As part of the CLS Korea program, each student chooses one of three culture activities: taekwondo, traditional art, or k-pop dance. I chose to take taekwondo this summer and am starting from a white belt. By the end of the eight weeks (lessons two times per week) we will have had enough training to take a promotion test, which if I pass I will get the yellow belt. Hopefully I can continue to pursue taekwondo at Brown this coming semester.
Right now we are learning the strikes and kicks necessary for “taekgeuk il” or 태국 일. It includes blocks as well. In the photo below we are practicing the middle block in the chest area. Some of the students have already taken taekwondo before. Two are black belts, one is a yellow belt and another student studied a different form of martial arts called poomsae karate.
The taekwondo place has no air conditioning so it is pretty hot. Gwangju is generally in the 80s with humidity typically ranging from 80% to 92%. Fortunately I do not sweat a ton compared to the other American students.
The guy leading the stretches below is our main taekwondo instructor or 사범님, “sabumnim”.
Before warming up we always do this sitting position while closing our eyes and relaxing the body.
Here is one of the student instructors who is in his late 20s.
Hopefully I can notice an improvement in my flexibility this summer.
This last photo is of me and my friends, Peter and Hannah. We are practicing “taegeuk il” in the road. Usually when we split off into smaller practice groups during our takewondo class I will lead the group and call out all the moves in Korean for everyone. But Caitlin, who is also in my group, studied karate before and is really good at memorizing the sequence.