How Taekwondo helped increase my confidence


Nancy Ovenstone shares her experiences of growing up with epilepsy and how Taekwondo has helped increase her confidence.

Epilepsy has had a horrible impact on my career, progression and choices.

I am 52 now and realise that I have never had any of my first choices in life. As a child, I always felt left out of things because I was not allowed to do what all the other kids were doing.

My teachers branded me as slow and lazy and class members bullied me. When I was in my teens, I was not allowed into nursing or drive and nobody wanted me for a girlfriend. Employers didn’t want me either. My confidence was at an all time low.


Never give up

Nancy Ovenstone

Has anything changed? Well I did an HNC at night school and graduated college. I have now worked for Mark’s and Spencer for 13 and a half years.

When I was 39, I started Taekwondo and I am now one rank below the full black belt. I have been crowned British Champion and have won a whole host of other medals.

There was an instructor who would not let me quit when it got too hard.

He never gave up on me. Everybody needs someone helping, guiding and supporting you in what you are doing, not just the physical side of it but helping you to progress and not give up and become more confident in yourself.

The tenets of Taekwondo are courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self control and my favourite one indomitable spirit, that whatever life throws at you, you must never give up on yourself and believe the good times will come.

I know I have been very lucky. I now feel that I am no longer the victim that I was for such a long time.

In November last year, I competed at the World Championships and I won the bronze medal.

My message to anyone who feels that their life is never going to progress is when you get knocked down, get back up and keep persevering till you get what you want.

There are some things that will not happen but if I can do it anyone can. Sending all my love to all the people who understand what a struggle it has been. Keep getting back up.

If you would like to share your experiences of living with epilepsy and join in our #TalkEpilepsy campaign, please email David Coates our Communications Officer on or call 0141 427 4911.