Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My first six months of taekwondo

It's been six months now since we enrolled in taekwondo, and we just completed our second belt test. We are wearing yellow belts now. My six-year-old daughter and I are wearing yellow belts. My four-year-old son has decided no to continue with taekwondo. I'm hoping he will change his mind when he gets a little older. I think the rules and structure were just too much for him.

We met Master Byong-Cheol Kim at our first belt test, and he was at our second belt test, too. He and his partner Je-Kyoung Kim are really neat guys, surprisingly soft spoken. Their accents are pretty heavy, and we can't understand them very well, but it's easy to see how much they love their sport and their students.

For our first belt test in June we learned: attention, walking stance, sparring stance, horse stance, high block, middle block, low block, single punch, double punch, triple punch, front kick, jumping front kick, jumping double front kick and axe kick. We demonstrated all of these during our belt test as well as Basic Form Number One.

Basic Form Number One consists of low blocks and middle punches all delivered over walking stance. The tricky part was the turns. Sometimes we performed front foot turns and sometimes we performed back foot turns. It took a long time to memorize the form. My daughter was the first to memorize the form. Then she got distracted during the test and made several mistakes. She had to perform the form three times before she got it right. She was pretty embarrassed.

We also performed a one-step sparring routine and a self-defense move. The one step-sparring routine involved a high block and a face high punch delivered to assailant attempting a face high punch. The self-defense move involved removing an assailants hand from our shoulder and delivering an open-handed chop to the back of the elbow.

The best part of the belt test is the breaking technique. For our first belt test, we broke a board with a front kick. My daughter couldn't hold her toes out of the way, and she hurt her foot on her first attempt. It took her three more tries to break her board, but she didn't give up and got it done. At the end of the test we were given our new belts: they looked like our white belts, but they had a yellow stripe running down the middle, the entire length of the belt.

For our second belt test in September we learned: front stance, palm block down, palm block side, palm strike face, four punches, five punches, side kick, roundhouse kick and circle kick. We demonstrated all of these during our belt test as well as Basic Form Number Two.

Basic Form Number Two consists of low blocks and middle punches over front stance. It was very similar to Basic Form Number One, so it wasn't hard to learn. We also performed a one-step sparring routine and two self defense moves. The one-step sparring routine involved a palm block to the side, double punch, round house kick and a circle kick delivered to an assailant attempting to deliver a single punch to the body.

The first self defense move begins when the assailant grabs our shoulder with one hand. We wrap our hand around his arm and then deliver a c-strike to the throat and an elbow strike to the nose. The second self-defense move begins when the assailant grabs both shoulders with both hands. We wrap our arms around his arms and then deliver a knee strike to his groin and a head butt to his nose.

The best part of the belt test is the breaking technique. This time we broke our board with an axe kick. We were a lot less nervous this time. We both got it done on the first attempt. At the end of the test, we received our new belts: bright yellow!

Now that we are yellow belts, we can attend sparring class! My sparring gear will arrive tomorrow. I found some second-hand sparring gear for my daughter. Our first sparring class is Wednesday. Our next belt test is in December, then we will wear orange stripes. So far we are learning: back stance, single knife block, double knife, double down, front side kick and front roundhouse.

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