Taekwondo in life: Looking for stories for a study

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Research, Dec 17, 2017.

  1. Research

    Research White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hi! I’m a researcher from Finland, currently working on a small study related to Taekwondo with a colleague.
    This seemed like a good place to find some answers, please let us know if you think we are in the wrong place.

    So: we are looking for people to share their stories in order to learn how Taekwondo is integrated in their lives. The below questions are guidelines, but need not be strictly followed. You can skip any question and 100% improvise with your answer if you feel like it.
    1. How did you end up to having Taekwondo as part of your life?
    2. Tell about your current relationship with Taekwondo; for instance, how much do you spend time with it and in what ways?
    3. What other Taekwondo-related activities you do?
    4. How has your relationship with Taekwondo changed over the years?
    5. What's the role of the community and physical spaces in Taekwondo for you?
    6. How long do you think Taekwondo will be a significant part of your life?
    You can post your reply here or PM if you don't wish to share it openly. All answers are treated anonymously. You can also use this thread to discuss the above questions.

    We are looking to publish the study next year in peer-reviewed conference proceedings. If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer. A big thanks in advance!

     
  2. TrueJim

    TrueJim 3rd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Messages:
    988
    Likes Received:
    358
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Virginia
    • How did you end up to having Taekwondo as part of your life?
    My 5 year old son wanted to practice taekwondo. He asked me to do it with him (because he was a little intimidated by it on his first day). I agreed and quickly realized that I missed doing taekwondo (I had practiced taekwondo in college), so I stuck with it. Four years later he quit, but I kept with it.
    • Tell about your current relationship with Taekwondo; for instance, how much do you spend time with it and in what ways?
    As a guy who sits at a desk all day doing IT, taekwondo consumes far too much of my evenings and weekends.
    1. I wanted some good diagrams for my son to study to learn poomsae (he's a visual learner) and there are none that I liked, so I had to create my Poomsae Design software to generate 3D diagrams (see below) that he could study. (I had to become quite proficient with the OpenSCAD software to do this.)
    2. Wanting to share the diagrams, I posted them to the nascent taekwondo wiki. Then realizing that a good wiki would be helpful to the taekwondo community, I started adding other content. The wiki now gets nearly a million page-views per year. Needing a moderator, the taekwondo subreddit asked me to be their moderator as well - cuz I needed still more online taekwondo work. ;)
    3. Recognizing that I'm good with IT, the head of our school asked that I take over the school's website, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. Our YouTube channel just passed 160,000 video views and is accelerating. I also help with our schools YouTube Club (kids making videos about taekwondo) which as gotten me into a lot of video editing (I've had to become quite proficient with Final Cut Pro).
    4. Wanting good photos of my son, I upgraded my DSLR camera and started taking photos of him sparring, board-breaking, etc. To drive traffic to our Facebook Page I started posting other kids' sparring and board breaking as well. That lead to me being the school photographer; this year we decided that for our annual taekwondo portrait shoots, we'd just take the photos ourselves (rather than using a professional photographer) and the results turned out great. It was very very time-consuming though. (This also required me to become quite proficient with Gimp. It also resulted in my buying a drone so that I could get good overhead photos and videos.)
    5. Recognizing that I'm pretty good at teaching, the head of our school made me on of the school's volunteer instructors as well.
    6. Needing refs at his tournament, the head of our school asked that all his instructors take the USAT ref training, which I did (though I ref rarely).
    7. Recognizing that I'm pretty good at organizing things, the head of our school asked me to help organize events like his last Kukkiwon Cup and the last K-Tigers tour here in the U.S., which resulted in me getting some attractive plaques.
    8. Needing somebody to play "the old man" in some of our Demo Team skits, I got roped into being on our Demo Team (along with my son), which meant learning (among other things) some K-Tigers routines, which are comical when performed by a fat old man. In this video I play the Old Man while my son plays the Bully Who Gets Reformed by Taekwondo:
    9. Being on the Demo Team, I eventually got roped into being in charge of the Demo Team music, which lead me into being in charge of the dojang's workout music. I now know for more about K-Pop than any fat old man should know.
    Bottom line: I get to practice taekwondo only about 5 hours per week, but taekwondo nonetheless consumes my evenings and weekends in many other ways.
    • What other Taekwondo-related activities you do?
    Maintenance of the taekwondo wiki, moderation of the taekwondo subreddit, maintenance of a taekwondo YouTube channel, teaching taekwondo at our school, I've written a couple of articles for Totally Taekwondo, taking taekwondo photos, making taekwondo videos, organized taekwondo tournaments, ref'ed at taekwondo tournaments. Mind you, I've only been back at this for about 5 years!
    • How has your relationship with Taekwondo changed over the years?
    It used to just be a fun workout. Nowadays I have a lot of administrative responsibilities.
    • What's the role of the community and physical spaces in Taekwondo for you?
    I wouldn't have taken on all those administrative activities if it hadn't been for the positive energy that I receive from the community, both real-world and virtual. Also, it's just plain fun to watch people write "WT style taekwondo" in front of Dirty Dog. :D

    In terms of physical spaces, I really like a pretty dojang. Oh yah -- I'm also one of the volunteers at our dojang's annual repaint -- ugh.

    • How long do you think Taekwondo will be a significant part of your life?
    It's become my only form of physical exercise these days; if I were to stop I'd become a total tub of lard.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. Research

    Research White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Many thanks for the comprehensive answer, this is truly helpful!
     
  4. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2015
    Messages:
    2,780
    Likes Received:
    1,415
    Trophy Points:
    353
    Location:
    In the dojo
    @Research do you train TKD? If you do, how would you answer your own questions?

    I’d answer, but I train in karate. I don’t want to mess up your data.
     
  5. Dirty Dog

    Dirty Dog MT Senior Moderator Staff Member

    • LifeTime Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2009
    Messages:
    14,393
    Likes Received:
    3,110
    Trophy Points:
    308
    Location:
    Pueblo West, CO
    1. My mother signed me up for classes in 1969.
    2. Impossible to answer how much time I spend. Are we talking just time at the dojang, or does time spent analyzing forms and techniques for applications count? Just time I spend training, or does time spent teaching count?
    3. I train. I teach. I coach at the occasional tourney. I've written two books. I do seminars and demos.
    4. As a kid, I thought sparring and breaking were fun. I still do. As a kid, I did forms only because they were required for promotion. Now I love forms for their application and their use as teaching tools.
    5. We're a YMCA based school, not a commercial school. So the community decides if we continue or not.
    6. Well, it's been part of my life for close to 50 years, so I'm going to guess.... all of it.
     
  6. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,704
    Likes Received:
    131
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Stevenage, Herts, UK
    Happy to help.

    1. I was bullied at school, so at the age of 12 my mother took me to the library to get a book about martial arts to try to find the one I wanted to start doing for self-defence. I saw the flashy kicks of Taekwondo in the book (step by step flying kick and jump hook kick) and was SOLD! I went to the local sports centre and a Taekwondo class had started the week before.

    2. I am currently a Changmookwan 7th Dan and Kukkiwon 6th Dan. I teach at a part-time club (about 6 hours per week) in the UK, with about 80-90 students and I don't ever take a penny for teaching (I do it to give back, because of the benefits it gave me).

    3. To be honest, just training and teaching - attending courses and seminars (and bringing instructors to our club or this country to teach seminars).

    4. I've had a couple of breaks for a couple of years at a time - one caused by politics (I was fed up with the overly restrictive rules, practices and bickering in the Taekwondo association) and one caused by an injury (so I was disheartened that Taekwondo wouldn't let me train with that injury). Now I have another injury, but I'm older and wiser and just work around it!

    5. We're very focused on being one of the cheapest clubs in our area - because I want it to be available to everyone. We'd love to have our own dedicated 100% facility, but in reality I think we'll likely always be in school halls and local gyms.

    6. For the remainder of it! I've been in Taekwondo for about 30 years, my instructor has done 50 so I aim to beat him ;-)
     
  7. Research

    Research White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Hey! I don't personally train TKD, but the second researcher in the study does. I can ask her if she wants to share her story.

    If you wish to answer the questions with a karate background, you are totally free to do that. Now that we know you don't train TKD, we can classify and look at your reply separately (and decide later if we include it in the final analysis).
     
  8. Research

    Research White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thanks for the answers @Dirty Dog !

    As to time, we let the respondents define their own ways of estimating the time spent; and as you point out, this naturally differs radically depending on how they do it. If you end up calculating those numbers later, feel free to share them :)
     
  9. Research

    Research White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
  10. Research2

    Research2 White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2017
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I'm happy to answer :) I don't really train Taekwondo anymore, but for about 10 years it was all I did. This became a bit of a story about my TKD life, but since improvising is ok, this will do
    Here is the club I go to: Budokwai Taekwondo

    1 & 4. How did you end up to having Taekwondo as part of your life? How has your relationship with Taekwondo changed over the years?

    I was 16 when one of my school friends asked me to join her in a beginners course of TKD. It was offered for free as a part of a program to encourage youths to do sports, so I thought why not. She quit soon after reaching yellow belt, but I continued to go. I think I was 6 kup when I was asked by one of the higher belt students if I was interested in participating to poomsae competitions and I, again, thought why not. During that competition I got to know a bunch of other young students in our school that I didn't know before. They had been practicing a few years longer than I had and had a higher belt, so we didn't normally go to the same practice. They encouraged me to keep on competing and to go to the poomsae classes. Things led to other things, and in a year I was participating in national team camps and went to my first international competition as a 3 kup. I year later I was part of the national poomsae team. This also lead me to take part in official and unofficial fighting competitions, as our master wanted me to have experience also in those before he would agree to let me take a black belt test (as a national team member I needed to have that as I would be participating in competitions that required one). During this time TKD was the most important thing in my life. With university, part time job, teaching kids classes, going to regular practice and practicing poomsae independently I had no more free time, but it didn't matter as I loved Taekwondo.

    I also lived a year in South Korea as an exchange student and took part of the university TKD club's practice. During my time there the club members pretty much became my family. I spend all my free time in the club room, studied in the library with the club members, ate with them and went to trips with them. In Korean university clubs it is customary to go to some out-of-town location to play games, do bbq and drink in order to build team spirit. They call these retreats as MT, membership training. During my year in Korea our club did two of MT's, as we got so many new members on the second half of the year. The events are definitely in the top of my best memories from Korea and something many exchange students don't get to experience.

    During my time in Korea I also took the exam for 2 dan. One of the older TKD club members asked if I wanted to do so as they thought I was ready. I asked my master in Finland and he agreed, so one weekend me and a Chinese exchange student traveled to a small village somewhere in the middle of Korea were one of the other member's parents lived. They owned a TKD school and wanted us to come over for a weekend to take the exam and experience Korea outside of Seoul. We also visited their grand mother who lived in a small traditional Korean house. The food and kimchi she makes is the best I tasted in Korea.

    Besides of practicing and competing I also taught children's and beginners courses, very shortly refereed and judged both poomsae and fighting competitions, was a part of our club's show team and helped to organize competitions and camps. The show team was something I loved and I would have liked to practice the stunts and tricks more often. The most memorable and special event we did was when Finnair started to fly to Seoul. We had a small show in the airport before the first flight and another one in a evening gala that Finnair organised for some important people. This event was also nice because we had really tried to make it as great as possible. We mostly had people who were from the national poomsae and fighting teams, so everyone was very skilled. The practice was also a lot more serious (which is something I like) than the normal chaos in our club's show teams practice.

    I also liked teaching, especially the beginners courses and adults. The kids could be a bit of a handful for me, but since there weren't many volunteers to teach those courses I agreed to do it.

    My active competing and practicing ended soon after returning from Korea to Finland. I managed to injure both of my legs and didn't take enough time to recover. This made the injuries even worse and so far all of my attempts to come back to practice have been failures. It is horribly disheartening to remember how easy it was to kick straight up, to remember how it feels like to kick like that, and then not be able to kick much higher than my waist. I have tried to stretch consistently, I asked help from a physiotherapist that practices in our club, but there seems to be no progress. I even went and did the beginners course in hopes of easier practice helping me to get back in, but that didn't work either. It has now been about 2 years since I last went to practice.


    2-3. Tell about your current relationship with Taekwondo; for instance, how much do you spend time with it and in what ways? What other Taekwondo-related activities you do?

    These days I mostly take part in event organisation. In Finland we have two big TKD camps per year, the Winter Camp and the Summer Camp. Our club has been organizing the summer camp for ~10 years now, and that has become the TKD highlight of my year. I get to see people from other clubs (also those friends who used to compete in poomsae with me but have since quit that), there is both fighting and poomsae competitions, often famous Korean instructors, and on the last day we have a TKD show with show teams from different clubs in Finland, fighting and poomsae finals, speeches, etc. Over the years I've done a variety of jobs there; I've been the local contact/guide for Korean instructors, head organizer for poomsae competition, sat hours in the info and hosted the TKD show one year.

    5. What's the role of the community and physical spaces in Taekwondo for you?

    Allthough I loved TKD as an exercise, it is really the community and friends that were and are most important for me. They have always been the factor that pushes me forward and makes me try new things. Without them I likely would not have focused on competition so much, or done any of the other things I did and still do. I definitely would not have reached a black belt. And it's not just the people from my own club, it's also the wider Finnish TKD community. The times when we were all in the same place (in a competition, camp, trip, etc) are the most fun and memorable times from my Taekwondo career.

    6. How long do you think Taekwondo will be a significant part of your life?

    I think I'm probably going to try to get into practice again at some point. Maybe when I'll have my own children I'll go to the family practice with them. I'll anyway continue to participate in organizing the events for now, as that is kinda fun. It's also a bit sad how rarely I get to see my TKD friends, so I just might try practicing again sooner so I'll get to see them more often.
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  11. TrueJim

    TrueJim 3rd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2014
    Messages:
    988
    Likes Received:
    358
    Trophy Points:
    78
    Location:
    Virginia
    I'm sorry, all I heard was "Blah blah blah, I'm going back to the dojang tomorrow to resume my training..." :D
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  12. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    • Martial Talk Alumni
    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Messages:
    6,479
    Likes Received:
    175
    Trophy Points:
    173
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    1. How did you end up to having Taekwondo as part of your life? I began TKD in 1982 (at 14 years old) with my best friend. He was a natural athlete, and I was born with mild cerebral palsy. Most thought he'd stick with it and I'd give up quickly. He quit after 6 months, and I've been training for 35 years.
    2. Tell about your current relationship with Taekwondo; for instance, how much do you spend time with it and in what ways? I closed my dojang two years ago to pursue a masters degree in social work. I will re-open when I finish school in 2018. I still train and study the history of the Art. I try to keep up on current Kukkiwon and Chung Do Kwan events in order to keep my grandmaster informed.
    3. What other Taekwondo-related activities you do? I'm on several martial arts message boards. I coach at tournaments. I ran a dojang for 10 years. I travel across the country (USA) to judge at my TKD organization's national tournament.
    4. How has your relationship with Taekwondo changed over the years? As a teen, I focused a lot on self-defense. As an adult, I've focused on the physical health, personal growth, and teaching the Art.
    5. What's the role of the community and physical spaces in Taekwondo for you? I started my dojang as part of a community center, but I moved the program to my church two years later. I'm not a commercial dojang. I try to keep my program financially accessible to lower-income people of my area.
    6. How long do you think Taekwondo will be a significant part of your life? It's very much a part of who I am. I'm a lifer.
     
  13. Research

    Research White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Balrog

    Balrog Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2007
    Messages:
    1,560
    Likes Received:
    273
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Houston, TX

      • I was bullied horribly in high school. I'm old enough that there weren't any karate schools around me in high school. I didn't find one until I went to college. It was the Karate Club, but we were learning Taekwondo. I trained there through Brown Belt, then sat out for nearly 20 years, then got back in with the ATA and have stayed with them for over 30 years.

      • I own a school. I teach, recruit, make phone calls and clean the johns. I probably spend 50-60 hours a week in Taekwondo related activities.

      • I'm a Master Instructor, so in addition to teaching, I judge at tournaments and do seminars for other schools around me.

      • Well, I'm not as young as I used to be, so the jump kicks don't go as high. I no longer compete actively, I just teach.

      • I have adopted some of the public schools around me and do bullying prevention and abduction prevention courses as fundraisers for their PTOs. We also teach SHARP seminars (Sexual Harassment, Assault & Rape Prevention) to the general public.

      • As long as I can crawl into the school, I'll be doing Taekwondo.
    You can post your reply here or PM if you don't wish to share it openly. All answers are treated anonymously. You can also use this thread to discuss the above questions.

    We are looking to publish the study next year in peer-reviewed conference proceedings. If you have questions, I'll be happy to answer. A big thanks in advance!
    [/QUOTE]
     
  15. Research

    Research White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Thank you so much @Balrog and wish you many more years with Taekwondo!
     
  16. skribs

    skribs Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2013
    Messages:
    1,037
    Likes Received:
    149
    Trophy Points:
    88
    Location:
    Lakewood, WA
    1) Did Taekwondo as a kid (from around 7-11 years old). Ended up getting my Green Belt. It's hard to quantify exactly what belt that was, because mid-way through my time in that school they changed from a tape-stripe system where every belt had 3 intermediate tests (and then you'd get a piece of tape of the next belt color), to a system of white or black colored stripes on the belt. All told, probably 15 tests worth, give or take a couple. My parents wanted me to get into a martial art, so I had a choice between Karate or Taekwondo. I was sold on Taekwondo because "You can wear a white uniform, like the white ranger." It's funny, because if it was a few years later, I would definitely have chosen to go Karate for the black uniforms, because during my middle and high school years, all I wore was black.

    I quit when I was 11 to do wrestling, and just kind of drifted away from martial arts entirely in high school. I came back into it a few years ago. I needed exercise, and it was a chore to go to the gym. So I found a local TKD school and signed up, and been loving it again ever since.

    2) Over three years ago, my Master put me into an internship (I think of it as an apprenticeship) where I was on track to become an instructor. So Taekwondo fills up about 20 hours a week for me, between instructing, my own classes, and then working with my parents on their skills.

    3) Well, in our regular class we do quite a bit: Poomsae, sparring, combination drills, self defense (so far against punch, knife, and grabs), knife form, sword form, eskrima drills, nunchuck skills, and staff form. I help out with sparring club, and when it's on I lead our demonstration team. I take hapkido at the same school. I'm also trying to learn 3-section staff and lightsaber (I get the action-ready sabers, i.e. Ultrasabers).

    4) As a kid, I loved sparring and hated forms. As an adult, I love forms and tolerate sparring. Taekwondo has taught me that I actually work well with kids, as I'm in charge of a lot of kids' classes at my school. My first school took the approach of teaching the exact techniques off the bat, in effort to eliminate any bad habits before they start, whereas the school I'm at now teaches the gross movements and refines them over time. It's interesting to see the different ways in which people can learn martial arts, because I've seen great martial artists at both schools.

    5) This is where I have a big problem. I don't have much of a place to practice outside the dojang. I have a small condo, and the majority of the year the weather isn't fit for practicing outside. I can practice TKD pretty well in some of the spaces available, but I still have to pull punches in the forms so I'm not breaking walls or windows, and weapon skills are impossible to practice without hitting the ceiling.

    6) Well, I don't normally have long-term goals for myself, but with TKD I plan to get my 5th degree and become a Master (if all goes well, I should get my 3rd degree in June), so I have at least 8 more years planned. Of course, I don't want to be a Master and then quit, so there's more time after that.
     
  17. Research

    Research White Belt

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2017
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Nice to get replies still, thanks @skribs !
     

Share This Page