The next grading will involve breaking boards. To this end a while ago, I ordered some rebreakable plastic boards so I can practice board breaking in the privacy of my own home, and I won’t have to worry about cost per break (as I would with wooden boards). I’ve finally got John to make a board holder, and I’m now practising spasmodically, and finding that it is quite difficult.
We had another in-house tournament recently, and I entered the power-breaking just to focus a bit more on how to do it. I came third (out of three) but still managed to complete one break, and come close in the other two. The tournament was great in focussing us to learn our patterns ahead of the grading, and it is a really good opportunity for the women especially to try out their fighting skills in a safe but competitive environment. For most of us, it’s the only time we are likely to be involved in “real” fights, so it’s good to know how what our responses might be like if we ever have to fight on the street. Tim came second in the sparring again.
Really this site should be a blog. (editorial note: I did in Mar, 2004) Eventually I will make it into one. Really. Or at least turn the entries around the other way so it is reverse chronological …
This year, there have been 4 grading days scheduled and it didn’t seem like very much time between grading 1 and grading 2. I had been very impatient to learn new patterns at the beginning, but suddenly found that although I knew the movements for Do San, I didn’t really feel comfortable with executing them. I also have found that I am much more able to perform sequences of fundamental movements, but this makes me aware of how technically imperfect I am in my execution.
In the first six months I was just trying not to fall over, and was pleased if I ended up in the same stance as the front row rather than caring how the individual movement were executed. By the time we got to the June grading, John had joined us in learning taekwondo, and he graded for his yellow belt.
We all performed reasonably competently, and Leila and I were particularly pleased with our two-step sparring, which we had practised together very assiduously. We found it amusing that although we could remember particular sequences (with a bit of effort), we girls were not very good at working out defences for particular attacks or thinking up pur own sequences of attack. But we did okay
The grading for green tip was much less stressful than the first grading since I pretty much knew what to expect. My patterns and 3 step sparring felt pretty good, although I still have quite a bit to master with my fundamental techniques. And sine wave … well that’s another thing. Tim graded for yellow belt, and knew his stuff very competently. He was late to the grading because he had a cricket final on the same day, so when he arrived, he had to perform all his stuff (pattern and 3 step sparring) by himself in front of everyone. He was very confident and crisp in his movements, and I was very proud of him. I’m not completely surprised to find though that the more I’m enjoying taekwondo, the less enthusiastic Tim is. I am taken with all the theory and philosophy and I’m also very happy with the all around physical fitness (flexibility and strength work) whereas Tim mostly likes to spar and to do skills. Then again, he knows his patterns and reads the theory too, so maybe it’s just that he’d rather be playing on the computer than doing anything else.
On Saturday we had an in-house tournament – it was pretty enjoyable even though there were not many people – maybe 20 or 25. We had to perform our patterns competitively (2 people at a time, not necessarily doing the same thing) and we had a knockout sparring competition. Tim did really well in the sparring, coming second overall even though he was the lowest belt level competing. I lost my match, but enjoyed it immensely. I came second in the junior patterns (junior with respect to belt level) so that was very pleasing.
The more you learn, the more you realise how much you don’t know !!! I am now able to follow along on most things (even reverse turning kicks) but on so many things, my actual technique is shocking. I have worked for months on being able to do pushups which I am almost able to do passably, but I now need to focus on flexibility, especially hamstrings. Without sufficient strength and flexibility in my legs, my kicks lack power and definition. There’s a long way to go, but it’s still really enjoyable. We did a full day seminar on sparring (step sparring in the morning, free sparring in the afternoon) and it was really enjoyable.
We had our grading on today – it was quite stressful, especially as white belts went first, so we had no idea of what to expect. It seemed to go quite smoothly, although my techniques could improve a lot and I haven’t quite got a sine wave going. I’m very pleased to have achieved my yellow belt (8th gup) and proud of Tim for grading to 9th gup.
I am really enjoying the challenge of learning something physical, and I’ve started going 3 times a week. Tim is enjoying himself too, but is happy to stay at 2 times per week.
So we are now properly learning taekwondo. There are pushups (the first day was unusual in that respect) and there are many many techniques and patterns to learn along with lots of Korean words and etiquette and history. I am hoping to collect information in this website to assist in our learning but at the moment, the amount to remember is fairly imposing.
The next visit involved us deciding whether to join up or not. The decision involved deciding to join the International Taekwondo Federation, buying a uniform and arranging the payment for lessons with Ashburton Recreation Centre – quite a substantial commitment. Tim and I made a pact that if we joined, we would train on Wednesdays and Saturdays, practice at home and stick it out at least until Tim finishes primary school. That would give us enough time to form our own personal commitments to taekwondo.
We took our second free lesson on a Monday night. It was definitely a younger class but there were
also a few adults, and the pace of the class was more suited to beginners like us.
Tim and I started learning Taekwon-Do at the end of July. Tim saw the advertisement for classes at Ashburton, so we tried a couple of lessons. The first lesson on a Saturday was pretty good – we were in street clothes, clearly identifying us as beginners, and although the moves were challenging, there were no pushups. There were young and older people and a fair mix of women, so it didn’t seem too intimidating.