It’s not precisely regular for a nurse to spend her time kicking and punching folks – however then Adaeze Efobi isn’t any unusual medic.
The 34-year-old may but head to the Olympics to symbolize Nigeria in taekwondo, a sport through 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 dad and mom I used to be thinking about taekwondo however again then they believed martial arts had been a type of hooliganism,” Efobi instructed BBC Sport Africa.
“I performed basketball and soccer and in addition participated in race strolling whereas in secondary faculty.”
Born and introduced up in Lagos, it was solely as soon as Efobi was settled at Ebonyi State College, the place she was finding out for a nursing diploma, that she was in a position to realise a childhood dream.
“In my second yr, my classmates had been having a soccer match with one other class. I simply regarded throughout and noticed a gaggle of scholars doing taekwondo, carrying their dobok [uniform] and their belts,” Efobi remembered.
“I went to their coaching session, did the required paperwork and began. I came upon that the fervour 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 categorical myself however I needed to endure a number of coaching to right that,” she mentioned.
“I discovered that mature folks 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 individual if I evaluate myself now to how I used to be earlier than. Breaking by means of these obstacles, I noticed myself doing sure issues that amazed me and my household after 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 taking a look at a day she is going to go together with the nationwide staff to the Olympics – not simply as a colleague however as a medical skilled,” Oluigbo mentioned.
“She goes to compete and she or he can be going to be on the bottom aiding the medical staff. She understands what’s going to occur to your leg when you find yourself doing taekwondo – completely 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 will not be 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 develop into nationwide champion in her class.
She additionally competes in poomsae – a non-combat model of the martial artwork the place you run by means of a sequence of strikes and assaults – and instructs at a Pan African Martial Arts Worldwide (Panamai) faculty, 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 mentioned.
“I imagine being a nurse is having the ability to assist folks and you do not have to work within the hospital to assist folks. I can work in an organization, a health club or anyplace I wish to.
“Because the saying goes, do what makes you content; I like nursing and I’ve a powerful ardour for taekwondo.”
Saving lives and constructing a legacy
Efobi works as a cell nurse and remembers one specific 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 automotive,” she mentioned.
“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 positioning.
“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 joyful the person lived to see one other day.”
Efobi hopes her mixed life experiences can resonate far and large as she encounters a various vary of sufferers in her nursing profession and trains folks from white belt to black belt in taekwondo.
“In the long run, I wish 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 mentioned.
“I see us sitting down and everyone in an image. It is a factor of delight.”