ITC loves to discover colourful local identities. We asked local Franki Meijer (who is also passionate about local people) to find out more about Fabian Peters. This is what Franki discovered.
Fabian Peters is the founder and owner of the Lane Cove Tae Kwon Do club…and a bit of a local superstar. He is a key promoter of community, self esteem and leadership.
Tae Kwon Do (TKD) is a dynamic martial art, originating out of Korea and now an Olympic sport. At its centre is an emphasis on survival in antagonistic situations and promoting a sense of unity.
So, I hear you ask, what makes Lane Cove Tae Kwon Do special?
What’s striking about the Lane Cove club is its philosophy and how Fabian’s own values combine with that of those associated with TKD. It’s about emotional strength, as well as physical strength, and it’s about taking what you learn through being part of the club, into the real world.
How did it all start?
Fabian started TKD at the age of 13 in Perth, after being introduced to it by family members, who also practiced. Motivated by the self-defence element, he recalls how his feelings of confidence started to grow, alongside a sense of belonging.
“When you become part of a club, it feels like a community within itself – a family. When you build up close relationships with the people around you, the club becomes a safe and comfortable place to be yourself. It becomes more than just training. It becomes part of your lifestyle.”
Fabian began teaching at his club in Perth, shortly before his first black belt was awarded and, by the age of 17, he was teaching full time. He describes looking up to his own instructors.
“When you see someone, who has done it for so long and they’re so good at it, you want to be good at it too. Teaching was just something I instinctively wanted to do.”
So, in search of new horizons, 6 years ago Fabian and his wife moved across the country and landed in Lane Cove. The club was born a year later (originally at The Diddy), with just 5 members – all of whom still train today.
Where did it go from there?
The club Fabian has built up since then stands firmly on the values of growing self-esteem and an appreciation for commitment, all the while building that sense of community.
“I don’t think success is achieved without commitment, and self-confidence is not really built without a commitment to something. That’s something I feel really strongly about. You have to stick at it to get good at something and knowing it really well only comes with time. It’s the 10,000 hours rule: If you want to be good at something, do it for 10,000 hours.”
Fostering leadership skills is another key driver for Fabian. Currently he has a leadership team of 24 juniors and seniors, who are learning how to take responsibility for their class and their club. Fabian mentors his members’ talent, running leadership training every two weeks to build leadership skills and a sense of teamwork.
In fact, in 2013, Fabian himself, was given a Lane Cove Council Citizenship Award for leadership. This award acknowledged the role he plays in his students’ lives, his fundraising efforts (around $13.5K) for one of his students battling cancer and the development of an anti-bullying app – Wombat Kombat
“If we can teach them, at a young age, how to stand up in front of people, it will help them in a lot of areas of their lives. And it just comes from the confidence of knowing what they’re talking about. I hope we can give more people that opportunity moving forwards.”
What does Fabian think about living in the Cove?
Fabian is a big advocate of Lane Cove and he describes how it’s becoming more vibrant over time.
“I’m in the plaza 4 or 5 days a week – in the gym, shopping, eating. I’m in sushi train 3 times a week and regularly at La Piazza. I eat quite a bit down there. Probably more than I eat at home.”
Fabian also loves the surroundings, which suit his value set and lifestyle.
“Lane Cove is home for us. I can’t imagine living anywhere else and I’ve never felt the sense of community that I’ve felt here. It’s beautiful too. I run and there’s a lot of bush runs. Yesterday, I took my paddle-board down the road and jumped in the water with the paddle-board and the dog.”
Where could Lane Cove go from here?
Fabian would love to see a really good vegetarian restaurant, and thinks it would be right up the street of many of the other health-conscious residents. Oh, and an after-hours place to hang out. Fabian might hang out with other Lane Cove residents here, but it’s unlikely he’d invite friends from other suburbs here for a night out. Currently, Lane Cove closes just a little too early and doesn’t offer much of a late evening vibe.
But perhaps, more importantly, as a committed small business owner, Fabian’s biggest issue is finding a full-time venue for the club. (They currently rent time slots from the council-run Lane Cove Bowling Club on Burns Bay Road).
“We want a full time place, which can be open all the time, where kids feel safe and challenge themselves. We’re really restricted where we’re renting now and we want to offer a lot more than we currently can. But it has to be the right place – somewhere with easy access and parking.”
He talks about the great spaces in the Lane Cove West business park, but how the accessibility is a major barrier. No doubt, with the drive and sense of commitment Fabian embodies, the club will go from strength to strength and find a fantastic new home.
So, Fabian, do you have a final message for the Lane Cove community?
He pauses and stays true to his passion:
“I’m a real advocate for martial arts and over time I’ve felt there’s a bit of a stigma about it. It’s not about fighting. It’s about challenging yourself and bettering yourself. Our kids aren’t the ones starting fights or being the bullies. But they might be the one who will stick up for your kid one day.”
For me, TKD is for anyone – kids and adults, who want to feel strong, empowered and part of a great group. And more than that, talking with Fabian has made me reflect on the importance of the positive impact that being part of a great community can have on our kids and ourselves. Thanks Fabian.
More information about the club, the programs available and the team at Lane Cove Tae Kwon Do can be found at www.lanecovetaekwondo.com.au
Franki Meijer is originally from England, but over the last decade, she has lived in Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and now Lane Cove. She has a background in Psychology and Research and is inspired by the people around her. We can’t wait to hear more from Franki as she chats with other colourful Lane Cove Identities. Do you have a suggestion for who Franki should chat to next?