Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Back to the dojang

Tuesday afternoon after a long break, and we're back at the dojang. It's great to be back.

Have I told you about our dojang? Hughes Institute of Tae Kwon Do is in the upstairs of a large, old downtown building. Downstairs is Rapids Reproduction, a printing company, I guess. We share an entrance, and the dojang is up the stairs to the right. At the top of the first flight of stairs is a mirror, probably another remnant of the days when the upstairs held a ballet school.

I've seen lots of Karate and Tae Kwon Do schools in strip malls, and I'm glad ours isn't in a place like that. It would seem claustrophobic. Upstairs at Hughes, there's plenty of room for an office/shop, a place to hang coats and store shoes, and bathrooms. There's even a little kitchen area off to one side. At the end of the hall is our wonderful dojang.

The dojang itself, where we work out, looks like an old school gym. It's huge: on test days, 50 people line the floor, with crowds of onlookers on folding charis at the back. The floors are wooden, the ceilings are high, and there's a stage at one end where the Korean and American flags hang. High windows and lights softly illuminate the place.

Along both sides, workout equipment lines the walls. Apparently, Master Hughes got the machines when a fitness center went out of business. But behind the machines on one side are the mirrors, left over from ballet days.

There's one spot in the dojang where there's a dome in the ceiling. If you stand underneath that dome, your ki-hap really echoes.

I love the feeling of the place: the soft light, the dusty smell, the wood floors. I like that it has high ceilings and old walls. I like being there.

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