Experiences of a total TKD noob.

Discussion in 'General Taekwondo Discussions' started by coolsox, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. coolsox

    coolsox New Member

    Following on from my first thread, I thought I would post another documenting my experiences / feelings as someone totally new to marshal arts.

    First off, a bit about me...

    I'm a 36 year old male. I have an office based job so get very little excercise, I'm overweight and unfit and have very little confidence in myself. I often overthink things and always expect the worst so starting TKD was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. The idea of this mini blog is to help people who are in the same situation as me do they can overcome their fears and know what to expect and of course for me to get feedback on my current progress.

    I'll post my experiences for the first 3 lessons shortly....
    Rugratzz and Timothy Cooper like this.
  2. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    I look forward to it.

  3. coolsox

    coolsox New Member

    First lesson.

    This was the hardest one to show up to. After hovering like some maniac in the car park for some time I plucked up the courage and went in. I was confronted by a group of other members, all dressed in their pristine Doboks. I held back waiting for them to enter and then went to the front desk. I was greeted by the owner of the club who was extremely welcoming and straight away grabbed another instructor to stay beside me for the lesson to help me through it and teach me the basics.

    The lessons start with a warm up. Extremely hard work but good fun. It started by jogging around the room, first forwards, then backwards. Various other movements where added into the mix such as star jumps or punches. The whole warm up lasted around 10 minutes. I did more in that 10 minutes than I would have done in an hour at the gym!

    Next everyone was partnered up for some pad drills. My instructor held the pads a gave me instructions on how to kick and punch them. I found this part ok, but when it came time to reverse roles I couldn't remember where I should be holding the pads. Again the instructor was extremely patient and understanding and helped correct the problem. For the rest of the lesson I was separated from the rest if the group and we continued to go through some kicks and punches.

    At the end of the lesson all instructors came to see me to see how I was and how I coped with the lesson. All where very encouraging.

    Second lesson.

    This was very similar to the first. Warm up, pad drills but then we where included in the line work. Everyone lined up in rows and follows a set of instructions for various punching and kicking combos. Thus wasn't too difficult and again I had an instructor to help out. Following this I was again separated to learn the 'four directional punch'. I found this very confusing but we only worked on it for a short time before the lesson ended. I finished this lesson buzzing on a high. It was extremely enjoyable and I managed to break the ice and speak to done other members.
  4. coolsox

    coolsox New Member

    Sunday 1st December.

    This has been my first class on a Sunday. Some different members where there and there where different instructors running the class.

    Warm up was similar to my last few lessons but I couldn't manage all the sit ups as my stomach muscles are still hurting from my last class!

    Following warm up it was straight into line work again. This wasn't too difficult BUT I'm still not sure of the names of the kicks or punches I'm doing as at the back I find it very difficult to hear the instructor so I'm doing everything by sight. Around half way in I had to stop as I developed a severe stitch and just couldn't continue. One of the instructors saw I was in trouble and came over to see If I was ok. When I explained my problem he was very sympathetic and showed me a few things to help and just told me to wait until I was ready to participate again.

    Following the line work we worked on some sparring work. I found this very frustrating as things are now being introduced but not fully explained. For example a kick might be performed by the 'attacker' but for the other person blocking hand movements are not fully explained. It's difficult to explain but for example before performing a block the instructor might perform another move such as lifting his hands and then going to the block position rather than just going straight there from wherever his hands where. Sorry, it's difficult to explain without knowing the names of the moves being performed. Also, during the lessons there is a lot of vocalisation and it's not been explained what people are actually saying.

    Finally we worked on the four direction punch again. I seem to have figured out my footwork but again going from the front punch to block my hands aren't doing what they should be. I know I can probably find the info on you tube but surely I should be picking this up in class? All in all I felt today's lesson was a little flat and am a little concerned that maybe it's my ability to pick things up that's holding back my development. We will see what Wednesdays class brings.
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2013
  5. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Hi Coolsox. I just wanted to let you know that the 'hang around in the carpark' thing is more common than you might think, and your feelings about the first few lessons seem completely normal. Don't worry about your development, it takes months (rather than hours) to feel comfortable with some of the things you seem to be concerned about. At first, it's information overload, absolutely everything is new, so try to let things wash over you and pick out a few details to remember from each class. If you're in this for the long haul, there's no rush to be an expert on everything. If you have specific questions, people here will be happy to help you. Just keep doing what you're doing and don't be too hard on yourself. It's a lot to take in at first.

    I would give the instructor the feedback that it's difficult to hear form the back though - that's something he / she can never know without being informed, and it is easy to fix if he stands in the middle, roams or speaks louder. I'm with you on this one, I'm quite deaf and have always had to speak up from the back.

    If you're anything like me, you might need to see, hear and do things to make them stick in your mind. This includes reading some of the terminology. I can recommend TKDTutor as a good starting point for a beginner, although it can be a bit difficult to navigate: http://tkdtutor.com

    As for vocalisation, the commands vary according to club and organisation, but some we most often have in common are:

    Charyot: Attention
    Junbi: Ready
    Shijak: Start
    Geuman: Stop
    Baro: Return to ready
    Chagi: Kick
    Chigi: Strike
    Jireugi: Punch

    And counting from one to ten:

    Hana: One
    Dool: Two
    Set: Three
    Net: Four
    Dasut: Five
    Yasut: Six
    Ilgop: Seven
    Youdul: Eight
    Ahop: Nine
    Yaul: Ten

    Typically, some of this terminology will be part of the first testing that you do, and you'll get some supplementary information to help you with that, either via a website or hard copy.

    Keep doing what you are doing!
    coolsox likes this.
  6. coolsox

    coolsox New Member

    Thanks Gnarlie. I'm certainly not about to give in. I spent too long plucking up the courage to start! In fact, today I committed myself by paying my licence fee and ordering my Dobok.

    The vocalisations I'm talking about are performed during the punches in line work. It is a word, and everyone is saying the same thing but with everyone grunting at the same time it's hard to make it out. It could be as simple as 'sir' but I'm not sure.
  7. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Good. The line work vocalisation is called a 'kihap', loosely translated 'energy harmonisation'. You can shout whatever you like, but it should come from low down in your belly, not from you throat. People tend towards a 'shep', 'het', or 'sear' type sound, especially if they are not that comfortable with shouting. You can use whatever feels comfortable, but vowel sounds tend to lend themselves better to free air flow than ending with a consonant.

    Kihap develops the habit of breathing out on the strike. If you breathe out, you have to breathe in, and repeated drilling trains you to keep breathing during a hard fight as you associate the breathing with the movement on a subconscious level. Breathing out also means you don't choke on air if you get hit, which is most likely to happen when you yourself are hitting. Breathing is hugely important later in TKD, so develop the habit early!
  8. Ladysnap

    Ladysnap New Member

    This post brought back some memories. I started about 3.5 years ago and the 1st class scared the $#@ out of me. They might have been speaking a foreign language for all I knew. BTW, they spoke that foreign language for a few months before some of the words started sticking well enough for me to understand. I now wonder how I managed to stay in TKD, lol, but I do love it.
    I agree with Gnarlie, those foreign sounding words start making sense as you go along and your fitness level increases almost without you being aware of it. I still remember after I had been taking for a few months we had a new guy in class and after the warmup he was thinking of leaving because it was so hard. The thought struck me that I thought that had been an easy warmup....what a change from my 1st several classes.
    coolsox likes this.
  9. coolsox

    coolsox New Member

    Wednesday 4th December.

    This lesson has been quite a turning point. This is the first lesson that I have gone dressed in my sparkly white and pristine Dobok. Almost immediately other members started talking to me. I felt like one of the group! With headings coming up on Sunday the class was broken up into smaller groups to practice various things. Again, I hardly knew what I was doing but this time I didn't care. I tried my hardest, picked some things up and didn't worry about the mistakes.

    The most nerve racking part if the class was where we did a combined pad drill and kicking exceed. We all had to get into groups of three. I ended up with two very intimidating black belts! My first job was to hold the pad/ shield for the kicks and I was unprepared for the amount if power thus guy had. He literally sent me flying! He eased off though. Throughout this excersize I was dreading my turn, I thought I was going to look a complete idiot! How wrong I was. Both helped me enormously, gave me tips to improve and got me working a little harder with a loud Kihap at the end. I can honestly say that starting TKD has been the best thing I've ever done and am thoroughly enjoying myself. Can't wait for next class!
  10. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    That is great to hear, :):););) it only gets better. Sounds like you have a friendly club there, its really important to feel apart of the group/family. You have broken the ice in more than one way. Don t worry about your mistakes its going to be an information overload for a while, all these odd words that you dont have a clue what they all mean, but it comes in time.

    Train as much as you can with the Dan grades (black belts), red belts, don't ever be worried about them, they are there to help you and encourage you, as much as your instructor does.

  11. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Great to hear you're enjoying yourself and seem to be fitting in.

    Don't be intimidated by black belts, they are the safest people to train with, and it's only a colour of cloth representing a degree of understanding of certain techniques. It's pretty normal for a black belt to back off the power after a couple of kicks regardless of who is holding the pad, because taking the brunt of those kicks repeatedly is no fun at all. Power can be trained against a bag.

    If you can manage to kick and kihap with confidence at the same time, then you're streets ahead of many beginners already!

    Has anyone started teaching you patterns / forms yet? Or have you seen anyone practicing them?
    coolsox likes this.
  12. coolsox

    coolsox New Member

    We've started with the four directional punch on our first lesson. I found it difficult to co-ordinate at first, but now I've realised that essentially one foot remains on the same spot it's becoming easier. I just need to refine everything as my walking stance is always off and has to be corrected at each stage but I know that will come with experience.

    Also, without changing any eating habits I've lost six LB's after just 4 lessons. I'm extremely pleased with myself!
    Mark 42 and Gnarlie like this.
  13. Josh

    Josh New Member

    Hi Coolsox- congrats on all of this! Not sure if this will help any, but I started at 26, not 36...when I was in college I studied Kung Fu, got about 1/2 way to black belt, but left the school & thus the style. When I started it was DIFFERENT! (man those blocks hurt!) :) I stuck with it, I am now 30 and a black belt, & should be receiving my Instructor certification soon. You'll get it, everyone does- & it is funny when you put on the uniform, EVERYONE wants to know who the new white belt is! :) I found the "adults" are more likely to stick with it to Black Belt than the "kids" in my school, just because they are more determined...or stubborn :) I'm still with it for the exercise, not moving anywhere, & really have no reason to leave other than laziness :) Good luck, ask questions/clarifications if you just don't get a drill- LOTS of people would love to help you! Let us know how your first color belt test goes- it'll come faster than you think!
  14. Mark 42

    Mark 42 Member

    I still have nights where I mess up on holding pads - especially if my work day was mentally draining.
    The first time I went, the Dobok was included in the 2 week trial ($30). I felt like some awkward old
    guy standing around in a pair of pajamas. Now I'm just the awkward old guy, but I think even the
    cocky kids respect the fact that I haven't given up. They may laugh at my lack of coordination
    behind my back, but they notice that I work hard and I almost never miss class (3 days/wk).
    So keep going, and you'll continue to progress.
    A black belt is just a white belt who refused to give up.
    coolsox likes this.
  15. Hannu

    Hannu New Member

    We just try some tyo yop chagi, or jumping side kick, my korean is little rust.:p

    I feel so stupid, but luckily some red belt was feeling same, even some black belt did not do it just right.

    So just do you best and practice, it will be easy after some time.
  16. coolsox

    coolsox New Member

    First lesson back after Christmas. It had been over a month since my last class so was nervous again but as soon as the warm up started I felt comfortable again. This lesson was very mixed with lots of things that have not been covered before. I felt a little out of my depth and very self conscious at times but I'm very aware now that these feelings are only in my head. No one else is really paying that much attention!

    The last part of the lesson was pad drills and some kicking excersises. 3 kicks in succession, each one higher than the last. Front kick, side kick and hook kick. Whilst far from perfect, they are definitely improving. I don't fall over so much now! :)

    Grading for my yellow stripe is on the 8th March so it's all getting quite real now,
  17. John Hulslander

    John Hulslander Active Member

    Coolsox... thanks for posting this.

    Good hunting on your stripe promotion.

    A question for you. One that I am curious to know.
    You enter the Dojang and I presume there are a number of black belts present.
    What was your initial impression of the black belts?
    How about your current impression?

  18. coolsox

    coolsox New Member

    I was quite intimidated by them at first and the red belts. As both red and black both wear different coloured Do Boks they stand out. When we are asked to partner up I initially avoided them and tried to grab someone of a much lower rank. One lesson I was forced to partner up with two black belts and my whole perception changed! They where friendly and real helpful. Now when partnering up I try to grab a black belt as I find they will offer more help with my technique.
    John Hulslander and Gnarlie like this.
  19. Gnarlie

    Gnarlie Well-Known Member

    Good to hear. It's disappointing as a black belt if people avoid partnering you, or their reaction is 'oh no!'. I'm glad the BB's at your club are approachable and haven't forgotten where they started. It helps to dispel any preconceived ideas about what black belt means. You're doing the right thing to progress!
  20. Rugratzz

    Rugratzz Active Member

    Thats the way to go, its more like a little one on one tuition. To me if a BB wont partner a beginner, they are not worth much. Obviously there are times where the higher grades are doing something different than you, but in general training go for it.


Share This Page