WHEN Dianne Carn talks taekwondo, you pay attention.
And not only for self-preservation.
After all, as a former Commonwealth gold medallist she's got the kicks on the board.
Of course, when she gives one of her pupils a kick-along, it could be said there's some self-interest involved.
Carn runs the Irontiger taekwondo centre at Castle Hill, but her praise for student Liam Culhane goes beyond self-interest.
For the 17-year-old Culhane has done something notable enough to merit the admiration in her voice.
The 1st Dan black belt won a bronze medal at the US Open martial arts championships in Las Vegas.
Culhane was one of only two medallists from the 40-strong Australian contingent.
"Liam scored 0.3 points behind the Koreans, who always dominate the sport of taekwondo, so for such a close score this was an amazing result," Carn said.
"This is a huge deal and a medal to be very proud of."
Carn said it was also a reward for hard yakka.
"Liam's preparation was two hours of training each day, with gruelling private lessons each second day," she said.
"Intense training began in December and January.
"Liam dedicated his whole school holidays to intense training for this event, and has been looking forward to competing internationally since he first started at Irontiger."
After Culhane's success, Carn could be forgiven a plug for her business.
"Liam is a well-respected member of Irontiger and now runs our Poomsae Perfect class, where he gives his knowledge to the younger students who want to follow in Liam's footsteps to competition at an international level," she said.
The Culhane kid will next compete in Perth in April.
His target is a spot on the Australian team that will compete in the Oceania taekwondo championships in Papua New Guinea.