Teen is defensive after tae kwon do choking claims

Tae Kwon Do student Crystal Trost.
Tae Kwon Do student Crystal Trost. Trevor Veale

CRYSTAL Trost, the Coffs Harbour teenager "choked" into unconsciousness by her local tae kwon do instructor has defended her right to be part of the controversial marital arts demonstration.

The "sleeper hold" manoeuvre filmed by Crystal's mother and performed in front of a Coffs Harbour martial arts class showed the 16-year-old momentarily fall unconscious, and start to twitch as blood circulation and oxygen supply are restored to her brain.

Sparking national controversy, the video posted on social media and aired on national news has been condemned by Sydney emergency department director Dr Gordian Fulde, who said the dangerous hold, commonly used in military combat training, was a form of strangulation.

Crystal, a novice yellow belt student, jumped to the defence of her tae kwon do instructor Michael Landas from the CFTA School, saying she volunteered for the demonstration.

"I didn't want them to just show me the hold, I wanted to feel what this was like," Crystal said.

"I knew I wouldn't be out for long… I had been told of the risks and I was completely fine with it.

"I feel it is going to make me grow stronger as I go through the belts and grow to be a black belt.

"I don't know why this has gone Australia-wide, I just want it to stop. CFTA is a good school. It's about responsibility, it's about respect, discipline and team work."

Her mother, Michelle, and stepfather, Paul, said the footage of Crystal falling unconscious and convulsing did not concern them.

"I consider it a twitch and not convulsing," Michelle said.

"We were not concerned by it at all because we knew what was going to happen."

Paul maintains the self-defence manoeuvre was carried out with minimal risk.

"All the risks were explained. Michael is a qualified instructor, he is also a first-aider, it was done at the adult class not the children's class, there were plenty of people around with mobile phones to call an ambulance should it have been required," Paul said.

"We have been called irresponsible for it, we don't believe we were because she is doing a sport that she shows passion for and it is teaching her respect and it is teaching her discipline. She is there to learn to defend herself."

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