My first encounter with Taekwondo was in the gym at 0630 in one of the mornings of the year 2008. Morning PT was an obligation for us and I was one of the squad leaders who needed to direct other US soldiers to do physical training every morning. We maintained a good rhythm; one day cardio and the other day muscle-up. And not to make this routine boring, we broke cardio into swimming and sprints. Also muscle-up into upper body and lower body concentration. All exercises are already described as in manual, and as good soldiers we were, we followed the manual precisely.
Sometimes we managed to alter this routine. There was a surprise intervention of this manual, which was martial art training. But surely, this martial art training wasn’t the authentic martial art as of religious or spiritual performance. It was modified as a combat mode, so theses classes were called as combat martial art training. We could choose between two options: Jiu Jitsu and Taekwondo, since in the very battalion we had a Taekwondo export and a Jiu Jitsu expert. Ju Jitsu lesson was for intermediate or advanced level, so I chose the combat Taekwondo which was for beginner level.
The very memory of mine towards Taekwondo is a bad morning breath and thick arms that threw me to the ground. I didn’t really like the training since it was a competition between two to beat down the other party. But one day after another, I also could manage to throw some bigger guys to the ground, learning techniques to unbalance them on the combat mode. Still I didn’t glorify myself from these advances, so I was the one who left as soon as the training ended when others stayed more for further practices.
Then this day I recalled these memories of when I learned Taekwondo, for I had a housemate who have been practicing Taekwondo for more than 16 years. The atmosphere he emitted was different than that of those bigger guys whom I used to combat with. The authentic martial art practices aim to learn the calmness and not to be distracted, and he showed me how those practices reveal on the daily life. I wouldn’t say that I’d assimilate my daily life strongly with his martial art practice, since there would be no correlation. Rather, I’d justify my curiosity towards learning martial art with this encounter. This encounter made me rethink of martial art in general, giving me more inspiration to retake those trainings again. This time, I’d go for Jiu Jitsu rather than for Taekwondo, for having a bit more experiences and expectation towards this martial art training.
Other interesting occasion is that last year an Argentine movie called Taekwondo was put on screen. I haven’t watch the movie yet, but I could guess from its trailer that how a martial art, which is perceived as a combat or tactic movement, evolves from rivalry to intimacy between the two parties. These two parties create a bond between them, with respect and expectation for the training, then this bond transmits to bondad (kindness, in Spanish).