Back in 2007, I was working as a senior journalist at the Sound Telegraph, Western Australia. My first column came about by accident – I decided to try out a new sport, wrote an article…and the seeds for a new column were born. The paper copy I have has additional significance for me. Blue Eyes and I had just met and he cut this one out of the paper and wrote the words “Thank her for the photos; (send) pics of kids + house + yard” – his reminder to send me an email.
I’ve never been really coordinated. Aerobics confused me – by the time I figured out how to step and kick while clapping behind my back, the instructor was on to another step. And I never was any good at patting my tummy and rubbing my head simultaneously – or is it the other way around?
Which is why I surprised myself when I agreed to try Taekwondo with my 11-year-old Bear. Not wanting to appear too “unco”, I asked him for some lessons before classes started. He held back giggles as I blocked and punched, but acknowledged that my kicks were not too bad.
I found myself up the back with the white belts and another no-belt (the six year old son of friends).
“We’re actually invisible belts,” I whispered as we stood wondering what we were supposed to do. He nodded. That was cooler.
Half an hour later, after non-stop stretching, push-ups, sit-ups, and even worse, Chinese splits, with not a complaint on my part, although I can’t say the same for the other kids – I was looking at the clock and wondering how I would survive the next hour. No time to dwell on that though, because it was time for blocking, punching and kicking practise.
My front kicks were OK – I’d had some practice. Even my side kicks weren’t bad. But my back kicks…let’s just say I couldn’t understand why I was facing the opposite way to everyone else.
“I’m heaps better than you,” my little friend sniggered. “Just wait, I’ll kick your tush,” I whispered back. From the row ahead, Bear just shook his head and grinned. And I did kick his tush – it was right in frontr of me, after all.
More practice followed, with partners taking turns to kick a paddle, while the other held it. I was paired with Blue Belt, whose powerful kicks gave my arm muscles a workout. My kick was far less powerful, at least for my right foot – but one of my left roundhouse kicks made the paddle shoot right out of Blue Belt’s hand.
According to the instructor, I am left-footed and weird. So after all the giggling and smirking, will I go back? I have to – I have someone else’s tush to kick.
I did go back for a while, but life got in the way and Taekwondo has become a thing of the past. It was funny that Blue Eyes thought I was a really sporty person after reading this…he soon found out that I am not!