Taekwondo, I’m back

November 19, 2011

Excuse the corny title; I’m just so exhilarated and overwhelmed that I’m finally finally! doing Taekwondo again after 9 effin’ years. I took TKD classes with my cousin for a few months when I was in 6th grade but I had to give it up to make way for mock review classes for the Pisay entrance exam in December 2002. I didn’t get in (but I did get in Munsci). I just wasn’t able to go back to TKD again after that. :(

I’ve been trying to enlist TKD all of my college life, but never got it. First sem, first year I wanted to take TKD but my friends took Aikido, so I went with the flow. We had fun rolling all over the floor but it just wasn’t the same. And now, on my last sem, having the graduating priority status in CRS, I GOT IT.

It’s just PE, so I thought it won’t be so hard. I figured I’m going to relearn the basic forms and kicks, burn a few calories by stretching and exercising, and generally enjoy the experience. I couldn’t be more wrong.

There were warning signs. On the first meeting, the instructor asked if there were colored belts in the class. I sheepishly raised my hand and so did a few others. I didn’t think it was a big deal, since I was only a yellow belter. And then he asked what our colors were. Turns out I was sitting beside a black belter. WEOW.

Today, on the second meeting–first actual meeting, actually–the instructor asked the colored belts to come forward and form a line in front of the class. Uh-oh. Then we did the stretching, with us, the colored, leading the counting. He called us his “apprentices.” At this time I was pretty apprehensive.

Back when I was doing TKD, the first thing we did was to run laps around the gym. Then we stretched. This time we stretched first, so then we ran. And Sahbumnim put a twist to it. We were divided into three lines. We’re supposed to run as fast as we can to the end of the mat, touch down and shout, and then ran pedaling backwards back to the starting point. Pretty easy enough, I thought. Then several people fell on their faces and butts. On the first try I did okay. On the 2nd try, I fell on my face, and going backwards, I fell on my butt. Most embarrassing experience. After that Sahbumnim raised the challenge: the first line who finishes first gets a free cut. I won my round and didn’t fall and our group won. Yey, free cut!

After that, the colored belts were asked to stay on the floor and the rest of the class on the platform. We were then asked to do kicks, bullet kicks (we call ’em 45), 10 per side and take turns holding the kicking shield and absorbing the impacts of the kicks of the other colored belts.

Okay, let me tell you about the other colored belts. We are six in that class: there are two white belters (I think they’ve been doing TKD for a while; they just didn’t undergo the promotion process), two yellow belters (one high and the other [me] low), a blue belt and a black belt. I am the only girl and the smallest in terms of height and width… and in weight, too. Actually, the black belt is probably a bit thinner than I am, but he’s taller and did I mention he’s a black belter?!

So. Yeah. They kick hard. -.-

The 2nd guy who held the kicking shield timed out after the right round because he was dizzy. UH-OH. So when it came to my turn, having seen and heard the power of their kicks, I was feeling pretty weak. I did tell them to have a little mercy. I was thrown back a step on the first kick I received, kick shield notwithstanding. So I thought, Fcuk this, and I steeled myself. A couple of them did (the blackbelt and another guy) hold back a little and I appreciated that a lot, but by the end of my turn, my arms were sore. At the end of the bullet kicks, my right foot was feeling sore, too.

Before we finished bullet kicks, the rest of the class took a break, so they stood there watching us. Sahbumnim said, “Shout! Ang di sumigaw, supot.” So this smart-ass no-belt classmate of mine said, “Sir, paano yung babae? Di ba uncircumcised ang babae?” I kicked the shield pretty hard and glared at him. Humanda ka sa sparring.

After the bullet kicks, we did the roundhouse kicks on kick pads. 5 each side. I did okay on my first try. On my second try, I kicked pretty hard and was even pleased about the sound of my kick that second but on the next second, I was on the floor. I lost my balance. A couple of them tried to help me up but I brushed them off and stood and jumped, assessing the damage. No damage save for a scraped elbow. Whew. 3rd rule: bawal mamatay.

When it was my turn to hold the damn kick pad, their kicks are so strong my arm actually flew back.

The third kick we did was the turning side kick, 5 per side. I hate this kick. I hate turning my back on the target or opponent. My foot just couldn’t land on the target. Well, I landed a few, but most of my kicks missed the kick shield. UGH. GAH. I was such a loser. So I volunteered to hold the shield next. Might as well get that over. This time they didn’t hold back. Well, one of them did, I think. And this kick is actually more powerful than the 45. Yung 45, sipa, ito, tadyak. So, yeah, I was repeatedly thrown back and the kick shield offered no shield, really. It was actually hazardous: the black belt’s kicks caused the shield to hit me on my chin and mouth and, voila, bleeding lip. Good thing it was the inside part, since it’d be embarrassing if any of them saw the blood. That was the last drill, thank goodness.

So. Let’s assess. My arms are sore with a big bruise forming on my right arm. My feet are sore from all that kicking, my right foot especially. I have a bleeding lip. I have a scraped left elbow. My joints are aching from all the stretching. My whole body is tired and aching. And the pain will probably worsen when I wake up tomorrow.

Did I mention that this is my fifth PE, and so I basically don’t need it?


When I got home, the first thing I did (apart from logging on to facebook) was to google taekwondo and youtube the kicks. Then I practiced the turning side kick for a bit. I just love doing this.

On my way home, I was thinking if I regret telling Sahbumnim that I’m a yellow belt. My life would have been easier if I stayed with the rest of the class. But then it won’t be challenging. I’m pushing myself to the limits, I’m raising my pain threshold and I am enjoying myself despite the pain. Maybe I have masochistic tendencies? Another tension of opposites, then: I am afraid of pain and torture, but I’m okay with this kind of pain.

It’s going to be hard, but I sure as hell am going to enjoy this. I’m excited for the next meeting!


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