October 13, 2015

Taekwondo - 6 Side Effects

I'm on the far left, and Emily is the blue belt in the center.

Well, we've hit the 8 month mark!  I just had another double belt test last night and my Dad got some pictures, so I thought I'd share them and some side effects of my TKD journey so far.  See, when you get to the higher colored belts you have to decide whether you're willing to work hard, or going to coast at your current level till you lose the excitement.  I was fit and motivated enough to get to the higher belts (blue and up at our Dojang) without much effort.  Now that I'm here though, it takes much physical exertion and exercise outside of class to improve.  When you reach this stage, TKD becomes a big part of your life.  So. . .

1.  You polarize people.  Inadvertently, you spend your spare moments and thoughts on some area of TKD.  You want to talk about it all the time.  Some people you will learn to keep a tight lip around so as not to drive them nuts.  Others?  Well, they happen to be your best friends and you convince them that martial arts is the best form of exercise out there or teach them how to break boards.  Some of them start Taekwondo for themselves. :)
Helping kids tie belts is actually quite rewarding.
 2. Faster reflexes (a.k.a. ninja skills, in the vernacular).  Usually it is increased ability to swat and kill flies with your bare hands.  Other times, it looks like realizing that kid number 2 is knocking over a heavy coat tree and catching it before it lands on kid number 3, all while not dropping the diaper bag, purse, or kid number 4.  SO many tears avoided this evening. #babysittinglikeaboss

Hand combinations
 3.  Flexibility/stretching.  All the time, everywhere.  Even though I used to shake my head at those girls who always walk around in workout clothes or yoga pants, I've started to embrace the culture.  I'm flexible enough now that "regular" pants don't allow me to stretch out my hips as far as they need. Wearing stretchy pants means I can get deep stretches without having to change my clothes.  It's like keeping your instrument out of it's case.  Half the battle of practicing music is getting the instrument and music out.  If it's out, you will play.  If you are wearing the appropriate pants, you will stretch.

This certainly isn't my best front kick, but it's the only one in a picture. :)
Taegeuk Yuk Jang
 4. Pain = Conditioning.  You know that whole "weakness leaving the body" saying?  I've never understood it, but pain has definitely taken on a new sort of sensation.  Scrape my hand?  Conditioning.  Stub my toe? Conditioning.  Bonk my head?  Conditioning.  Crazy out of breath from Ultimate Frisbee?  Conditioning.  At least I don't complain much anymore. ;)

That hair flip, though.
Board breaking is addicting.
5. Laundry.  I already mentioned the yoga pants, but it goes farther.  Sports bras, Doboks, tank tops -- all manner of athletic wear makes up probably 50% of my load every week (and most of it is air-dry only!).  Dobok pants (let's be honest, the whole uniform) are not flattering, but my new uniform is a little better, and the more you use it,(sweat in it and wash it -- *cough*)  the more comfortable it gets.

6.  Your definition of "Feeling good" changes.  I still love a book, a blanket, cider, and a fireplace, but it's not what I run to when I'm feeling down anymore.  Exhausted, mentally spent, in pain because of aunt flow? Go to the gym.  Things worth having take effort and hard work.  I realized after a particularly lousy personal performance last week that I was going to have to focus and work hard to grow.  I realized simultaneously that my spiritual life was in the same state as my body.  I was trying to coast by on past achievements and relax.  I felt like I had "arrived" (at who knows what), but in reality I had a bad attitude.  My walk with Jesus Christ is only as good as I want it to be, and it takes effort on my part to stay engaged.  Hard work and struggle leads to growth, and that makes it the best feeling in the world.
A photo posted by Joanna Webber (@josnazz) on


  1. Wow...I have thought about learning martial arts/self-defense - and getting fit - many, many times, and your post is definitely inspiring! :) It's awesome you've stuck with it and got so far in a short time!

    1. Do try it! If they don't have Taekwondo in your area you can also look into Karate which is very, very similar. There are like 180 different martial arts and they all focus on slightly different things.

  2. I know who I won't be planning to scare any time soon! That picture of you board breaking looks pretty serious! :) I've wanted to do martial arts for a long time but after seeing your post I don't know. It looks pretty tough!