Taekwondo Day 1

Posted: August 4, 2015 in Diet & Exercise

Yesterday was my first day at Taekwondo.  All day I was nervous because that experience with the Krav Maga was still haunting me. So, normally when you’re doing any sort of martial arts where kids are involved, there are seats so that the parents can stay and watch…and my fear was that I was going to get there, get tired much sooner than the kids, and then have to dip out with the parents judging me for being overweight.

Anyways, I get to the Dojo, and the owner asks me if I would like the try the class before I pay the $130 and commit myself for the 2-month period. I had to think for a minute, but ultimately, I decided to pay him first and commit myself before starting the class. The reason I did this is because I have a problem with excuses. Had  not paid right then, I know I would have done the class, then figured that it was too expensive or that, because my hours were picking up I would not be able to dedicate myself to it…the usual stuff. I knew I would want to escape having to dedicate 45 minutes 2x a week to exercise…so I paid. I paid the money and, knowing that it was g/f who paid for this, I pretty much feel obligated to go. It’s a weird system I have going but hey…it worked, right?

Anyways, they did not have a uniform for me right away like they had promised. I had decided to wear just a small tanktop and workout shorts because I figured I would be slipping a uniform on over it. But no…
sure enough, I got on the floor, bowed to the flag, and before class began I was given a fast run-down of how things worked. As an adult, the woman-master was understanding that there would be things I could not do. She said that most adults coming in here were either out-of-shape (guilty of that one) or they had some limitation due to injury. She said that if there was absolutely something  could not do, then I could excuse myself from the mat and do something else.

I told her that I had an issue with running. She said that I could easily go off the mat and just walk up and down. This was nice because they knew not to push people to the point where they might not be able to do the class. I told her I knew my limits, and while there are other things I would not be able to do (such as the splits and some stretches) I would modify them do I could at least get close.

The class started and already I felt out of place. Here you have this 200-pound woman in a white wife-beater, some black basketball shorts, covered in tattoos with her lip pierced. There were only 4 other kids in the class, and they were indeed children ranging from 10 to 6. I could hear the parents whispering behind me, talking about why I was in that class, and talking about the way that I looked. They also judged me for not running like their kids were doing, and, because I did not have a uniform, I was very much out of place.

I won’t really go into specifics of the class…most of it was work on ‘forms’ for testing on higher belt degrees…but what I will say is that the class was much more fast-paced than any other class I have ever been to. Nothing was really explained. Knowing that I was new, no one bothered showing me the correct way of doing things, leaving me to guess. I had taken Taekwondo before, but, at the same time, there were things I did not know. I feel like the Master focused more heavily on those with the higher belts (especially the blackbelt which I assumed was his son), and when I brought this issue up to the female Master, she assured me that, things would be slower-paced in the future, but that I was coming in during a testing-period for higher belt degrees.  She also mentioned that at any time I could come in early to get help from one of their many blackbelts…or I could pay for a private lesson if I fall behind -_-

Roundhouse kicks…roundhouse kicks are a nightmare for me for multiple reasons. My body is too tense when  try them, my toes curl only for these kicks out of reflex and I don’t know why. Snap kicks—I’m awesome at them. Swoop kicks? No problem. High kicks? watch out because here comes the power!!! But roundhouse kicks…kill me. So, we are in a line doing roundhouse kicks, and again, nothing has been shown to me. I’m watching the kids, trying to figure out how to do this the best way, and I keep hitting the bag with my toes rather than with the top of my foot like I should. Even when they know that I am messing up, they don’t really stop to show me how it’s done, they just tell me to make slight adjustments and hope I do better when my turn comes up again.

What happens? I end up breaking my toe…
I knew it was broken the minute I hit my toe, head the snap, and suddenly my toe felt like it was the size of a big rock. I could hear it crunching every time I took a step. But, I never stopped. I kept kicking…never cried, didn’t say a word. I have broken my toe before, no big deal really…but then came the ‘race’. I guess they occasionally do a timed race for this class where it is ten snap kicks (alternating right to left) on the pads followed by a run to a bag where you have to do 10 roundhouse kicks (also alternating right to left), followed then by a run to another bag where you do 10 kicks with your right leg and then 10 kicks with your left leg.

First we did a practice run…and I took my time just to get a feel for everything.
Best time of that week had been 29 seconds so far and that had been done by a blackbelt. Anyways, I decided to be last in line as to not hold up the others who were more experienced. So, the 10-year-old blackbelt goes and he gets 37 seconds. Then an orange belt goes and she ends up with 40 seconds. Her younger sister gets 38 seconds, followed by a little white belt (the youngest in our group)…and for the first time that evening he actually focuses and gets 33 seconds. Now comes my turns and I’m super nervous because these kids are younger and have all the energy in the world where I do not…
My time in total was 31 seconds. On the first round, I got the BEST time in the class, besting the blackbelt. He went again and ended up getting 29 seconds. I opted out of doing it a second time because, by then my toe was killing me. I was actually pretty proud of myself, and the Master seemed impressed by my time. I don’t know whether it was because I was older, inexperienced, or because I’m heavier than all the other people there…but he was impressed nonetheless…and that made me feel good.

However…my old anxiety is coming back with being verbal in class. They want you to count aloud and scream: “Aiyaaa!” when you do your punches and kicks. Most of my being self-conscious was because I was the only adult there. I couldn’t stand the thought of kids laughing at me, and, because the Master runs through things so quickly, I was often lost and stuck just standing there because I did not know what to do. I’m not a fast-learner with these types of things, and he lets his more experienced students do things on their own because they have memorized things far beyond that of my own level.

I feel it was a bit too impersonal, but, I will give it two-months and see where that gets me.

I also feel like some independent study will be in order too. I know that YouTube has video on techniques, and I think that practicing the forms on my own time could not hurt any.  I go back tomorrow for my second class…hopefully they have a uniform for me so that I don’t feel so out of place and/or self-conscious. But we shall see.

I’m keeping an open mind about this…

P.S= I also have one of the most powerful kicks in the class. I would say it’s because I’m older…but because I played softball and did other suck things, all my power is in my legs. t was funny seeing the bag almost topple over. XD

  1. butchjax says:

    I’m rather disappointed in their lack of helping you. It was dangerous. When we had new people, at any dojo I attended, they had a senior student work one on one with them. It didn’t matter what else was going on. Please talk to them. Just saying it’s a testing time is bullshit. They should have told you that from the beginning as well, not after the fact.

    Did you see a doctor about the toe? You would think it’s not a big deal, but if it’s displaced they have to fix it or you can have problems with it the rest of your life, which would suck. All it takes is an xray and to stay in a boot for about 6 weeks, but then you’ll be good as new.

    • element02 says:

      I don’t really have the insurance right now…and I know what you mean. Back when I did martial arts as a kid, there were 2 instructors and they took it slow for the new people. I agree that they don’t have an excuse but all I can do is go tomorrow and see if it goes better for the adult class. If not then yeah I’m going to have to tell them that what they are doing is not very safe. I taped my toe since it is the same one I broke before…all I can do for now since I don’t have money.

      • butchjax says:

        At the very least they need to know you broke your toe. That should completely change what you practice. No pivoting on that foot. No kicking with contact with that foot. It’s a good time to practice the basic arm techniques instead of kicking. Or you can ask them to reschedule your classes and let it heal (the best way to go). You only took one class, they can start you back up in 6 weeks so you don’t aggravate this more and potentially screw up your foot and really the whole body forever. 😉 Your choice. I know it sucks, but long term vs short term gain is important to think about. You could work on the youtube videos in the meantime.

      • element02 says:

        They know that it is broken. The guy checked it and basically confirmed what I already knew. I paid for the 2-months so I can talk to them about a reschedule but I don’t think they will do that. Monday classes are forms and then I think Wednesday is all punches and blocks. They alternate between the two. I will ask again for more one-on-one…because, having come in with no knowledge it would be nice to have someone actually walk me through proper practice rather than me having to mimic everything.

      • butchjax says:

        Well, it’s something they really should do since you can’t properly train. Just go in without expectations and see what happens. 🙂

        Either way, you faced your initial fear by going. And you showed commitment by paying up front. I’m proud of you for that.

      • element02 says:

        Well thank you. I plan to make the most of it. It wasn’t a disaster like the Krav Maga. So that was a relief. Mixed with the weight lifting I have been doing I’m hoping to start seeing some results 🙂

      • butchjax says:

        I suggest joining Nerd Fitness and finding a group there. They can give you good support and ideas of things to play with for free. 🙂

      • element02 says:

        I still have the booklets you have me from them 🙂

      • butchjax says:

        I meant the community which is incredibly large and various. They can give you the support that this place isn’t. Plus, it’s cool to pick a class and attributes. 🙂

      • element02 says:

        I will have to check that out. Thanks 🙂

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