Three special-needs taekwondo fanatics hope to bring the buzz of their sport to Hawke's Bay ahead of its Paralympics debut.
Lorraine Bainbridge, Maui Kupa and Alex Kelly will front a weekly class at Hawke's Bay's Koryo Taekwondo centre, teaching attendees the virtues of the Korean martial art.
Koryo Taekwondo NZ owner Camille Pruckmuller said the trio shared a dream of running classes for others.
"I asked how they'd feel about running their own classes and, no surprise, they all said yes," she said.
With para taekwondo to be contested at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics for the first time, Pruckmuller said there's no better time to encourage others to take part.
"As it's now taking the world stage, different adversities such as sensory impairment, mental illness, physical disabilities, lost limbs - any reason they may have to not be able to take part in our mainstream class can take part," she said.
The classes, which will first run on a voluntary basis for a koha at the Hastings branch on Market St North, will aim to build up a log of students and eventually pay the trio a wage.
Two of the soon-to-be instructors, who all recently competed in the ATC online Taekwondo Championships in South Korea, are already black belts, with the other not far away.
Lorraine Bainbridge was left with brain damage after an accident as a child.
Pruckmuller said the 36-year-old has been training with her for more than 15 years and is a 2nd Dan Black Belt.
Alex Kelly, 39, was born with fetal alcohol syndrome, and has been studying the discipline for many years.
"Alex struggles day to day with the norm, and doing taekwondo has really boosted his confidence and fitness," she said. "To become an instructor is a dream of his."
Maui Kupa, a black belt in ITF taekwondo, has been training at the Hastings site for over a year.
"Maui trains hard in our mainstream and has mentioned numerous times about being an instructor," Pruckmuller said.
Pruckmuller said the 40-year-old, who has down syndrome, is on course to be the only double black belt with the genetic disorder in New Zealand.
"While all three suffer with different disabilities, you can't tell once they start training," she added. "All three show a great admiration to all who train with them."
The classes, which will be watched over by Pruckmuller and master Euanchang Yang, are penciled in for 11am on Wednesday, but will be confirmed at a later date.
Other Koryo Taekwondo NZ classes include Little Kiwis (under-5s), Grasshoppers (5-7 years old), Dragons (8-12), adults and teenagers (13+), Pink Ninjas (females 13+) and TNT Dynamite.