KUALA LUMPUR, March 20 (Bernama) -- Taekwando coach Nelson Bernard Kirby reckons Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said needs at least 19 years to achieve 9th Dan black belt, the highest grade accorded by the International Taekwando Federation (ITF).
He said to achieve this, the tourism minister has to engage in combat training with exponents holding 5th Dan black belt.
"Although she may be busy, I feel it is not impossible for her to achieve the status of Grand Master (9th Dan) at 65 years-old," he said after presenting the 6th Dan black belt to Azalina from Cha'ang-Hon International Taekwando Federation at her office here today.
Kirby who is Azalina's taekwando coach said the 46 year-old minister is in good shape for combat training.
Meanwhile, Azalina said she considers combat sport as an activity to relief stress and that the principles and ethical values of taekwando are good for self development.
"Everyone have a principle in life, mine is taekwando," she said.
Under ITF rules, Azalina needs seven years before she qualifies for the 7 Dan test, eight years for the 8th Dan test and another nine years for the 9th Dan test. However, the ITF can make an exception if the valuers are satisfied that the individual is qualified to take the test.-- BERNAMA
The Malaysian Taekwondo Association (MTA) practises the WTF, not ITF, system. WTF is recognised by the IOC. Was it because of this conflict that led to MTA's de-registration way back in 2005?