TKD = taekwondo

We interrupt our regular programming of blood, guts and babies to talk about taekwondo, a traditional Korean martial arts form.

Tae = kick/strike with the foot.
The foot as a blade, as hammer, as hook, the blow that knocks someone out, a broom sweeping the enemy down, pushing an intruder to the ground.

Kwon = punch/strike with the hands.
The hands, fist or palm, can be knives, blocks for poles, a punch to the solar plexus, bladed support when one rolls or falls, or a friendly hand to help a competitor back up from the mat.

Do = the art, the way of life.
Like any relationship, one's journey in martial arts has ups and downs. There's a honeymoon period, initial excitement--passion or obsession, even. That may not last, but commitment does. There are milestones but also little bumps, minor or major injuries. Things get in the way of training, but some amazing people also support one along the way. Sometimes one learns to find fun in dressing in full storm-trooper sparring gear on a 104-degree day, then flying backwards and landing on one's behind after catching a full frontal back kick. That, or get smarter and dodge those kicks. Burning quads are nice, too. Hairline fracture? Nothing like it.

Over ten years after doing taekwondo at Penn State, I went to my first taekwondo class in Merced. My unweaned, 18-month-old daughter cried the entire time I was gone. I almost didn't go back (to the dojang), but it's a good thing I did because taekwondo was the only thing in my life at the time that I was doing just for me. Now, my daughter's in taekwondo, too. Sometimes I teach her class. Sometimes we're in the same class.

When I was younger, someone threatened me, "You can't get away from me because I'm a black belt." Well, can I escape safely now that I'm one, too?


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