Monday, May 23, 2011


 Korea is the home of taekwondo, one of the world's most popular martial art.  Since being in Korea, I've wanted to try it out.  Lots of my afterschool students come to class wearing their taekwondo uniforms and show me their moves once they upgrade to a higher-color belt.  I wanted to take classes; however, in my neighborhood I couldn't find a class for adult beginners.  Taekwondo classes are everyday and if it's not in my neighborhood, I'd doubt I'd go everyday.  So, I was stoked to see you could take a one-time, hour long class in Seoul on Saturdays.

Our Master was from Kukkiwon - the most well-known Mecca of Taekwondo, the headquarters of the World Taekwondo Federation.  Taekwondo Masters from all over the world come here for certification.  He was hilarious and made our class a lot of fun!
I tried to quote Rex-Kwon-Do from Napoleon Dynamite but no one seemed to know what I was talking about...dang...friends from home would understand..."BOW TO YOUR SENSEI!"

 The class was in a traditional, hanok village.  "Well attention!"

 Afterwards there was an amazing taekwondo performance.  The weather was terrible and it kept raining.  The performance was supposed to be cancelled, but because of the large crowd, they performed in the rain.  A few of the people slipped and didn't have a perfect performance because of the rain..but it was still awesome.

 I was sitting next to a kid from the Netherlands who was 9 and had been living in Korea for 2 years.  This girl was awesome, she could rotate her body in a complete circle while holding this pose.  I said to the boy (who has been taking tkd), "you need a girlfriend like that!"  And he said, "Well...I do need someone to help me with my flexibility!"
 These kids are in elementary school!
 They would jump on someone's chest to get to the high ones!  Jumping off and...
 Going for the break!  The photos are much better if you click on them to make them larger.
 This guy was blind-folded.  The other guy was holding an apple and a bell.  He would learn where to kick based on the ringing of the bell!
 Kicking the apple blind-folded!
 And kicking the other apple!

 They could jump so high!  Going for it...
 Got it!
 Getting closer....and he broke the board but I didn't get a third shot!  Again, it's much better if you click on the photo to make it larger.
 Master Park talking to the audience.
 The kick in the camoflague was the kid sitting next to me.  He went on stage and showed a round-house kick!
 Afterwards you could go up and take pics with the performers.  Master Park yelled to the audience, "Come on Katie, get up here, you are my student now!"  So I had to go!
Here's a short video.  I happened to take video at the "musical" time.  I didn't remember it being song-and-dance-ish until I rewatched this video.  You will see a few slips, but it was really rainy out and the stage was really slippery.  If you can't tell - there's one apple smashing in there--it may be hard to tell what it is if I don't tell you.

 Afterwards, a friend and I went to seek out the Banpo Bridge Rainbow Fountain.  We got there for about a minute before it was over.  I couldn't even take a photo!  I had no idea it didn't run all night.  We stopped at this great restaurant/cafe on the Han River that overlooks the river.  Apparently you aren't supposed to touch the handrail!
 Caramel Macchiato + cheesecake + beautiful views and good company = :)

 Pretty cool, restaurant!
 On the way home.  Sorry Sir, this is not a male bag...this is a purse!


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