Friday, 15 August 2008

What I learned in my first week

I finally got rid of my Achilles Tendonitis and started Hapkido this week. This is what I learned:

1. Falling is important…

… and I can’t do it yet. Hopefully I will be able to fall like these guys some day:

2. I will not be allowed to take it slow.

I have already used the TahnDoLiGa or EeChulBong, I am not yet sure of all the terms, and I hit myself on the thumb, elbow and behind the ear. My lower back was red from the sticks slapping against it. I did get to hit paper cups thrown at me. That was fun even if I didn’t do it correctly.

In case you are still wandering what I’m talking about then let me explain. TahnDoLiGa or EeChulBong is the Korean name for Nunchaku, the two short sticks linked by a chain or rope. I thought I would only start playing with stuff like after I had a level or two behind my name. Apparently I was wrong. Wonder when we get to play with the wooden swords and staffs.

3. I suck at rope jumping/skipping.

I can do the basic hopping and swinging, but even that is not always up to par, so when I’m expected to run and do turns and all kinds of other crap, you can see where it gets embarrassing.

It doesn’t help when someone thinks that by repeatedly showing you WHAT to do, at normal pace, you will necessarily know HOW to do it. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to figure out what to do with your hand when you need to do strange move with a rope?

4. I suck even more at handstands and anything related to it.

I hit the floor every time when I attempted a handstand. I really need to practice more, but not on my hard floor at home.

5. This is twenty times more fun than gym.

It might even be more fun than that, because I don’t like gym at all. One of the reasons for doing this, there are more, is to get in shape. I would love to have, if not a six pack, at least the side lines again. I am not that far away and I am not that old yet to think it will never happen. The Hapkido will take care of the fitness and much of the cutting and shaping, but with a push-up here and there and a crunch or two, I should be back in some kind of shape in no time. (Just in time for winter vacation on the beach)

6. Those silly little mini busses that zip around everywhere are part of the service for many Hagwons.

Strictly speaking I’m not at a Hagwon, but it is thought of as the same category of institution. The dojang I attend is about 20-25 minutes’ walk from my place, so the owner comes to pick me up. Every day I sit in the bus with children from all over town who attend his dojang. I find it quite amusing. When school starts I will take the later class and, hopefully, not be with the middle school children any more. I suppose I can start going at a later time next week already. I will consider it this weekend.

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