Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A typical taekwondo practice at An Il.

When Sarah was here, she accompanied me one time to taekwondo practice. I hate looking at photos of me doing things (lingering body image issues and of course with sports like this I keep critiquing my form and stuff), but I'm glad I gave her the camera anyhow. I thought I'd take you through our typical hour-long practice.

We usually arrive a bit early to change into our uniforms, although since summer began, we've been leaving off the jacket part because it's just too sweaty. After pleasantries or discussions of our body conditions (if relevant), we begin warm ups. We do the same sequence of warm ups and stretches daily and it's really made me a lot more flexible, even with my previous yoga experiences. The focus in taekwondo is always in improving kicking, so there are lots of specific leg stretches that don't always happen in yoga, especially the non-static variety.

After stretches, we practice about five times on each leg the seven basic kicks of taekwondo (all the fancier kicks are variations on these seven). We call them what they are in Korean, but with Sa Beom Nim's dialect, I can't always tell what that means. In English they are: front kick, roundhouse, side kick, hook kick, back kick, spinning hook (or scissors kick), and (not sure of the name or translation here) a straight-legged, downward striking kick.

Scissors kick at Sa Beom Nim's hand.

Look at my leg way up over my head. Good times.

After that we usually do some strength training work, like leg lifts or static back strengthening yoga-style holds. Sometimes they're ok and sometimes I want to die, but it's pretty cool that I can do 60 leg lifts pretty easily now on a regular basis. This is probably why I have shrunk a clothing size or two since January without losing any more weight.

Next, we do some kind of aerobic training. Different days are different things, for example, Mondays are usually jogging and Wednesdays are usually stance/kicking drills. Sometimes we'll jump rope or do evil sprints with vicious things thrown in that make my legs want to cry. But Fridays (the day Sarah was filming) are for jumping. Over each other. It's pretty evil.

The worst part of this is worrying about the fact that I weigh SUBSTANTIALLY more than Samantha and hope to god I'm not seriously injuring her.

After that we do some kicking combo drills with the mitts or body bag, most days. I really like kicking the mitt. It makes a satisfying sound when you kick it hard.

Crazy Hair.

Sarah took a video of one spinning kick combo thing. It's difficult and we're still working on it, but if you want to see:

After that, we usually do poomsae work or practice with breaking holds or sparring. And then we end with cool downs. It varies from day to day, but I enjoy the routine of it all. We usually laugh quite a bit, sweat a ton, and feel exhausted by the end. It's a really good time, and I hate missing it. Since vacation is coming up, Noah (a uni student we belt tested with) from the evening class has been coming to our class, which is fun.


  1. Your daily workout is a lot more intense than I imagined! And them video kick is just like they do in Ernie's favorite old-time fight movies-really exciting to see you do that. We're having a nice time with the kids and Tom and Ginny, but oh my gosh I forgot all the noise and mess (and fun) of having three young kids around. It really makes me appreciate having such grown up (although one is gone to Korea) kids! Love, Mom.

  2. The jumping photo reminds me of the night we were playing around with the barrel and trying to come up with ideas for the tavern scene in Fiddler.



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