Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hapkido Competition

So as some of you may remember, the beau and I were invited to partake in Korea's National Hapkido Competition a few weeks ago.  If you don't remember how it all started you can check out my post here.

I'm not gunna lie, I went into this thing with a good amount of confidence.  For starters, Master Sim decided that I should take part in the kicks and falls portion of the test.  This meant that I didn't have to learn 24 new self defense moves.  One point for Tawny.  I was also informed that I'd only be competing against other women and that none of them would be masters.  Two points for Tawny.  Master Sim even said that he thought I might actually win a medal in the competition.  Little old moi?  Wonderful.  I love medals.   Three points.

Chris kept asking me how I was feeling and I was actually quite apathetic towards the whole thing.  I wasn't really nervous, nor was I very excited. I was just happy that I didn't have to compete against men my age that could quite literally kick my ace and take my name.  

Oh... wait.  What was that?  Master Sim was completely wrong?  I did in fact have to compete against men?  Yeah.  I was not a happy girl.   Turns out, we waited at the competition all day for me to compete.  We got there around 9am and I didn't compete until around 4 in the afternoon.  Throughout the entire day we kept an eye out for any women around my age who would be my competition.  We saw a few here and there but none of them really fit into my category.  When my name was finally called I realized that I was the lone girl standing amongst 14 men.  Big men.  Men that have been studying Hapkido their entire lives.  Men that looked like this...
Needless to say, I was a wee bit worried.  Worried because it looked like there was no medal to be had.  Worried because it was the end of the day and everyone and their mother would be watching me compete.  Worried because I had no idea what the eff I was doing... and worried because this girl's got a little bit of dignity left on her.  Dignity that she prefers to not be battered and bruised.  I pretty much had to suck it up, try not to cry, and embrace this once in a lifetime experience.  I was also comforted by the fact that most of these people I would never,ever have to see again.  Whew.

And you know what, all things considered, it went pretty well.  Everyone was ridiculously nice and I had quite the cheering section.  Old men were giving me high-fives and the younger kids were patting me on the back and telling me "good job".  I was nowhere near as amazing as my competition, but I'm pretty proud of the fact that I even competed because to be honest, I was inches away from just withdrawing.

So what did I learn from this experience?  I learned that a lot can be lost in translation with Master Sim. I learned that Korean people are extremely generous and kind.  I learned that hapkido competitions are intense and extremely long.  I also learned that I can be a brave little toaster when I need to be.

And look, I DID get a medal!

Photo credit to Corey Jolley and Dr. Staudinger.

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