It isn’t precisely regular for a nurse to spend her time kicking and punching individuals – however then Adaeze Efobi is not any bizarre medic.
The 34-year-old may but head to the Olympics to symbolize Nigeria in taekwondo, a sport by which she hopes to encourage each on and off the mat.
Efobi fell in love with taekwondo whereas watching it on tv aged seven, however didn’t have the chance to compete till she was 22.
”I instructed my mother and father I used to be concerned about taekwondo however again then they believed martial arts have been a type of hooliganism,” Efobi instructed BBC Sport Africa.
“I performed basketball and soccer and likewise participated in race strolling whereas in secondary college.”
Born and introduced up in Lagos, it was solely as soon as Efobi was settled at Ebonyi State College, the place she was learning for a nursing diploma, that she was in a position to realise a childhood dream.
“In my second yr, my classmates have been having a soccer match with one other class. I simply seemed throughout and noticed a gaggle of scholars doing taekwondo, sporting their dobok [uniform] and their belts,” Efobi remembered.
“I went to their coaching session, did the required paperwork and began. I discovered that the eagerness I had on the tender age of seven was nonetheless there.”
Now each a certified nurse and taekwondo teacher, Efobi believes the game has helped her in life, significantly concerning self-discipline.
“Rising up as a toddler, I couldn’t specific myself however I needed to endure quite a lot of coaching to right that,” she stated.
“I realized that mature individuals use their mouth, they do not use their fingers. That is self-discipline, and I began making it half and parcel of my life.
“I’m a greater particular person if I examine myself now to how I used to be earlier than. Breaking by these boundaries, I noticed myself doing sure issues that amazed me and my household once they discovered that I used to be doing taekwondo.”
Bringing nursing into taekwondo
Nigerian taekwondo grandmaster Ferguson Oluigbo believes Efobi has an edge over fellow fighters given her background in nursing.
“I’m a day she is going to go together with the nationwide crew to the Olympics – not simply as a colleague however as a medical professional,” Oluigbo stated.
“She goes to compete and he or she can be going to be on the bottom aiding the medical crew. She understands what’s going to occur to your leg if you end up doing taekwondo – totally different from a nurse or a health care provider who doesn’t know something about sports activities.
“She goes to say ‘no, that factor you might be touching just isn’t the ache, that is the place the ache is coming from’ as a result of she understands it.”
Oluigbo is an skilled coach of Olympians, having been among the many instructors who helped Chika Chukwumerije win a bronze medal on the 2008 Beijing Video games.
Efobi, in the meantime, has received a number of middleweight titles and hopes to turn out to be nationwide champion in her class.
She additionally competes in poomsae – a non-combat model of the martial artwork the place you run by a sequence of strikes and assaults – and instructs at a Pan African Martial Arts Worldwide (Panamai) college, the place she will be able to mix the 2 issues she loves most.
“I’m following my ardour, which is being a taekwondo teacher, however I’m bringing nursing into taekwondo – I handle accidents throughout taekwondo coaching,” she stated.
“I imagine being a nurse is with the ability to assist individuals and you do not have to work within the hospital to assist individuals. I can work in an organization, a gymnasium or anyplace I need to.
“Because the saying goes, do what makes you content; I really like nursing and I’ve a powerful ardour for taekwondo.”
Saving lives and constructing a legacy
Efobi works as a cellular nurse and recollects one explicit incident that had a profound affect on her want to assist others.
“I used to be getting back from treating a toddler and there was this motorcyclist who had been hit by a automobile,” she stated.
“I witnessed the incident and I used to be within the midst of individuals, pushing them again, attempting to make them not contact him.
“I used to be speaking to him, reassuring him, checking for damaged bones. He was bleeding.
“My thoughts was in chaos. It was like ‘he is bleeding, you do not have gloves’. However I needed to save his life.
“What I did was dangerous. Ideally, I should not be touching physique fluids with out gloves. I simply needed to improvise, took clothes, tore it and demobilised the location.
“He had a fracture. I moved it considerably to tie the limbs collectively. Another passers-by and I took him to the closest hospital. I’m blissful the person lived to see one other day.”
Efobi hopes her mixed life experiences can resonate far and extensive as she encounters a various vary of sufferers in her nursing profession and trains individuals from white belt to black belt in taekwondo.
“In the long run, I need to have a legacy the place some day we in our Panamai colleges in West Africa will all come collectively to see all of the masters and grandmasters the organisation has produced,” she stated.
“I see us sitting down and everyone in an image. It is a factor of satisfaction.”