Hana, Dul, Set, Net...
Let me start by saying this is a crash cultural course if there ever was one! I have no background in martial arts of any form. No one in my family participated in them, I never attended any events surrounding them, and my understanding of martial arts was predominantly formed by movies such as The Karate Kid (think 1984 version with chopstick fly nabbing).
Fast forward a couple decades and now I have children that want an after school activity that both challenges and fascinates. Enter, Tae Kwon Do.
After a thorough search of the internet and local do-jangs we decided to look into a Kukkiwon approved studio that works with all ages. Upon visiting with Master M. we decided to preview the first couple classes before signing up full-time.
We were impressed and overwhelmed, to say the least. In the first class it became apparent that the older more experienced students are responsible for the younger students. My 7yo DS, Trout, jumped into the first class excited to try this new experience. In about 2 seconds he realized he had no idea what he was doing, didn't understand why this older boy was redirecting him, and figured it might be best to watch from the sidelines where his 3 siblings were already gawking at all that was going on.
The class starts with a simple stretching routine. As the students follow the masters instructions they are sure to respond with "Yes, Ma'am" and the proper Korean counting. They work through a series of simple exercises before moving to more difficult techniques that are to be learned or worked on by all participating. The more advanced "belts" (students that have tested to prove their advanced understanding) work to help the newer students, or lower "belts". Everyone in uniform is expected to participate. At this particular do-jang respect of authority is strongly emphasized as the students must respond properly and do as expected or they are punished with further exercise (most often push-ups).It's great! Currently all 4 of my kids participate, ages 8, 7, 5, & 3, and they love it! I love the training they are receiving on respect, discipline, exercise, routine, and defense. It is an excellent reinforcement of so many things we hope to instill in our children at home, but how fun and cool is it to learn while wearing white uniforms!
Stick around and I'll share more about all this in future posts as I am learning more all the time.