Valentine’s Day brought three inches of snow and our Tang Soo Do testing day. The boys and I have studied this form of Korean martial arts for almost two years, and this test brought us to the next level of our karate studies, moving us from 4th Gup to 3rd Gup, green belt with two stripes to the long-awaited red belt. It was a proud day as well as another milestone I never would have anticipated before 2007.
We began Tang Soo Do as a “promotion” of sorts from my younger’s nine months OT and PT. Faced with the choice of twice-weekly swimming or martial arts, both sports increasing core strength and midline-crossing skills, my then five-year-old elected to avoid getting his face wet. He took “Tiny Tiger” karate classes at our local rec. center with other young ones for the first three months, and he really didn’t care for the sessions. After all, he was expected to speak loudly, acknowledge an adult he hadn’t known for the past three years, and generally do what the group was doing in front of a bunch of parents. It was hardly a smooth transition, and I’ll admit I found the “Yes, Sirs” and push-ups uncomfortably militaristic.
A few months in, our instructor invited us over the dojang for a class. My older joined in reluctantly and under a bit of duress, truth be told, but whispered, “I love this!” about halfway through that first session. Before we left for home, we had our uniforms and white belts in hand and were swelling with enthusiasm.
I’ll freely admit the sport truly has pushed the limits of my coordination, but by pushing at those limits, it’s moved them further out. I’ve never felt so strong, flexible, and able. I even almost know my right from left. We’ve worked together, supporting, encouraging, and correcting each other along the way. It’s not all been pretty. Perhaps 39 is a bit too old for mastering a jump spinning crescent kick, or perhaps I’m just not there yet. There are days the boys fight going, and there are days I’d rather not make the drive, but we end up there, twice a week, continuing our Tang Soo journey. Stay tuned!