My first serious art. Who was the first real inspiration? Tekken 2’s Hwoarang. After all, which 13 year old boy who was bullied in middle school did not want to be a badass like the guy who wore motorcycle leather gear, had bleached hair, and fought in underground matches for money? The high kicks in the video games and the super athletic maneuvers to achieve his objectives. Of course it would attract a kid with low self confidence and a mountain of restless energy. I could be like those guys in the Olympics! I could be like Hwoarang, fighting in the streets for money! I could be a badass biker who beat folks up and didn’t ask questions. But mostly, I just wanted to be able to walk around without fear of other human beings.
I pushed myself hard during those first two years. At least, I pushed myself hard by my teenage standards at the time. There were some other major influences, to be described in a future post, but for the most part, I had bought into the methods and approach that my teacher at the time showed me. My body was still relatively new to any intense physical activity with a goal of strengthening my body and helping my mind focus, so of course I spent the first few months in a constant state of soreness, sometimes to the point where I could barely walk with the right posture. Looking back, and utilizing what I have learned from my time toiling at the “Art of Punching and Kicking”, as my teacher at the time called it, it has been sneakily beautiful, both in application and in how it has affected my approach. Learning to be accurate, fast, and non-telegraphic have been the biggest key takeaways from application perspectives, and learning to be symmetrical in training has been the key takeaway. Now, to get off of my martial arts nerd platform, Tae Kwon Do is an excellent art to start your journey with, especially if you were a kid in need of self belief, and it’s easy to find. It could be a lifelong pursuit AND a great bridge to others :).