Thursday, October 15, 2009

I have resumed taekwondo training after six years of enforced abstinence. Of course, it was not complete deprivation from martial arts through those years. Until a couple of years ago, I had been dabbling in aikido, karate and pseudo-boxing (the fitness kind with no killing intent) to keep myself busy.

On re-entry a month ago, I was pleasantly surprised to find that despite a nasty decline in speed and stamina, I still had a decent grasp of the fundamental skills. In other words, I can still kick, slowly.

On hearing of an upcoming test in November, I asked the instructor if I would be able to make it. “Train for it first, then see if you’re ready later.” Sounds good. I got my black belt in late 2000, 2.5 years after starting as a white belt. My nine-year interval between 1st dan and 2nd dan tests is nine times the wait for a typical practitioner.

For the breaking part of the test, I’m leaning towards using the chopping kick for one of the techniques. Inherently less powerful than a sidekick1, it will be a suboptimal choice if not for the fact that it’s quite satisfying.

1. A sidekick is potentially powerful because it is a very linear kick, with the kicker’s body, the kicking direction, and the target all arranged in a straight line. The reaction force of the kick thrusts horizontally against the kicker’s body, therefore allowing the kicker to use his/her body mass to great advantage.