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Physiotherapy alumna wins world title in combat sport

7 September 2022

Becky after winning world title

School of Healthcare Sciences Physiotherapy alumna Becky Sheppard  (BSc 2020) has won a world title in the combat sport Tang Soo Do.

Tang Soo Do is one of the oldest martial arts systems. It promotes self-defence, physical and spiritual health and all-round personal development. Martial arts film star Chuck Norris is a student of the art, and displayed his techniques in films like Way of the Dragon alongside Bruce Lee.

Becky, 25, started training in Tang Soo Do with her sister, Alice, at the age of six. Her parents, who later took up the sport themselves, found it helped to improve their ‘high-energy’ daughter’s concentration at school. After graduating from Cardiff University with a BSc in Physiotherapy, Becky started her first job working on respiratory conditions in intensive care after Covid-19 broke out - witnessing first-hand the devastating impact of the disease.

I enjoy competing as it gives me a goal to work towards and winning a world title has certainly been a highlight. Competing encourages you to push yourself physically and mentally, as well as providing an opportunity to travel and meet new people.
Becky Sheppard, BSc Physiotherapy 2020 alumna

Becky sparring

To help deal with her experiences during the pandemic, she upped her training in the Korean-based martial art as a physical and mental outlet - and to great success. In June, Becky competed in the Tang Soo Do world championships in the USA, and took home two gold medals and a silver for weapons, sparring and forms respectively.

Becky, who rotates around hospitals with Cwm Taf Morgannwg Health board offering support for conditions varying from stroke or injury rehabilitation, said:

"Working in the NHS during the pandemic was a particularly stressful time and it could take its toll emotionally. It is a very rewarding role and we often see people make recoveries over time. But we also saw young, healthy people become very poorly and some would not make it. It was hard. I found Tang Soo Do helped me to focus on the moment, release physical and mental stress and generally sleep better at night.

The University was really supportive of my training. Physio is quite a demanding course, but they allowed me time off to travel to the Netherlands for the European championships and provided me with time to catch up with work missed.

Having more knowledge of physio, exercise and rehab is quite useful in helping adapt my training and teaching to make it most effective and help overcome any injuries."

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