Home > Health & Exercise > Taekwondo (or taekwondon’t – there is no ‘try’)

Taekwondo (or taekwondon’t – there is no ‘try’)

So I’ve now completed my first week – three lessons – of taekwondo … and my hamstrings hurt. The Wednesday and Friday classes followed pretty much the same pattern: the young male sabeomnim did warm-up exercises for the first part of the class – stretches, running etc. I took part with the rest of the students – the oldest of which must be little more than half my age. Then in the latter part of the class, the female sabeomnim took me through more basic moves.

I’ve started doing punches, kicks and blocks – each of which brings its own problems, although I suppose the punches are the easiest. The problem with the kicks is my lack of flexibility, or limberness, or whatever. I can’t really lift my leg very high and fully extend it. The blocks are tricky to get the hang of, too: each requires you to move each fist and rotate it silmultaneously – and shout out ‘Ah!’ (this is called 기합 – gihap). It’s quite a challenge of co-ordination. For me, anyway.

On Wednesday I had to undergo a bit of torture, as well. My sabeomnim had me sit against the wall and spread my legs; then she sat in front of me and used her legs to push mine further apart and, with her hands, pulled me forward. I don’t think I’ve ever been subjected to pain like that before. The following Friday, as part of the warm-up regimen, the other sabeomnim had everybody get into a kind of spreadeagled frog position – hips and knees at right-angles, inner thighs and faces to the floor. Then he went around standing on people’s lower backs. Well – some people’s, anyway; others he just pushed down.

The near-euphoria from the first class has worn off now, but I’m certainly still enjoying it. As I said, my thigh tendons aren’t happy about all this exercise, and during the week I had a sore foot, probably from nothing more than running and jumping. I think I need to practice the various moves a lot more, but at the same time I need to give my legs time to recover. And memorise the terminology.

It’s all a bit intimidating I suppose, but I’m sure that the first week is too early to really judge how difficult it’ll be in the future. I don’t feel that overwhelmed, but maybe I’m being a little complacent. Hopefully, there’ll be a good few months of training ahead of me to fret about – or not, as the case may be.

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Categories: Health & Exercise
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