Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Tae Kwon Do
"So this is the kick I'm supposed to break with this time." I'm in my living room talking to my husband. I demonstrate the hooking kick.

"Wow," he says. He seems impressed, but I'm still worried.

"Yeah, it looks cool, but I'm not sure I'll be able to break a board with it. Maybe a toothpick."

After class, while Master Hughes signs my board, I tell him that I'm worried about breaking. He puts my board on the floor and has me hold my hand out.

"When you do the hooking kick, you need to chamber out to the front, then move your whole leg back while you hook." He demonstrates. I am sure that his kick would probably break a few boards.

When I try, it looks pitiful, not powerful. If you're small, you really need to get the technique just right to break a board. You can't rely on brute force. Or I can't; I don't have any.

"You're just bending your leg at the knee. You're not bringing the whole leg into it," he tells me. I try again, unsuccessfully, but he catches my leg and moves it through the correct positions. OK. Now I get it.

"That feels better," I say. "Do you think I'll be able to break a board?"

Master Hughes goes over to the pile of boards near the wall and picks one out. He comes back and holds it out for me. I take a deep breath, concentrate and do my best hook kick.

The board breaks.

I stand there in amazement for a minute. Then I notice Master Hughes standing at attention. I bow and smile. That was more than a toothpick.

Some days in class I feel fuzzy-headed: strong but unfocused. Today's one of those days. My pirouettes are unstable and tippy. I'm having trouble remembering the combination for the petit allegro. A couple times I feel tears of frustration at the back of my eyelids, but then I remember: I love ballet. I love the challenge.

Suki has us doing inward and outward pique turns across the floor. I can do outward, but the inward ones are giving me trouble.

"Jane, you need to trust yourself to fall into that lunge at the end of each turn. You're holding yourself back. Go ahead and fall into it." I try a couple of times and finally get it. I complete the short sequence--3 outward turns, then switch, 3 inward turns. Finally! I got something.

"You learned something today!" says Suki.

And after class, more encouragement.

Leihrin is tying on her pointe shoes for a short private class.

"When are you going to try pointe shoes, Jane?" asks Suki.

"Me? I think I'm too old," I say.

"Age has nothing to do with it. You need to have strength and good technique."

"Well, I guess I have those," I say.

"Yes, you do," she tells me.

Suki tells me that if I want to try pointe shoes, she'll let me borrow hers. I can have a little practice with Leihrin after our class.

Now that's something to think about . . . !

1 comment:

TKD Rocker said...

Congrats on breaking with a hook kick! Coincidentally, I broke a board with a form of a hook kick last night (a 360 hook). We didn't have any 1/2 inch boards, so I had to use a full-size, and it tore my heel up! I couldn't walk on it for a couple of hours!