I’m writing this weekly #13 with surprisingly little pain in my right hand. For it is only two days ago that I broke a pile of 기와 (grey roof tiles) in one blow. Undoubtedly the most memorable moment for me of the big demonstration we did with Team Namchang, on the occasion of the 26th anniversary of the dojang.
It is one of the most deeply rooted traditions of the dojang to celebrate the passing of another year and all the sweat that has flooded within that time, with a huge show of taekwondo mastery. An exhibition of the dojang’s power and capabilities. A source of inspiration for acquainted masters who came and saw. And for me an unforgettable experience, mostly.
We had been rehearsing the performance daily, for weeks, because the grandmaster is very keen on delivering a spectacle for everyone who comes to congratulate him with the anniversary of his dojang. And those are not just the guy next door and his family, I’m talking about his fellow extremely-high-dan-holders, all masters of respectable dojangs themselves. Also, some of grandmaster Kang’s earliest students, who I know by name and face, but who are too busy being professors and instructors now, could make it to the demo. I even had the honor to invite three guests myself: a Dutch family that I got to know via the embassy.
All of this attention couldn’t get us out of our zone and the demo went even better than expected. The moment my nerves took my heartbeat on a bumpy ride only came at the very ending of the show, when I was supposed to break something more heavy than wooden boards for the first time. I had asked for six pieces of roof tile, because I had seen the grandmaster’s daughter break five and she is a beast. But as I was piling them up, the grandmaster stepped up to the microphone and said “Give the guy one more.” I was shaking on the inside, but of course I couldn’t refuse because that would be doubting the grandmaster’s supervision. I got one minute to meditate, while the grandmaster introduced me to the audience, who were not familiar yet with the blond guy amongst his students. And right before I struck through all seven, I thought of the supporters who contributed to my second training period here and who will now get their own piece broken roof tile, signed, as promised. Thank you!