ANITA ALUYA is a Nigerian former Taekwondo National Championship holder, she is the CEO of White Bird Academy and a woman who has a knack for quality development of Taekwondo in Nigeria. The Taekwondo expert cum Political Journalist talked with JOSEPH ODOEKWU of www.simag.com.ng about her forthcoming U15 Championship among others.
What is this forthcoming Taekwondo championship all about?
The WTA U-15 Championship is a Taekwondo competition organized by White Bird Academy which is My Taekwondo School. We have done this competition before and we are about to do it again and it is coming up on the 29th of June, 2019. The idea is basically to discover young champions. I was there some years back as a young champion; people gathered around me and encouraged me. I was called Cynthia Rothrock of Nigeria and my teacher, the Great Grand-master Ikpeme trained me. He is one of the Great Grand masters in Nigeria. So basically I want to raise champions and help give back to the society by discovering talents for Nigeria.
How do you intend to address age-cheat issues during this championship, or is this not of concern you?
Honestly the age-cheat issue is of great concern to me. Because in other championships I have seen them cheat. You tell them Under 15 or Under 14, they will go and bring people above 20 and that is a mismatch. The last championship organized by someone there was a visible mismatch, I saw one of the fighters bigger than the other yet the fight continued. Even the body weight of the two fighters were quite different. Just one kick from the bigger one would send the smaller one out, Yet it looked as if I was the only one seeing that. But naturally, I have what it takes to tell who is an Under 15 and who is not, so there is no way they can cheat during my championship.
Are you also taking this championship to the secondary schools?
It is meant for them. We are inviting schools, we did it before where we invited Taekwondo clubs from secondary schools which we call Dojans. Individuals and clubs in secondary schools are our main targets so they are basically the ones coming out.
But Why would a beautiful woman like you get so attracted to Taekwondo, a Sport perceived by some as unfriendly?
(Laughs) In the first place Taekwondo is not a sport that is unfriendly. It is also not a masculine sports per say and it does not in anyway patronize beautiful or ugly people. It is a sport for everyone both men and women. The definition of Tae-kwon-do has to with the art of the foot, hand and aspect of life. The sports originate from Korea because it is a Korean language. It is basically a sport that is for self-defense. And if you look at the Nigerian factor basically where people engage in lots of arguments you will know that it is key for everyone to be involved in Taekwondo
Have you ever been faced with a situation in life that calls for the need for knowledge of Taekwondo for self-defense?
The most common situation is always at the bus-stops where conductors and passengers get involved in quarrels. But basically, when faced with such situation what comes to mind is “why is this person behaving this way”. I am never in a hurry to get into fight, because I know that one punch from me will get you down and break your ribs. And it can destabilize you all the rest of your life. So we take time to react even in the course of self-defense. But when it comes to having a situation where some guys come as a group want to attack, I have never faced that situation before and I do not even want to face that. But even when such situation comes, I will show the Anita Aluya in me.
Have you been faced with any situation in marriage where you will have to bring what you have learnt in Taekwondo to fight your husband?
In the first place we are not supposed to bring what we have learnt in Taekwondo to fight our husbands and so when a woman learns the art; it is basically for self-defence.
Even when he offends you and is at the verge of attacking?
We are trained fighters and in learning, one of the five tenets of Taekwondo which you must also learn is self-control. Before you react, you think. Sometimes you are told that Taekwondo or martial art is the act of fighting without fighting and how do you do that? It is by weighing the situation first. You don’t react because you can fight immediately. So if it is a situation that calls for mere argument, then why should I fight. Something must lead to an extent of me fighting. If he is bringing an object to hit me, then I can see he is no longer my husband but an enemy. Then, I can break my husband’s ribs and carry him to hospital later for treatment. But what is even important in this case is that I have already defended myself and that is what I learnt, which is self-defense. Marriage is not about a woman’s husband being a monster. But I am not even married yet so it does not apply .
Let us look at Tokyo 2020 Olympics, what are your expectations?
First, if I had been in top form, I would have loved to be at Tokyo 2020 to fight for Nigeria. But you see you don’t just wake up and say you want to go and fight in the Olympics. You have to start training and be involved in international championships, participate in the All African Games, before you can be rated to be part of the Olympics. But because of Journalism during the election period, I have also toured over 34 states. So there has been no time for me to train so it will be difficult for me to fight for Nigeria. But personally, I will still be in Tokyo 2020 either as a coach or as an official and not as a fighter. Already we have one GI ranking championship in January organized by Chika Chuwkumerije and the Nigerian Taekwondo Federation female president. They put all of that together for us and those are the kind of championship that is needed to rate those that will be at the Olympics. But concerning my expectations from Nigeria at the Olympics, I have to first congratulate the Taekwondo federation and praise them, especially this current administration for what they have been doing so far to raise a formidable team for Nigeria. In as much as they are trying I still believe our national team still has to stand up. Most times when we go for the WT Cup at Morocco, our team Nigerian team are usually stopped from going to Round two either by Morocco or other countries and this is really bad. And why would this trend continue from time to time? I still believe the crop of fighters we have in our current team have gone extra mile because most of them even sponsor themselves. I am personally not impressed that after these efforts they still cannot go to the next round. For me it’s given me serious concern. In those days when Nigeria host championships inside the indoor hall at the National Stadium, when other countries come they are afraid. But now it’s a different thing entirely.
In your opinion as a coach what do you think is wrong?
I think it’s either age is telling on them or there are no enough international training tours for the fighters or maybe they are not getting enough motivation. The fact is a Nigerian fighter should be able to go beyond the first round in any international competition.
Finally, which is your priority now, Political Journalism or Taekwondo?
It is very obvious that I have given more time to Journalism above Taekwondo in the past, but now I am relaxing to investing in Taekwondo. My 60% now is for Taekwondo while 40% is for Journalism.
Thank you very much for making out time
You are welcome.