Sunday, May 17, 2015

Impromptu Tae Kwon Do Lesson

I went to the river this morning to do some Tae Kwon Do as I occasionally do, and as I was finishing my basic kicks a girl of about ten years old started to imitate what I was doing next to me in the field.  She was excited by the movements of the jumps and turns and wanted to do them as well.  I smiled at her and she immediately pulled off her socks and shoes and left them with her mother and came right over to me.  So we did some jumping jacks and counted to ten (in Japanese instead of Korean) and then I showed her how to do a front rise stretch (forward swing kick) and some punches.  I thought that would be enough so we bowed to one another and I spoke with her mother for a second in the very minimal Japanese that I have saying that I was a cellist.  This little girl was also learning to play piano.

And they walked off and I started back into my own practice with a series of kicks and after only a few she was back next to me, hungry for more.  She just couldn't get enough.  So I taught her a few more basic kicks.  Side kick, roundhouse, inside swing, just the basic idea of each, mostly through gestures.  I just kept working with her until she seemed to be full.  And then we bowed again to one another and I saw her go off to the knoll that rises from the bike path along the river and I managed to continue my practice while she was distracted by the flowers.

And then she was back again!  Only this time with a gift, a wreath of flowers.  I put it on and she corrected that it should go the other way.  So she taught me to wear the crown she had made for me.

The last time this happened to me with Tae Kwon Do was in a park in Cincinnati with two African American women who wanted to do sit-ups with me.  Something shared in these people, those two women, this young Japanese girl, some ability to share themselves so openly, and what a gift it is.  Thank you.

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