Category Archives: Taekwondo

One text to rule them all. Or so I thought.

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One text to rule them all. Or so I thought.

To Sensei:

I’m just going to tell you this now so you’re prepared. I don’t want you to start crying and cause a scene, making L. ease away slowly while forcing an apologetic smile for those witnessing this unfortunate display.

It looks like we’ll have to cancel class tomorrow night.

Now, now, Sensei! Compose yourself! It’s going to be okay.

Sensei! Breeeeeeaaaathe. Innnnnn….. Ouuuuuuuuuttttt…. Very good. That’s right. Now thank whomever just brought you a chair. Oh, and that person who handed you a tissue and tossed a sympathetic smile to your wife.  Now, again, it’s going to be O-Kay!

You see a friend of mine from college—that’s a place smart people go after high school, maybe you’ve heard of it—will be in San Diego on business tomorrow night. Breeeeeeathe. That’s right, very good, Sensei. You’re doing great.

So Hubby and I will drive down to meet him for dinner. Yes, that’s right, dinner. Good, good. Shhh… shhhh… Remember, everything is going to be O-kay. I promise. We’ll still have Thursday night. It’s just a few days later. Then you’ll get to see us again. Alright? That’s not too bad, right? Just a few more days.

That’s a good boy. Just wipe your nose one more time. Nope. You missed it. Try again. Much better. Okay. Very good. We’ll see you Thursday, Sensei.

Ah, now, come on, Sensei! I told you! It’s going to be okay!

Could someone please get him another tissue?!

I was fully prepared to accept my crown as the queen of this insult war Sensei and I play. Then he responded.

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When worlds collide

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I’d been keeping my dalliance with Jiu-Jitsu a secret from my Taekwondo sensei for fear he might feel cheated on.

But, of course, he had to ask how I hurt my foot. So, of course, I had to come clean. And, of course, he didn’t believe me.

Which was insulting. Did he not think I could kick butt in multiple disciplines? But he covered with something about me being sarcastic and therefore hard to believe.

Sarcastic? Me?

“So, is this a new thing you’ve started?” he asked, once I’d finally convinced him.

“Uuuuumm… Well. Since the end of last year, actually.”

“Huh,” he said.

Then I employed the line Chatter Master suggested to me months ago: “Thank you for helping me discover a love for martial arts that made me want to learn even more.”

He nodded. [Well done, CM!] “Jiu-Jitsu is good self defense,” he admitted. “Any fight that lasts more than six or eight seconds is bound to end up on the ground. This is good for you to learn.”

“So you’re not upset with me?”

He shook his head. Then he said, “I had no idea you had a secret double life.”

I like the sound of that.

Next I said the thing my Jiu-Jitsu instructor suggested months ago: “Do you want to maybe come check out a class with me?”

Lo and behold:

SENSEI! In my Jiu-Jitsu dojo. Sensei was here!

I wish I had gotten a picture of my two instructors shaking hands. If anyone felt the earthquake, that’s what caused it.

Sensei just wanted to observe, so we sat on the side together. I can’t participate because of my injury, but it was good to be there to try to keep up with the training/not forget everything.

It was cool doing this with Sensei when I’m already advanced in Jiu-Jitsu so I could answer his questions and demonstrate, from my seated position, the rationale behind different types of grabs. It was interesting to hear his comments, too, notably: “He’s a good teacher,” which I shared with Instructor later.

On the whole, Sensei enjoyed himself, thinks he may take a trial class down the road, and said it seems like a good group of people I “paid in advance to talk to me so it looked like I had friends.”

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The part I didn’t tell you.

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The part I didn’t tell you.

This post could also be called: Seriously? Again with the foot?!

I’m afraid so, friends.

Somewhere around my fourth or fifth Jiu-Jitsu drill attempt, I crunched my left foot beneath me. (Yep, that one again.) I drove my knee to the ground, as planned, but somehow didn’t leave enough space for my foot to flip over so the shoelace side would be down. Instead, with my knee to the ground, my foot started to flatten bottom-side down.

Go ahead and see what that must be like. I’ll wait.

You see? No bueno.

I kept going anyway, but then put my hand down when I wasn’t supposed to, so, knowing we’d have to redo it for that mistake anyway, I called a halt.

I just chilled, breathed through the pain, and a couple minutes later, was back on my feet, pain-free.

Isn’t the human body amazing? I’m guessing adrenaline kicked in and carried the day. I didn’t feel any more pain until sometime later, back at home, when I was walking around a bunch, out of necessity, and was like, “Huh. My foot hurts.”

I finished helping make pretzels for the Taekwondo belt ceremony and continued with my life. (Yep, same day. It was a productive one!)

Thank goodness this Taekwondo class was only a belt ceremony and not a normal lesson in all its running, jumping, kicking glory. There was, however, a bit of running: up to receive the belt, certificate, and Grey Poupon mustard packet. (That makes zero sense if you haven’t first read this.) Then running backwards to my spot on the floor. Afterward was just a bunch of standing around, talking, eating, and joking about decades-old commercials.

Pardon me…

Though I again felt zero pain at the ceremony, once home, I was limping.

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Crazy with a blue belt

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The rack Hubby made me has a new belt.

I knew everything I needed to know for the Taekwondo blue belt test. It was my 6th time testing. You’d think I wouldn’t be nervous. Yet I was. As all get out. But I survived.

I wouldn’t be me, however, if I didn’t mess something up.

During the “back form,” green belt, I started morphing suddenly into the purple belt form. Fortunately, I caught it and fixed it, grateful that I was able to carry on without getting flustered or losing track of where I was. That felt semi-miraculous.

Beyond that, which Sensei may not have even witnessed, as I think his eyes were on my partner at the moment, I did a couple of minor dumb things. One was starting the second set of defense moves before being instructed to. My daughter whispered, “Not yet!” to stop me.

The other was the same mistake I made last time. When we finished, Sensei said, “Go back to your X,” the starting position. I started walking back to sit down because I was done.

As I approached, another daughter sitting there, eyes wide, said, “Your X!”

I swung around, smiling sheepishly at Sensei, as I returned to my X. He smiled back, like last time. Phew!

Eventually I’ll learn.

The next class was the belt ceremony, where we bring food to share after receiving our new belts and certificates. Similar to last time when we made churros, I thought it would be fun to make pretzels from scratch.

Eventually I’ll learn.

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If at first you don’t succeed, try again in a different language.

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You may recall my failed attempt to get a reaction from my Taekwondo “Sensei” when I convinced my compatriots to count our 25 jumping jacks in Korean.

So, you know, a normal person would leave it at that.

And then there’s me.

“New plan, girls,” I told my daughters. “Sensei spent the first nine years of his life in Germany. Next time, let’s count auf Deutsch!” (I know a little German from my semester in Austria.)

“Groan,” said Youngest Daughter.

“Eh, whatever,” said Middle Daughter.

“That would be hilarious,” said Oldest Daughter.

“Yes! She gets it! Let’s do it!” Apparently one vote was all I needed.

And this time? THIS time, Sensei…

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How NOT to make churros

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The next class after Taekwondo testing is the belt ceremony. As you can guess, we get our new belts. Then we eat stuff.

I had the “brilliant” idea of making churros tied in the shape of belts. Easy peasy. My daughters helped. It probably would’ve been better had I left them to it and stayed out of the kitchen.

The recipe said something like 1/4 cup of water only.

“That’s not enough water. It’s too brittle. They’re falling apart,” said I, who has little successful baking experience.

So I added more water. Then, since I had more water in the cup, I tossed in the rest, thinking, why not?

Welp, it was no longer brittle. It was an icky sticky mess.

And, OF COURSE, the piping bag broke. One daughter shoved batter through the little pipe piece by hand.

Piping bag tip, still operational without the bag.

But you know what else works? Cutting off the corner of a Ziplock freezer bag. We eventually got there.

Anyway, the consistency was off, our fingers were a mess, getting the batter to the tip was difficult because it preferred to stick to our hands and the inside of the bag–not where the hole was. So we had to shove it down with our dough-covered fingers. Then get it back off our fingers, shove again, repeat, etc.

We eventually got them out of the bag and tied into knots like martial arts belts. Amazingly, they still sometimes broke despite my excess addition of water.

Then again, it’s not amazing since this is me we’re talking about.

Maybe they got brittle because they’re not meant to be bent. Most of them stayed intact.
I found a smaller piping tip and used that also to speed up production, yet the entire process still took beyond two hours.
They came out looking like mangled intestines.

Sensei tried to extricate one part from its “knot,” so, clearly, the desired effect was lost on him. I had to explain that they were belts.

We left some the normal color for the person receiving her orange belt. And for the four new purple belts:

The purple, via food coloring, didn’t hold for all of them. Also, they look even MORE like intestines now.

However, they did taste good despite the appearance. And one little girl was delighted to pick up a brown one and discover it was purple on the inside.
Purple surprise.

So, not a total loss. I joked with Sensei that I accidentally left the one we burnt black for him at home.

He didn’t laugh. He did eat like three of them, though.

When he was packing up his gear, I tucked another churro into the package of cookies he brought. I thought it was a nice gesture. Hubby thought it looked like I was trying to get rid of them. What do you think?

Crazy with a purple belt

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My girls and I are now officially halfway to our black belts in Taekwondo.

I thought it would be fun to jazz up our testing and surprise Sensei by counting off our 25 warm up jumping jacks in Korean instead of English.

I can’t tell you how excited I was to see his face when we began: “Hana, dhul, set, net, daseot…” I imagined him, eyebrows raised, failing to fight down a smile.

And how did he respond?

With nary a flinch. When we finished, he said, “Okay, next drill…”

Zero acknowledgement whatsoever!

I was so disappointed.

My purple belt.

During testing of the form itself, two people test at once. Because it’s always been my style to mess something up, I turned right when I was supposed to turn left. Fortunately, I had the sense of mind to course correct and continue unfazed.

On the way out, I said to Sensei, “I trust you were looking at the other person when I messed up?”

“Yes. I didn’t see your 17 mistakes.”

So he CAN still be funny.

“Furthermore,” I continued, “how can we count in Korean and you not react at all?”

“I can react with my ears. I heard you. And was that to earn bonus points?”

“Well, if it helps.”

“Do you know the next number, or did you only learn what you needed?”

“Sumul yeoseot.”

He nodded. “Good.”

If anything, I earned points in that moment.

The YouTube video that helped us learn.

BTW, I was out of town for several days. You know how when you board a plane, there’s that patch of walkway from airport to airplane where there’s no AC? When I stood in that spot, waiting my turn to board, I thought, “Whew! What is this heat?!” So I checked my phone.

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Guess who’s limping again?

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Okay, even I admit this is getting ridiculous.

In Taekwondo, we were doing jump spin crescent kicks. Sounds cool, doesn’t? Looks cool, too.

When Sensei does it. When I do it, I look like I’m having a mid-air seizure.

But I land on my toes.

Not in a graceful ballerina way, but in a, “Crunch. There go my toes,” way.

One particular toe clearly took the brunt of it. The pinky toe is like, “Thanks, brah.” Purple toe: “No prob. You took the hit last time.” Pinky: “Chah right I did!” Purple: “Total bummer, dude.” Pinky: “For suuuuure.”

No idea why my toes are 90’s male stoners.

Aside from the above, I had planned to stop posting bruise pics, but I was oddly excited to discover not a bruise, but a bump!

An actual, genuine bump! I do remember my arm hurting during Jiu-Jitsu, but don’t know exactly what happened to it.

This did eventually turn into a delightfully colorful bruise.

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Rolling vs Sparring

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Quick martial arts lesson: Rolling is to Jiu-Jitsu as Sparring is to Taekwondo.

Quick blog lesson: Instructor is to Jiu-Jitsu as Sensei is to Taekwondo.

I’m now at the point of my Jiu-Jitsu journey where I get to attend Reflex and Development class. Your opponent gives indicators like step back, push away, post a leg up, etc., to let you know what move you need to do.

Often I ask, “What do I do?” because I’m not very good at this. The answer is usually Arm Bar or Elevator Sweep or Americana.

“Oh, right, yeah,” I’ll say then do the move.

At the start of 99% of the regular classes, we practice The Clinch. It’s a standing move that leads to getting the bad guy on the ground. We do this so often, I could sleep through this part of class.

Then in Reflex and Development, Instructor stood in front of me.

And stood there.

“What do I do?”

“Clinch me.”

Ugh! Face palm!

Visual interlude:

I often rate my workout based on how messy my hair is afterward. When taking this pic of my sloppy hair for you, I decided to have fun with the mirrors. You’re welcome.

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