Why chairs ruin taekwondo careers

This week was my first time to be in Korea during Seollal (설날, Lunar New Year). Traditionally, Koreans spend this holiday with their families. This gave me a rather lonely prospect, as the entire population of my dojang would leave to their families and my own family is a 5000-odd miles away. But instead, these days made me realize again that Namchang Dojang is a family, my family, too. The ones whose families live close enough to let them leave their binge tv-watching assembly (which happens to a lot of families), actually did and spend some time with me. And as everyone considers Namchang a family, we spend one day of Seollal all together. The common family ceremony, the younger ones bowing deeply for the elder ones, getting a little envelope in return, was conducted. Great to be part of this all; Suwon does feel like a second home to me now!

During the time I did spend alone, I did what I usually do when I’m by myself: rethink stuff. This time I had another eureka-moment as to why Koreans are so fit for taekwondo. I’ll spoil it right away: it’s the fact they lack chairs when they grow up. Koreans are perfectly used to sitting on the ground for vast amounts of time. At home, in restaurants, even at work, chairs are just unnecessary. I was genuinely surprised they had chairs in the cinema over here. Scientifically, the lotus position is the one a human body can remain seated in the longest without getting tired. 1+1=2, Koreans have adopted this position from early age on, which explains their super flexible inner thighs for the bigger part. 

That’s something more people might have noticed, but no-chair-advantage no. 2 is less obvious. Sitting without the back support that chairs have, asks for a lot of effort from the lower back muscles. It’s the first part of the body that gets annoyed when you sit on the ground for a long time. In the dojang, when we have to listen to someone who is higher in rank, it is utterly rude to move a limb during his speech. 1+1=2, Koreans get a extremely strong back muscles just because they have to sit and listen a lot during their childhood.

Once again, I just thought that was an insight to share with the world, but it doesn’t demotivate me at all. If my back requires more exercise, so be it, I will train it until I drop to get it on the same level as the Koreans. In fact, I’m going to do that right now. So far for weekly #15, until next week!

Korean tradition.

Korean tradition.


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