An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Following my daughter's example

I had posted a little while ago regarding my younger daughter’s Tae Kwon Do class, and the emphasis on discipline. I respect the instructors and dojang (literal translation from Korean: “house of discipline”), how they have treated the children and drawn out the behaviors from them with a gentle hand.

So it was inevitable, I guess, that I would join my daughter when she moved up to the “6 and over” white belt class. And I was pretty excited about it.

Last night was that first class.

I wasn’t really nervous. I had been told that the class would be in a review mode leading up to this weekend’s belt upgrade testing, so I’d be a little lost. Kind of like trying to take a sip from a fire hose. But it turned out to not be all that bad. Having watched Abbie’s classes and done some practice with her at home, I wasn’t completely clueless (only partly clueless).

Standing out in a class of
short people.
Sitting cross-legged on the edge of the mat before class, lined up with all the other students, was almost comical. Most heads were at my shoulder level. I was definitely the only one there with grey hair. When we lined up for the beginning of class, I had to move a couple of the kids forward as they outranked me (they ALL did, since I had no rank starting out).

Within a few minutes of the start, into the warm-ups, I was sweating. And it appeared I was the only one sweating. Yeah. Thanks to being conditioned to cool myself, along with a 20mph wind to help the process (absent in the building), I was blotting my head often, trying to prevent a pool from forming on the mat. Stretching? Yep, 55 year-old man does not do ANYTHING close to splits. Something to work on.

I made it through the kicking drills fine. Then we did some practice on blocking – a center sweeping block I hadn’t seen done in Abbie’s previous class. There’s a reason my chosen sports involve a lot of repetition in anything that needs a modicum of coordination. Going slow I could get it. Once the pace quickened, my coordination failed me. But persistence pays off. Or eventually it will.

Anyway, from there we did a short game. The kid I was paired with had treated the kicking drills like he was trying to send the paddles flying out of the instructor’s hands. I knew that this guy would kick my behind… Turned out it was a few rounds of rock-paper-scissors, with the loser doing 3 push-ups each round. Whew!

The class ended with the new students breaking a board to earn their white belt. I saw the three boards with the belts sitting on the mat in front of the class, and noticed that one of them was significantly thicker than the others… I was second of the three to show my anger to the wood, and sure enough, that thicker board was mine. The “18+ board”, I was told.

I think Abbie was more excited
about me breaking a board
than I was.

I took my stance, and unleashed my kick. The board still broke easily. Thank the in-grain pine!

I was wrapped with my white belt (and double wrapped – that belt was WAY long), received my broken board, and thanked my instructor (kahm sah hamnida). The last new student broke her board (with some encouragement from the rest of the class), we paid our respects to the flags, the instructor (sah bum nim), and senior students (sun bae nim), and then were dismissed.

Going to sleep was a bit of a challenge – I was a bit keyed up still.

Now being “the morning after”, I find that I’m not really sore, but I am tired. And I’m looking forward to the next class on Thursday.

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