When the idea of taking a taekwondo class first popped into my head, I was excited. And then, just as quickly, I was frothing-at-the-mouth anxious:
What if I’m really bad at it? What if it hurts my back? What if I’m the only adult there and it’s weird? What if I look stupid in the uniform? What if I don’t like it? What if what if what if…
I chickened out twice before I mustered up the courage to step into my local dojang. I signed the papers with sweaty hands, changed into my new standard-issue white uniform, pulled my hair into a high ponytail, and marched onto the mat barefoot to face my new instructor in the introductory session. When I looked around, I realized I was the only beginner signed up for the day. I was ready to turn around and scamper back into the parking lot, not keen to be the only person to do awkward jumping jacks and push-ups for my young, spry teacher’s amusement.
In the end, though, I managed to stay and get through that first class. And then another. And another. And another.
Four months later, I’m just days away from testing for my yellow belt. As it turns out, all of my initial worries about taekwondo were unfounded. Sure, my classes are hard and I usually leave looking sweaty and frazzled, but I can’t help but love the way I feel when I nail a complicated double jumping roundhouse kick combination; the Popeye forearms I’m cultivating when I block attacks; my newly-discovered power as I sweep the leg of an attacking opponent to take her down to the mat; the time spent practicing my Korean terminology with my husband at night; the way my bad back doesn’t hurt at all anymore; the ways I am becoming the strong and capable person that I want to be.
My Hubby came to the dojang in January to watch me test for my white stripe belt, my first advancement in rank. When I asked him what he thought of the whole thing, he laughed and said I had the hugest craziest smile on my face the entire time.