ITF history was made in Ylöjärvi, Finland, on Saturday December 3, 2022, when 82-year-old Salme Nummela achieved her 1st Dan. This achievement makes her the oldest person ever to receive a black belt in Finland, maybe even worldwide.
Salme Nummela started practicing ITF Taekwon-Do when she was 75 years old and she attends classes three times in a week in her local club, Taekwon-Do Center at Ylöjärvi. In addition, she practices also on her own time and instructs the local Harmony class.
The Taekwon-Do Center in Ylöjärvi was the first club in Finland to establish a class for elders based on the ITF Harmony program in 2020. It is noteworthy that Salme Nummela started her Taekwon-Do journey in a regular adult’s group and she is practicing there also today.
“My grandchildren had started the sport and when I watched it from the side of the hall, it started to attract me, too. Tarja Korhonen [edit: chairman of the Taekwon-Do Center] then encouraged me to join”, says Nummela about the early days of her hobby.
In Taekwon-Do, the iron lady has found a versatile sport where fun and doing things with joy are important to her. It shouldn’t be too serious. “New challenges pull me and it’s pretty amazing to get things out of your body that you really couldn’t get in any gym. And the group that moves together with the teacher’s guidance strengthens my desire to participate. The support and help of friends and working together brings joy”, Nummela says.
The ITF Harmony Committee and its chairman, Sbn Gaston Caséro, supervise the Harmony program and know Salme Nummela from previous ITF Harmony Courses. Sbn. Casero commented her achievement with the words: “From the Harmony committee we congratulate Salme Nummela on her 1st Dan graduation. She is a great example for everyone who starts Taekwon-Do at an advanced age. I know of her hard work preparing for a black belt graduation since Salme has attended the Harmony course in Poland where I had the pleasure of meeting her not only in the gym but also as a human being and it has been an unforgettable experience for me. The entire ITF Harmony Committee wishes you the best in your new stage.”