6 February 2020

Taekwondo Time Capsule: the fun photo that forecasts a fabulous future

6 February 2020

Do you think you can spot a champion?

Is there something special about a child who will grow up to do great things?

Or are they just like any other?

Look at this picture.

Cute and funny, for sure. But see anything special here?

This shot, which took out the “fun” category of the #TaekwonDownUnder photo competition, is actually more than 15 years old.

It shows four-year-old Tristan Jet Fernandez.

“My brother Terrence just got back from his first Junior World Championships in 2004,’ he explains.

“He dressed me and took a photo.”

Tristan Jet Fernandez is now all grown up.

And TJ, as he is known, fills out the gear a little more convincingly these days. He is now a world-class competitor.

“It is a photo of me aspiring to be like my brother,” he says.

“He knew I would be in the sport in the future.

“I was four years old in this photo and now 16 years later I am an Australian representative.”

That means these days Taekwondo demands lots of hard training at the Martial Arts Spirit, Camden, and a laser focus on success.

But the photo is symbolic; a reminder of what Taekwondo brings to a young life, long before thoughts of elite competition.

“It shows a young happy child dressed in his brothers oversized gear,” TJ says nostalgically.

“It shows how happy I was holding his trophy and my excitement and joy shows how much I wanted the same thing too.

“It shows how achievements can be enjoyed by not just yourself, but by younger family members and how much younger siblings look up to older siblings’ achievements.

“Taekwondo is a beautiful sport and can be enjoyed by anyone. 

“The Taekwondo community is very welcoming and if you join the right club, Taekwondo offers so much more than other sports.” 

The truth is, only a tiny percentage of the four year olds who take up the sport across the nation will ever represent Australia on the world stage.

But TJ is convinced they will be winners, nevertheless.

“I love Taekwondo because it has taught me life values that I will hold for the rest of my life,” TJ says.

“I love how anyone can do Taekwondo and not get discriminated against as it is an individual sport that helps kids’ self-exploration.

“This sport has brought life-long friendships, memories that will never be forgotten, and life skills that can never be unlearned. 

“I have become a lot more confident in myself and have fallen in love with Taekwondo so much that I have opened up my own centre teaching children Taekwondo, sharing my knowledge and letting any child that walks in feel part of a family.”

One of the prizes for winning the #TaekwonDownUnder photo competition is a shopping spree at Jols Adidas.

So, don’t be surprised if the kids get a hold of that gear and this famous photo is reproduced a generation on.

Maybe, just maybe, one of those little Taekwondo rookies will grow up to become a great of the sport.

We acknowledge that our office is spread across many traditional lands, and we pay respect to all traditional owners of these lands and elders past and present.