Half way there - reflections

Discussion in 'Tae Kwon Do' started by bluekey88, May 17, 2005.

  1. bluekey88

    bluekey88 whimsical in the brainpan

    Almost a year ago, I got involved in TKD through my son. 10-11 months ago I started training myself in earnest. 20 minutes ago, I finished testing for my blue belt (5th gup) that puts me about half way to Shodan. :D Through a combination of exhaustion, endorphins, and a Wawa ham and cheddar wrap I'm feeling a bit reflective and thought I share my thoughts.

    Fisrt off, I have to say that this was the hardest test I've done...in any art, period. Partly, it was becuase I was sick (running a slight fever, sinus congestion, general yickiness) and partly becuase I wasn;t expecting to test. Tests for the school occurred Saturday, but I was unable to test becuase it was my wife's turn to tesyt...we have foster kids with special needs, one of us has to be watching them. I figured I'd get ot private test in a couple of weeks. Went to an afternoon class (usually an easier class from a physical skills standpouint) and the instrucytor decided to get my test out of the way.

    The test is a very physicla one with lots of techniques that require dive tumbling, lots of jumping and kicking drills, medium contatct sparring, etc. I gasped for breath the whole time :cry: , but I made it :D .

    It's funny, aside from the physical benefits (increased flexibility, endurance...which could still use some improvement :rolleyes: ...better speed and strength), TKD has helped me in so many other ways. I get to have funw ith and train with both of my children. That's about the coolest thing ever. Just this weekend, my 5 year old daughter got her yellow belt...she worked so hard. My son has turned into a sparring machine on the comp team. He's come so far and it's a source of pride for me to see his confidence turned around...TKD has become adjunct therapy fo rhim to increase attention and focus, and it's really helped!

    TKD has helped me in some othe surprising ways. I'm putting a new roof on my house....by myself. It's amazing how those balance drills I;ve been doing have helped with this. Also, the flexibility has made it easier for me to scamper up and down a steep pitched roof in ways that I never oculd have done a year ago. W00T!

    Of course, there've been struggles. Fighting gout attacks that impeded training. Trying to juggle work, family, training, etc. and keep my sanity. Trying not to take attacks on TKD and WTF TKD personally....going into TKD I had no idea about the different orgs or their history. Not that I'm surprised by the politics...TKD is not alone in the MA's as being rife with political strife, however, some days it's hard to let the criticisms (deserved or not) roll off your back. Thankfully, I'm happy with what I'm training and what I'm getting out of that training.

    Anyway, sorry to ramble on, I just feel realyl good right now. Wanted to share. :D I look forward to more challenging tests and good times ahead.

  2. Thomas

    Thomas Combat Hapkido/Taekwondo

    Great post! :)

    On the same topic, it's nice to see someone who is enjoying the ride with a goal in mind. I hope that as you progress, you keep setting the goal farther and farther.

    For me, I try to find things to work on above and beyond improving as an instructor or trying to maintain my forms and skills. For me, I get that through working other things like the cane and by reading books/watching videos of similar, different, or vastly different arts... to see how the concepts of my own art are indeed the same concepts as other arts and through that incorporation of new variations can occur.

    Also, like you said, it's nice to see how training in your chosen art can have a beneficial effect on your family and happiness in general. I guess it doesn't always have to be just about fighting, does it? :D
  3. bluekey88

    bluekey88 whimsical in the brainpan

    Thanks for the kind words Thomas. Yeah, I'm enjoying the ride...that's really what it's all about. Honestly, I just want to get that Black belt...I don't think it'll mean I'm a super ninja fighting machine...I've just always wanted toa cheive that goal and have been prevented from doing so time and again in the past.

    As it happens, I'm just a big MA nerd. I'm hoping to take some vacation time this summer and sample some of the other schools in my local area...I'm near philly, but not close enough to commute. I;d like to try a Hapkido school, Silat or Kali school, maybe BJJ...just abuse whatever free lessons I can get my hands on. An MA vacation :)

    In the meantime, just gonna keep working hard...training is the best time of day...my worries and concerns drop away and for an hour or so I find myself truly "in the moment." It's nice.

  4. rtkd-badger

    rtkd-badger Fundimentaly Manipulated

    Congratulations on your new grade and I too am glad to see someone enjoying TKD as much as I am. Maybe when you get that black belt you will decide to go further. ;)
    All the best to you and your family and keep up the good work.
  5. Lithanwif

    Lithanwif Human Punchbag

    Question......how often do you guys grade?

    according to the above you are averaging 2 months between gradings. We have a minimum of 3, 6 when you hit green.
    And thats me training 6 times a week.

    And I am hopefully just about to sit my red stripe next month, 2.5 years after starting TKD.
  6. Lithanwif

    Lithanwif Human Punchbag

    Hang on, you say blue belt, thats 4th gup, or is it different in your style? If not, that makes it even more often.

    dang it, why cant we just standardise all this and make it nice and simple
  7. bluekey88

    bluekey88 whimsical in the brainpan

    We hold gradings every month (It's a large school). However, the minimu, time between tests is 2 months...most folks take 3 or 4 months. However, hard work and years of training in other arts have given me a slight edge as far as how fast I pick up and learn material. As for belt colors, we go no belt, white, yellow, orange, green, blue, brown, purple, red, cho dan bo (black w/ red stripe) then black.

    Anyway, I plan on sticking with TKD for as long as I can...assuming my body holds out ...in my mind I feel like I'm 15, but I have moments where the mind is willing but my body is saying "you want me to do what?" :D

  8. Lithanwif

    Lithanwif Human Punchbag

    Yeah, I studied other arts before too, and of course every previous injury comes back to haunt you at some point.

    and despite my other experience I still had to wait the requisite three months. blast!

    what style is it you practice? Ive never seen a belt system like that before in TKD, although I have to admit my experience in TKD is limited to what I have trained in, for the last 20 years before starting I was wearing the good old karate blinkers.

    Argh, just realised I have 24 years experience in MA. Had I not kept changing styles I coulda been a GM by now. :bang:
  9. bluekey88

    bluekey88 whimsical in the brainpan

    It's a wtf affiliated school. It teaches TKD with Shotokan and Aikido influences. Specifically, Shotokan style is focused on between 1st and 2nd dan and Aikido techniques are looked at from 2nd to 3rd Dan. TKD is stressed thorughout the enitre curriculum. As you advance in the ranks, the training becomes more intense and more "pressure testing" comes into play. We do some grappling as well. NIce balance between self-defense, sparring, and poomse. A little something for everyone. Although we don't do much in the way of weapons. Of course, you get from it what you put into it. It's not a perfect system, but it's pretty nice...the instructors are great and I love the atmosphere. I especially like how Master Jim treats my kids...he really inspires them and they'll do anything to get to class. Makes a papa proud :D

    Last edited: May 18, 2005
  10. rtkd-badger

    rtkd-badger Fundimentaly Manipulated

    I took private lessons from a TKD instructor when I was 12. I was never officially graded under this instructor and was introduced to new techniques as he saw fit. Unfortunatly that had to come to an end and I gave up TKD.
    21 years later when I started again, I found that I remembered everything I was taught years ago and sort of stood out like a big toe on my first grading day :D
    I went from 10th to 7th Gup in one grading.
  11. Lithanwif

    Lithanwif Human Punchbag

    Kinda figured there was a karate affiliation there, brown tends to be a colour mainly used in karate. How does the mix of strong wide techniques in Shotokan marry up to the swift/short TKD ones.

    I'd definately be interested in the Aikido side of it too, nice to do some locks and throws on top of the spinning kicks.

    just realised my first paragraph looks iffy...it isn't, just genuine interest. My original style of karate used short/sharp techniques and stances, and I was still way longer and wider than my original TKD class. Although strangely not my present TKD class, I put the difference between the two down to our master, Master Oldham originally trained under Master Rhee Ki Ha who drew many of his influences from Shotokan from what I hear. Which is why I think this organisation stresses more power over speed.

    That and all of the subtle differences drove me nuts. slight difference's in hand techniques, foot positions during patterns, the fact it had taken me months to remove my 'long' karate stances, only to bring them back from the dusty old loft. But then I also think the differences are good for organisations.

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