Thursday, 26 February 2015

Tae Kwon D-Oh My!!!

The Little Big Fella loves martial arts!  He's loved them at least ever since he first saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles a few years ago.

At the time he was so interested that I found out about a Tae Kwon Do class here and made contact.  But on speaking to the Instructor, we decided that The Little Big Fella was still too young and he would have to wait until he was 6 years old.

He turns 6 at the end of March but was talking about it constantly for weeks, so we found out when the classes were on and decided to let him start a little early.

Last week he attended his first two lessons.  They go for two hours each!!!  But he absolutely loved it and couldn't wait to show his Dad what he'd learned!

I sat and watched the first lesson and thought it looked like fun.

The next morning I tried to do a couple of push ups and a couple of burpees, which are part of the "warm up" each lesson.


There was no chance I was capable of joining in.

I watched the next lesson and wanted to join in.  Obviously I am insane.

Yesterday I watched again and thought, "no, I really want to do this!  I'm going to join in tomorrow night".  So last night I packed a change of clothes, prepared some bottles of water so they would be cold when we got to class, and psyched myself up, whilst pretty much shaking in my boots.

After work this afternoon I went and collected the Little Big Fella from after school care and we went to the dojo (school hall).

The weather has been hot and humid here and by the end of the "warm up" I felt like I was going to pass out, and my muscles were starting to cramp.  I think I have a bit of carpet burn as well, from face-planting in an attempt to do push ups in several variations.

Our next part of the class was a "sensitivity" drill, where you practice keeping your partner from punching you in the nose.  Amazingly, my carpet-burned snout remained punch-free!

Then we practiced "stances" and a couple of different types of kicks.  It was exhausting and a bit painful but super fun!  Turns out my ballet training as a kid is helpful in Tae Kwon Do because it helped me understand balance, how the body moves, and gave me the ability to observe the small changes in someone as they demonstrate a move, to enable me to copy fairly accurately.

To finish the class, the Instructor informed us that we would have the opportunity to break wooden boards using the kicks we'd been practicing.

Most of the class is made up of Primary school kids, probably aged 8 to 11.  There was one other adult in the class today.  Several of the kids were super keen to have a go, but The Little Big Fella was definitely not!

So, one by one, the keen kids had a go.  Some of them got close to breaking the board - you could tell by the way they moved and the sound of their foot on the board.

The Instructor then said it was time for an adult to have a go, walked up to me and told me to do it.

Something you need to understand about this class is that it's constantly drummed in to you that you need to have a go.  You won't get it right every time, but it's all good practice and you're just cheating yourself if you don't.

So, I got up and "faced up", getting ready to kick.

I took a deep breath, settled into my position, then kicked the board hard and fast, imagining my foot going through it, not just touching it.

The board snapped!

I am a bit embarrassed to write this, because I was surrounded by so many children, but the first words out of my surprised, uncontrolled mouth were, "HOLY SHIT"!

The Instructor congratulated me and everyone clapped.  I was handed my two pieces of board and told to take them home and write the details of my achievement on them.

I sat down and suddenly realised that the ball of my foot was a bit sore.  It had taken a good 30 seconds or so for that realisation to hit.

After that, all the kids (including The Little Big Fella) wanted to have a go.  Three girls in a row broke the board, followed by one of the boys.  I cheered enthusiastically for them - they were so surprised and pumped up!  It was brilliant!  Unfortunately The Little Big Fella didn't break the board when he tried it, but his technique improved with the practice.

So, now I guess I'm going to keep going to classes.

But first, I'm going to have to attempt to get out of bed in the morning!  All of my muscles in my legs, and most of the ones in my arms feel like they're going to cramp at any moment!!!

No pain, no gain, right?

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