Tuesday, May 12, 2009


A little about myself first.

I became interested in Korean things when I was twelve. I joined a Taekwondo school and trained for the next thirteen years. My first experience in Korea was at a Taekwondo tournament in Jincheon county, in Choong Choong Do. I spent a week there and won second place in a plastic board breaking competition. After that I spent about a month in Seoul training at a high school for kids who wanted to become pro Taekwondo competitors. There I met a guy who was teaching English at the school, and that got me interested in Teaching English here.

I went home, graduated from college, waited a year, and then enrolled in a free Tesol course at a University in Jinju. I wanted to continue Taekwondo, but it was rather difficult. The Tesol course offered an "experience Korea" program where the members of the Tesol course could take other subjects at the university. One of the programs was a special Taekwondo program for the members of the Tesol course. I trained with them for a while but I faced a bit of a moral dilemma. I both wanted more and less Taekwondo. By that time, I had trained Taekwondo for well over ten years and was kind of sick of it, but I also thought that I should try an train with top players to improve my skills. I wasn't training with top players in the Tesol course, these were just people who were trying it out.

The inertia lead me to try something different, Kumdo (Kendo). Kumdo turned out to be a good challenge for me. I had to humble myself. I had never done anything like it before and was delighted at the frustration.

The three month Tesol course turned into a fifteen month part time job, with the illusion that I was making good money. Eventually, it ended, and I returned home to pick up Taekwondo at my old school for a few months. There, I tested for my fourth degree black belt officially making me a master in rank. It turned out that working in box factory and teaching Taekwondo in the evenings was no way to earn a living and so I took a full time job teaching at a middle school in Jinju.

While in America I also lightly continued some Kendo training. I'm only mentioning this because I learned a lot of things in those few months and had a great time with the Battle Creek Kendo Club. That is a great organization I highly recommend that place.

Anyway, back at the middle school, my first day there was a bit disappointing. Public school contracts don't say anything about teaching night classes, so I was disappointed to learn that the school I worked for reallllllly wanted me to teach a night class twice a week. I did the work and was paid for it, but I had to sacrifice two nights a week from six thirty until nine thirty to teach classes that the students didn't really pay attention to. The bus ride from my house to the school takes about twenty minutes, so on those days when I had those extra classes, I showed up at school at Eight in the morning and left at nine at night.

Interest in Taekwondo training fell by the wayside, and so did Kumdo. Luckily, a guy at my school was on the Korean national Kumdo team. He learned that I did Kumdo, and he talked to my old Kumdo master. Around December of that year I got a text message from the old Kumdo master asking me to go back to his school. So I did.

I have been doing that seventeen months now. Unfortunately I have been gaining weight also. I have been finding fat in new places all over my body for a while. Luckily, I ran into the guy who was in charge of the Taekwondo program at the University. Last week I joined his school. One draw back of the school is that all of the students are either middle schoolars or elementary schoolars. I don't think that I will loose any weight from just exercise so I am going to try a diet.

I ordered a book called "the instinct diet." I have never tried a diet before, so I am some what excited, I'm also somewhat embarrassed that I have let myself go to this point. Anyway I'm happy to be doing Taekwondo again. My skill is still okay, but seeing the reflection of myself and the way the otherwise baggy uniform is now somewhat form fitting is certainly a delicious piece of humble pie.

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