So, today is the first day of my blog…and the first day of the rest of my life. Every day is.

Live in the moment. The Now. Learn from the past. Project for the future. But Live for Today.

That’s what I’ve been experiencing for the past 17 years of my life.

All through high school and college, you have teachers who are terrible…some are okay…some are pretty good…but a few, a rare few, are spectacular. The ones who say things that pretty much change your life, your point of view, your perspective on the world.

I had one in high school…my sophomore English teacher.

I didn’t have any in college…(Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, by the way)

But I found one after I graduated from college…in a very unexpected place…

It was at a martial art academy in Milpitas, California…of all places. The Jung SuWon Martial Art Academy.

The teacher: Tae Yun Kim.

When I met her, she was a Grandmaster. Her life story was pretty incredible. I was first attracted to the school because she is Korean (I am Korean), because she is a woman (I am a woman) and because she was able to train in the martial arts when she was 7 years old IN KOREA. I’ll say that again: IN KOREA. That is totally unheard of!

I started training in Taekwondo in my freshman year at college…as my P.E. class…and my mom nearly had a fit. She kept telling me that girls aren’t supposed to do that…that boys wouldn’t like me…as if I would ever let THAT stop me from doing something I had always wanted to do since I was 10 years old.

In spite of my mom’s displeasure, I trained in TKD for 4 years, and eventually became the President of the intramural Taekwondo Club at Dartmouth. I competed in college competitions over the 4 years.

But in my final year, Tae kwon do had become too competitive/aggressive and too child-like for some people…always talking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…some of the younger members just wanted to get into fights with other people…and I had watched a Master for 4 years ALWAYS promote anyone to the next belt rank if they brought their $45 check with them to the testing day…even if they hadn’t come to any classes during the entire term…

I became disillusioned with the whole color belt system…

When I moved out to California after I received my elementary school teaching certificate, I wanted to find a martial art that didn’t put emphasis on the belt rank…that was more of an “art” than a sport.

…. to be continued…


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One Response to “Hello!”

  1. pedicuresandblackeyes Says:

    I know exactly what you mean about the disillusionment of the ranking system. My school is similar. If you don’t know your required material or can’t break a board during a test, they put you on probation until you know your knowledge/ can do the skill you couldn’t earlier. No additional testing required, you just have to prove that you know it. There’s a couple of black belts who are about 14 years old, and although they are probably more confident than most other 14 year olds, and perhaps a *touch* more maturity, they still are not held to the same standards as an adult black belt is. How frustrating this is to me, who is just starting out. However, with all this in mind, I will never let up and I’ve set my own standards that I will not break. If I ever slack off and don’t test well but my instructor gives me the belt anyway, I will refuse it, and test the next time. Hopefully though, I will never have to face that situation.

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