06 August, 2010

Another Do-Jang in another hall...or The Littlest Martial Arts Hobo

Having not had much success with Zenyogkido (!) or Tai Chi I resort to another Taekwondo class on my ever-shortening list. This one is in Birstall, although calls itself Leicester Taekwondo club. It's run by another Freer, this time Andy, a recently promoted 4th degree instructor. Phased by my two recent 'sit in a car and waste half an hour of your life you'll never get back' experiences I rang the number on the website and spoke to Karen in advance, who in very friendly tones reassures me that despite being in a school during the school holidays, the class is definitely on, and for adults as well as kids. 6.30pm to 7.30 at Riverside School.

I arrive first but am soon joined by some very young children (but none of them more senior than yellow belt) a couple of teenagers and some adults. The class is to be taken by Karen, who's a third dan, as Mr Freer is only going to be able to join us later. As well as Karen, there is one other black belt, a red and black (1st kup?), and some assorted blues and reds who I take to be between 2nd and 5th kup grades or thereabouts).

We start with a gentle warm up (although this unfit karateka as usual finds it all a bit of a struggle to keep up with the 8 year olds) followed by some punching technique and pad work. The pad work continues in the form of more punching and kicking for most of the rest of the class and I get to partner with most of the adults throughout the hour long session. The techniques of all of the students are good and it looks like they're getting some excellent instruction. Most of the second half of the class is led by black belt Sally as Karen takes the youngsters through their pattern for an upcoming grading and this might account for the lack of variety in the session. I think most seniors stay on from 7.30 to do the complicated stuff and use the first session as a warm up. This is an excellent work-out but I get very little chance to do anything more than a kick and a punch. Fine for beginners of course but frustrating for me and I would have liked to have stayed for the senior class so I could have had a go at some sparring and Tul myself.

Am I experiencing a blogger's plateau? As always I enjoy being in the class, practising techniques with enthusiastic individuals, but this was the first class that I would happily recommend in which I didn't learn anything. That's no criticism of the teaching, more an awareness that there is only so far I can go trying new things as a beginner before I stop being a beginner.

Part of me can't help thinking that if I'd chosen a Martial Art when I started the blog, I could be grading for my 4th belt and competing by now and I have to remind myself that that was never the point of all this. The point was to get fit (hmmmm), find a new club, and share the journey.

So onwards and upwards. Birstall TKD looks like a good club with sound teaching whether you're 10 or 50 - go along if you're in the area and try it out. Classes are free for the first month and the students and instructors there are very approachable, helpful and supportive.

For me, well I'm going to keep on keeping on!

"maybe tomorrow..."

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