My Dobok Arrives – Tuesday 7th November (Korean Accounts 2000-2001)
My taekwondo suit (dobok) arrived today. When I arrived at the dojang some excited boys were shouting, ‘dobok! dobok’ and holding their arms wide. Obviously the suit had been put on display for the amusement of the kids but I’m not bothered as I’ve become a little hardened to being the center of attention. Mr Bae let me change into it in his office but a huddle of boys stood watching me through the Perspex windows which looks onto the training hall. Politely, the boys held up their bags to stop any girls seeing me. The suit fitted fine and when I left the office half the school surrounded me to pull the material and help me put on the belt.
I actually hate the period just before I have to leave to go to the dojang as everything aches, my stomach, knees, thighs, even my buttocks. I’d much rather go home and relax but I have adopted this state of mind where I am resigned to accepting the pain of training. I totally commit myself to the will of the instructors. As there are no beginners’ classes and I am the only white belt, I ended up training with everyone else: Spinning kick, flying kick or jumping kicks, I attempted them all. We even had to do a running jumping kick during which we thrust out both legs parallel to the floor and touched our toes. I must have looked a sight as twenty odd stone doesn’t do such a technique with any finesse but as I said, I am beyond embarrassment.
Nana had a woman friend call around the house one evening. Her name is Po-yeoung and she is very nice company. She brought some dried squid with her which we toasted on the cooker, cut into strips and chewed with beer. It is rather like fishy jerky.