Just like other teenagers, he has homework deadlines, makes decisions about the future and faces the daunting prospect of impending GCSEs exams next year.
So what makes this Year 11 student so different?
He’s a black belt in taekwondo.
But that’s not all…
Representing England, Aaron beat hundreds of hopefuls at the 2014 Commonwealth Championships and won a bronze medal in taekwondo. Over two days in November, he won gruelling rounds, defeating tough competition to achieve a lifelong ambition of winning a coveted medal for his country.
Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, combining combat, self-defence techniques with sport and exercise, and is distinguishable by its fast, high and spinning kicks— not for the faint-hearted!
Ridgeway’s Marketing & Communications Officer, Ms Willis conducted an interview with Aaron to determine how he was feeling after his incredible achievement and to find out what is coming next!
Ms Willis: How did it feel to win a bronze medal for England?
Aaron: It was amazing!
MW: What category did you compete in?
A: Male Juniors, at the Commonwealth Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland on the 15th and 16th November.
MW: How tough was the competition?
A: It was really tough. I had to get through a number of rounds to get to the semi-finals and get my bronze.
MW: How many rounds was that?
A: Two – really hard rounds as well, so I was really pleased to get as far as I did.
MW: Did you think you would get that far?
A: I had a hunch, really, but it could have gone either way.
MW: Brilliant! Who were you competing against?
A: Australia in the first round and an English player in another. England has done really well this year.
MW: Fantastic! When’s your next competition?
A: My first one’s in January in the UK and later in the year I’ll be competing in Germany.
MW: Would you like to have a career in taekwondo?
A: I really want to, yes.
MW: Good luck to you! If you had to choose a career to fall back on, what might that be?
A: I don’t know; maybe something in IT – that’s my favourite subject at school. I’m just pleased this school is fully supportive of my sport and proud of my achievements.
Aaron has trained in Taekwondo for nine years, reaching the notoriously challenging black belt level in January this year. He trains every day at Taekwondo Academy Liverpool in Tuebrook, supported by dedicated instructors, Peter and Lisa Hankin.
In a previous interview, Aaron stated:
“My ambition is that one day I want to be part of the Great Britain Olympic team – and for that I train every day and work really hard developing my skills. Thanks to the YMCA and my nan, I have been able to gain funding to further develop my skills and help others. Local supermarkets have been kind enough to allow my nan and friends to do bag packs, which helps towards the cost of training camps and fares to get to competitions.”
Aaron’s devoted friends, parents and his nan, Dot, work tirelessly to raise much-needed funds for competitions all over Europe, which can cost over £250 per trip.
Despite their creative efforts, more money is needed to fund Aaron’s trips; without donations, Aaron may be unable to take forward his career in taekwondo.
One small step for man; one giant leap for Aaron Bretland!
To donate to Aaron’s fund, please click on the link below: