9/02/2006

Bumper crop of events

It's a big week coming up in South Korea for Taekwondo events. In the coming single week there will be the 1st World Poomsae championships and the 2nd Korea Open. It's really hard to get actual information in English on the events, but it appears that they will both be held at the Olympic Stadium, about 1 hour by subway from where I'm based. So, I will try my best to get on over and watch the events - work permitting! (Already, I missed out on a trip to Ulleungdo this week because of work events - sorry to the two who I had to turn down. I was really looking forward to it and was really sore to miss the opportunity because of an awkwardly scheduled work meeting. Alas. Maybe another time...)


I'm not too keen on the sound of a World Poomsae Championship, but the Korea Open event sounds promising. I didn't go to it last year because it was over in Chuncheon and I didn't finish work in time to be able to get over there.


I will post up pictures from the events here. Although you'll have to excuse the delay because I still have the old fashion style camera with film, and not digital images that I can quickly upload.


Last weekend, I attended an event at the Kukkiwon which was a national championship for Korean elementary, middle and high school students. By chance, I bumped into some people I know including the members of the Taekwondo gym I train with. Turns out half of them were competing in the event, but had never told me about it. Anyway, at least I found out about it upon arriving there. The girls all got a clean sweep of the medals which I had to wonder about because they all literally do Olympic level training in that gym to the extent that I was convinced they were capable of maybe even trying out for the national team, they are all so good. I was a bit miffed though, that they took all the medal winning in their stride, and actually seemed a bit embarrassed to receive a prize. If that had been me on the podium, regardless of whether it was the tournament for lackeys or the champagne cup, I would have been beside myself with excitement. I would have been jumping up and down, shouting "Give me more champagne damnit!!" (Actually, I've never seen champagne at Korean sports events.)


Last night, I broached it to the Taekwondo gym owner - the Kwangjang - that I would like to take the 2nd Dan test at Christmas time. He said that only if I was prepared to train with them six days a week for the next four months (!) would he let me register to take it. With their class time finishing close to midnight, and with me due to get up at 6am for work the next morning, that type of training is pretty much an impossibility. I kind of understand the training requirement. Afterall, I wouldn't let one of my English language students take a test without attending classes. However, it gets frustrating at the many barriers I've met at trying to get to black belt tests in Korea. Furthermore, the Kwangjang explained that he would let the other foreigner at the taekwondo gym take the black belt test in December because 'he's sooo good' - yet, this other foreigner would have only been taking Taekwondo for 10 months up to the black belt test, and in fact I rarely ever even see him at the gym!


Realistically, the only way now to go for the second Dan in Korea is to join one of the mcdojos here and join their early evening classes, training alongside the elementary school students. But, I know that route won't help to genuinely improve my level, so I'm calculating that I might be taking the 2nd Dan test after still another couple of years to come...sigh!


But, it's not all disaster. I will take everything in my stride because there's no real purpose to all my endeavors in taekwondo other than it being a hobby. Additionally, I have the Hapkido black belt test to look forward to, which if nothing unforeseen happens, I will aim to take in the springtime.


Heads up and I will report back on all the championships of the coming week.

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