Taekwondo "A new beginning"
by Lee Thurston
(Morecambe , England)
Hi, my name is Lee I'm almost 45 very overweight around 19 1/2 stone, and around 10 weeks into my walk along the taekwondo path.
It has been full of highs and lows and all in such a short space of time.I have to say that like a lot of people I have read articles on , I got into it via my daughters participation. Both my girls had done TKD before and had reached green belt then for one reason or another gave it up, that was about 5 years ago. Then out of the blue my youngest girl "Ebony" decided she wanted to take it up again, which we were happy for her to do, though this meant i would have to drive her there and back.
Well that was the best decision she could have made for her, but better still for me.For her first two weeks I drove her there and sat and watched her train for around 2 hours then drove her home.The whole time I was sat there I was thinking that really looks like fun, hard work but fun none the less.
On her third visit i must have sub-consciously decide I was going to give it a go, as I changed into jogging pants and baggy t-shirt, and truthfully I hadn't decided to give it a go.
But as the class took their lines, I also took up my position at the back of the class, boy was I scared but so excited too.
As a beginner I was separated from the coloured belts along with one other and we were put through a warm-up and stretching routine that lasted about 30 minutes.Believe me my body was screaming at me, telling me to get out of there. Thankfully, I ignored my bodies protests.
We then went on to practice basic stances, blocks, punches and kicks, before being taught 17 basic moves we would have to remember to reach yellow tag when grading came along. I picked up this pattern of moves very quickly and really enjoyed the positive comments coming from some of the black belts.
We finished the evening with a gentle warm down and I felt like I was on cloud nine, role on next week.
The next week was pretty much the same apart from the fact I injured the soft tissue around my back which limited the amount and type of training I did for the next few weeks, but I didn't allow it to put me off and I improved my fitness and my technique over the next few weeks to be encouraged to do my first grading.
My first grading, and I wasn't nervous in the slightest, I was confident in my pattern although not fully sure what was expected of me. Of the white belts grading there were 6 of us, 2 adults and 4 children of similar ages. We were asked to do various basics and one or two things we had never done just to test our ability to adapt and learn. Then came time for us to perform our pattern, which we went through 4 times, twice to the count of a black belt, then twice in our own time, for me this went very well.
Lastly we had to do some sparring, this is where I thought it had all gone wrong for me. Around 30 seconds into it as I evaded a kick from my opponent and tried to counter I tore my calf muscle and sprained my achilles tendon. I fell to the mat in agony and was helped to the side so the others could continue.
For the next hour or so, I watched other grades do their belt tests including my daughter re-grading for her green belt, and the whole time thinking I had failed mine. At the end of the gradings we had to take our lines to be told how we had done starting with the white belts. The master read out the names of the other 5 students telling them they had passed, at this point I was feeling very down but still happy for the others.
The master then went on to say the reason he didn't read my name out was because I had impressed him so much with my attitude and technique that I was to be double graded to yellow belt, and honestly at almost 45 years old I nearly broke down and cried. For all of this, I have to thank my daughter, and I suppose what I'm really trying to say, is that if at my age my size and my lack of fitness I can achieve, then anyone can.
Thankyou for allowing me to write this on your site.
Lee Thurston Lee,
Your story is so incredibly inspiring that it brought me to tears. Your master is a truly wise and loving practitioner of the art. Thank you so very much for sharing your story. I hope it serves as inspiration for millions of others who are considering walking the path.