Friday, January 23, 2009

I won!

Taekwondo last night was game night (after the warmup).

We played a game where you stand side by side, facing opposite directions. You hold the inside hand and then when someone says "go," you try to knock the other person off balance using just your connected hands. The first person to move their legs, loses. I played this game before and was not good at it because I didn't understand. Now, I beat everybody I played last night, including one girl (not one of the four I blogged about before, a newish yellow-belt high school girl who is freakishly strong) who creamed me in arm wrestling last week (I beat almost everyone else I played in that, too except one high school boy). Woo Hoo!

We played a game I don't understand, still. You stand facing each other and try to push the other person off balance by just slapping at their hands. It didn't make any sense at all. I looked around. Most people went off balance going in for the slap. Maybe next time I'll get it. Anyhow I lost that one about as often as I won.

The last game was the strangest, and in some ways the most fun. We sat on the floor with our knees up and feet on the floor, hands clutched behind the knees. By scooting on the floor and using mostly our legs, we had to knock the other person over (off balance). I was STELLAR at this game. Years of leg wrestling my brother when we were kids helped for the strategy, and then as a foreigner, I had the distinct advantage of having the widest butt in the room (both proportionally and, I think, literally). No one could knock me over. When I took out the strongest kid in the class (a third grade HS boy who is about 6'3", has a 4th degree black belt, and always wins these kinds of games), the whole class cheered.

We play a lot of games--various forms of dodgeball, soccer, relay races, Korean chicken fighting (very different than what we call chicken fighting, and a lot more fun and probably less dangerous)--in addition to sparring and regular training. It's interesting because I've learned (not dreadfully surprising, as I'm an adult and most of them are teens) that brute-strength wise, I'm probably one of the top five in the class. However, my balance, strategy, and speed suck and I often lack that competitive edge required to take out middle schoolers. I feel bad doing so most of the time. I should work on these things.

It helps now that the kids will actually go for me. At first they were afraid to really try. Now most of them don't hold back. It's good for me.

Also, because it was the last night before the long holiday, Kwanjangnim and Dongap Sabeumnim gave us little pockets (traditional style for hanboks) and 1,000 won. They also took the high school and university kids out to a noraebang. I was invited, and really wanted to attend, but Leah's goodbye party was scheduled for last night, so I couldn't go this time. Next time, I will go. And I'll bring my camera to the studio one of these days.


  1. Funny, the game that involves standing opposite one another and pushing the other person off balance is one that the students I tutored in the United States would frequently ask to play with me.

    What is Korean chicken fighting?

  2. A fine question.

    The opponents fold one foot acroos their other thigh and hold it there with their hands (because they can't use their hands). Hopping at one another, they try to knock the other person over.

    It is best demonstrated in this youtube video:



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