Archive: Taekwondo, 1991-style

Source: Gisoku no Jutsu
Original post date: 30 May, 2007

I can’t remember if I’ve talked about it much before, but my first formal introduction to martial arts training came when I was in Year 4, when I was about… 8 I think. Either that or it was Year 5 and I was 9. Regardless, I was in primary school, and I was still in the throes of “Angry Sean-o”. Most people I talk to now can’t believe that I was a little punk when I was a kid. From the age of about 5 or 6 until about 11, I was a great big pain in the arse. I used to answer back to the teachers, would regularly have to see the principal, would get constantly grounded, used to pick angry fights with my older brother Miguel, I started up a ‘fight club’ at school when I was 9 (not that (a) Fight Club was anywhere near to being created in all its uberness, or (b) a primary schoolyard organised scrap constitutes a ‘fight club’ :P) and was generally an arsehole.

Anywho, I had this passion for martial arts, and my Dad thought that it would be a good idea to take himself, Miguel and I to Taekwondo classes by the time we returned from a few years in Darwin and I was hopefully old enough to tell the difference when to use the martial art, and when not to. To be honest I wasn’t sure what the outcome was – I was still a pain during the time I did Taekwondo (which was for maybe a year, possibly more?), but to my credit I don’t think I actually used it to randomly injure too many kids… I know I would have used it on Miguel because we used to fight pretty full-on as kids, but outside of that… I don’t know. I remember picking a fight in class when the teacher was out getting something… I’m not sure why, I was probably bragging about the fact I did Taekwondo knowing me 😛 This  proved to possibly be a good thing however…

You see, the kid I picked a fight with used his hands, and I learnt the hard way that in order to kick at someone, you need some room… and being wedged between classroom desks and chairs is hardly fertile ground for delivering a clumsy kick at someone. So, in short, I lost the scrap, and probably looked pretty goofy as well 😉 I’ve never forgotten the lesson though – be wary of your surroundings.

But back to Taekwondo. I only managed to scrape to my yellow belt, which in my mind’s eye took forever. I daresay the reason I stopped going was because I had a habit in those days of being pretty fickle with stuff – I did swimming for a few years and was getting really good, then got bored of it and stopped. Did Taekwondo for a while, then stopped. Got really into basketball (basketball was very in circa 1992-1994, as were parachute pants and Megadrive; things change :P) for a few years, then stopped when I got to high school. In fact, I pretty much stopped everything when I got to high school – changed my focus to studying and by then I’d gotten out all of the angriness… or learnt to suppress it 😉 That, also, is the subject of another blog.

So, how did I go with TKD? Not too sure to be honest. I mean, I see the kids at karate, and while you have to admire their effort, they’re not exactly excuding perfect form. I’d be kinda weirded out if they did; in that sense, watching little kids do martial arts isn’t entirely unlike watching junior, like primary school soccer or footy – the kids get out there, and kick the ball somewhere and run after it. It’s very cute, but we’re talking elite sportsmen for the most part. Sure, it probably solidifies concepts or foundations for later on, but I’m getting distracted again… 😛

Anyway, I remember doing all the moves and stuff, the kicks, punches and so forth. It was actually a good thing I reckon in the long run, even if I only did it for a short period of time. I felt it made starting karate a little easier since I remembered some of the basics – chamber your punch, long stances, first kata, raise your knee for your kicks – and the lesson format was kinda familiar, too. And all training halls with the wooden floors and kinda aged stone walls (aka your average community gym/hall) have that same smell/feeling when you go inside.

It’s so long ago that I can’t remember in much detail how I coped with learning different things, how I overcame stuff, how my technique evolved… if it did at all 😉 But I knew from experience that when it came time to learn a martial art that I couldn’t do Taekwondo – too much focus on leg work and not enough on upper body techniques. I know this is a generalisation (and conversley, TKD practitioners criticise karate for the quality of their kicks; in fact, most martial arts have participants who have a habit of criticising different styles or different arts altogether [again, food for thought and the subject of further blogs!]), but I believe that I’ve made the right choice in choosing to go down the path of karate.

I waffle on too much 😛 Quick summary – I did Taekwondo as a kid, it was fun, but I was fickle and gave it up 😛 My Dad and brother kept going a little longer and got to their green belt (it went white >> yellow >> green), but they stopped after Miguel got hit by a car and broke his leg, which is pretty understandable.

Well, next time I report I daresay will be a post-training round-up. Oh, and for those interested I’ve added a few more photos and stuff to my pics; nothing training-related, just random stuff 🙂 Enjoy!

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