “I’d been helping coach with my previous instructor through my colour years.
“That gave me the experience and exposure to being a coach.
“I moved to Aberdeen in 2002 to do a three-year course in paediatric nursing at Robert Gordon University.
“I had no plans to open my own taekwondo school, but there were people in Bridge of Don who asked me to train with them with the motive of getting me to teach them.
“This ended up being the foundation of my own school.”
Granite City Taekwondo train at Danestone Community Centre on Mondays (5-12 years, 5.30-6.45pm and age 12+, 7-8.30pm) and Thursdays (5-12 years, 5.30-6.30pm and 12+, 6.30-8pm).