My first ever taekwondo lesson

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed some taekwondo-related links appearing in my link log over the past few weeks. The reason for this is that I’ve been trying to find a sport to keep me happy, fit and occupied while I’m in London. Surfing and snowboarding are great, but not very easy where I live.

I’ve been a member of a gym for the past couple of years, and have been through phases of going and slumps of activity that most people experience with gyms. A few weeks ago, though, I went to a couple of Body Pump classes and found them so soul destroying that I’ve found it hard to go to the gym since. Body Pump is amazing for getting fit, I’m sure, but it’s totally without meaning and requires no skill. It felt like a waste of my life. You might argue that gym membership as a whole is like that, but I find that working out alone, on a treadmill, or doing weights, is a calming, meditative experience. It’s just not terribly rewarding in itself.

So, all this led me to think I should take up a sport. I considered basketball, as I used to play that at school and really enjoyed it. I found it hard to find a place to play, though, that would accept beginners. And I instinctively wanted something that was quite structured, while helping with body strength, balance and flexiblity – all things I need for surfing and snowboarding. This led me to seriously consider martial arts. As a child, I went to a few judo classes and enjoyed them. Now, though, I’m less inclined towards the wrestling. My mother is a keen advocate of tai chi, and it’s done wonders for her, but I thought I’d like something a bit more aggressive. I did some research online and read about different martial arts and decided that taekwondo sounded the best match for what I’m after. Coincidentally, Sarah practiced taekwondo for years as a kid, reaching a good level and only stopping when exams made the committment too difficult to sustain.

Last night, Sarah and I went along to a taekwondo lesson and it was brilliant. The lesson only lasted an hour, but it gave a good workout. The teacher got us to warm up and then taught us some basic moves – kicks, punches and steps. It was incredibly relaxing and really challenging – just what I’m after. My strength and felxibility needs a lot of work, but a lot of the moves felt quite natural and I think I could really enjoy this martial art. My body is seriously tired today, but I’ll be going back for more!