Thursday, September 13, 2007

An Il Tae Kwon Do

This is a picture of the interior of the An Il gym, stolen from the school's website. The floor is that soft gym mat material. There is one of those fancy kickboxing-style punching bags. The workout area is very spacious. There is a small changing room where I keep my uniform and an office for conducting business. I think Sa Beom Nim (the title of a taekwondo master--though I'm not sure of the exact distinctions of titles yet, but it will suffice for my teacher's name for the purposes of blogging) and his family live in a small apartment in the same building.

Sa Beom Nim has a conference on Monday, so he asked if I wanted to come in tomorrow instead. We had to negotiate the time (since 11-1 is my first Korean class downtown at the YMCA), but apparently I'm working out tomorrow at 3 p.m. instead of Monday. Cool. It was thoughtful of him to find another time for me to make up the class--he even looked up how to write conference in English to make sure I understood!

I thought today would be the end of my first week of lessons, but apparently that will be tomorrow. I have learned quite a lot in the first week. I'm much better at some of the proper basic forms for the kicks, punches, and blocks I've been practicing. Going everyday means I see a lot of my progress more quickly, which is a huge motivator for me right now. I've always found it hard to stick with an exercise program with the only motivation being "gradual weight loss" or "improved health," even though I always feel better when I'm working out regularly, and those other goals for working out start to happen over time. I think I just need to make sure I am doing something fun where I get to learn new things; that's good to know about myself and makes me feel less like a lazy bum.

Also, taking taekwondo is giving me the motivation to learn Korean faster so that I can understand what Sa Beom Nim is saying. One of my middle school classes (the one that is coming closest to giving me "stress," though the comparison to my job at Roosevelt keeps that word in quotation marks) is learning the English names for body parts (and a few other words), and they have a vocabulary quiz next week. They started complaining, so I said that I would take the same quiz in reverse (like they'll get the words written in Hangul and have to write the English word; I'll make a copy with just the English words and I have to write the Korean Hangul word). If they do better than me, they all get 100 on the quiz. Honestly, it's not really fair to me since most of them have studied English for years, but I'll try anything to get a class motivated.

Yeah, I'm that kind of dorky teacher. Like now Jason and Dragon change their English names every day (most recently they were Green Tiger and Rainbow Dragon, respectively). Going with the insanity is just easier and more productive than trying to fight them about silly points like names that aren't really their names.

Gwen and Samson reimbursed my plane ticket a few days ago, and Gwen helped me navigate the ATM, so I have enough cash now for comfort until my first payday after this month. Korea typically pays employees once a month, not every week or two like the US, so a lot of people who don't bring much won with them end up strapped and borrowing to make it through the first month which has the most expenses (setting up the apartment, paying for whatever lessons you're taking, figuring out the good places to eat/shop that aren't too pricey, etc.)

It's started raining again and is supposed to rain throughout the weekend. Bummer. I have plans to take my first Korean class tomorrow and in the evening head out to downtown with Se Jin for dancing and fun. On Sunday I was going to pick a park or tourist site in Daegu to check out from this site, but it looks like the weather may make my plans change. We'll see.

I really need to learn how to type in Hangul.


  1. Hey! How much does the YMCA charge for Korean classes? And do they all start out at the basic level or are there intermediate and advanced classes as well?

  2. I'm heading down there this morning. I'll post about it later.

    Good luck packing!

  3. Tell Green Tiger and Rainbow Dragon (or Pencil Case and Hamburger, or whatever their calling themselves) that I said hello!



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