Taekwondo from the Perspective
of a Late Starter
of a Late Starter
I was asked to contribute an article for this blog, and I thought, what could someone brand new to this martial art have to say about Taekwondo? Not only am I a white belt, I'm a late starter. It's been a couple decades since I did any organized sports and several years since I did any consistent exercise program. Initially I was looking for something to help me with balance and discipline. However, Taekwondo has given me so much more.
For my first class, I happened to be the only student that night, and the master kindly showed me some of the basics, so I could get some idea of this martial art. After one class, I decided to come back, and I was met with a group of black belts. Ah, so overwhelming! But I survived that class. Then I went back for a third, and fourth and fifth class, every time extremely nervous, but excited. It was hard, and I realized quickly that if I didn't exercise and practice in between classes, I would have a hard time surviving the class. So I began to practice at home.
Then an amazing opportunity came up. I had decided to go to Korea for a two week holiday, and I mentioned this to the master. He was glad for me and asked if I'd like to meet his grand master.
I agreed. Then my teacher suggested that I actually train with his grandmaster! How could I, a lowly white belt of just 6 weeks, even consider it?! But I decided to do it, and for a few days while I was in Seoul, a grandmaster patiently taught me some basic footwork, breaking down the steps so that I was able to digest them and put them into practice.
At that point I decided that Taekwondo wasn't going to be just
a passing hobby, but something I truly wanted to pursue. I began talking about Taekwondo to everyone I knew. I just couldn't stop talking about this fantastic experience, so much so that one of my friends decided to come with me, and now she, too, is attending Taekwondo classes and loves it. She in turn has brought another friend and we are the three white belts in our group.
Taekwondo for me is not just a physical, but also a mental and at times an emotional exercise. Physically there is the aspect of strength, speed and balance, all things I currently lack, but am slowly improving in. Mentally as a beginner I find I am thinking through every kick, where to put my foot, how to angle my hips, and so on. I know these things will someday (hopefully!) become second nature. Later will come the strategic thinking involved when sparring, as I learned from watching my classmates compete. Emotionally there is frustration and impatience when I am unable to do the kicks and punches correctly, but perseverance is part of what Taekwondo is all about.
Taekwondo has so many benefits. It has given me better health and a fresh take on life. I now have new goals I never expected to have, like passing my first belt test, and someday maybe even earning
a black belt. Additionally, I've met wonderful people who share
a passion for this martial art and who so graciously share their knowledge with us white belts. This martial art is for any age and starting point, and I am proof of that. I hope more people consider taking up Taekwondo so they too can discover the joy and benefits of this martial art. As for me, as long as circumstances allow, I will go as far as I can in this discipline. I'm so glad that I started training in Taekwondo, and I look forward to the journey that is to come.