Taekwondo: Kicking, punching, way of life

Kyle taekwondo

By Jae-Ha Kim
Decemeber 22, 2015

I have been meaning to write a new blog post for ages. But, there has been so little time to do anything else but work, take care of the family and, ahem, watch “Cool Kiz on the Block” (우리동네 예체능).

Last year this time, my entire little family was knocked out by something that Kyle brought home from school. First he got sick, then me and finally the husband. Kyle missed his holiday party at school and we had to cancel our annual family get together at our house.

This year, the only person who appears to be sick(ish) is me. And it’s not nearly as bad as before, because I’ve been getting a lot of rest and not overdoing it. ?

Yesterday, I was looking forward to sitting and playing quietly on my phone during Kyle’s taekwondo class when, all of the sudden, I heard my name called out. His taekwondo instructor was calling for me to join the class on the mat. TO EXERCISE. OMG.

Those of you who know me well know that I do. not. exercise. 

But, to be honest, the main reason I didn’t want to join them was because underneath the parka, I was wearing a PAJAMA top. Yup. I was That Mom that day. So, I could’ve embarrassed myself in my flannel PJs (but been comfortable) or sweated up a storm in my fur-lined parka. You know what I chose, right? Let’s just say my parka needs to be dry cleaned now…


I managed to do 20 (cheating) pushups and 30 (real) situps. Represent!

The thing that really impressed me, though, was how strong my son has gotten. I’ve sat on those benches watching him train in TKD for more than two years now, and I knew he was working hard. But, a lot of it looked like he was just flopping around and playing.

As his sparring partner (ha!), I felt exactly how strong his kicks and punches were. He didn’t hit me — I held onto a paddle that he kicked and punched. At first, I thought, “How hard could he punch?” Answer: HARD! He consistently knocked the paddle out of my hands, until I had to grip onto it tightly with both hands.

Over the past year, Kyle has had a few minor altercations with friends. More often than not, he has not fought back. I’m really proud of him for not resorting to violence. Despite his propensity for pickleness, he is basically a sweet kid who doesn’t like to hurt others. But, we have also told him that if he can’t run away from a bully (NIKEdo, after all, is the best martial art! ?), he should defend himself — and we will defend him.

I’m not delusional enough to think that taekwondo lessons will make Kyle the victor in a schoolyard brawl. That’s not how “street fights” work. But, I do think that if he fought back, the other child would shed a tear or two, too. And, sometimes, that’s what it takes to make a bully leave you alone.


While I have another Go Away With …” column set to run next week, this will be my final blog post of 2015. Thank you for following along with me on my merry journey. I wish you peace and joy in the upcoming year and can’t wait to see what 2016 has to offer. ?

© 2015 JAE-HA KIM | All Rights Reserved

Comments (18)

  1. Billie says:

    Good on you for showing them you’ve still got it! And 20 pushups, cheating or not, is nothing to scoff at!

  2. Allison Barto says:

    LOL! This made me smile. I lov eyour writing Jae and hope youll have time to write more posts liek this! I love Cool Kiz too! It’s addictive!

  3. Albert says:

    I loved everything about this piece. So many wonderful sentiments and emotions. I hope that your son stands up for himself. My dad used to say that if i hit a bully once and made him bleed, he would most likely leave me alone. That turned out to be the case. I was scared of course, but it worked out in the end.
    Happy new year, Jae!

  4. Anastasia says:

    I lvoe love love your blog posts, even moreso than your columns. Thank you for fighting the good fight and sharing so much o fyouself. Peace!

  5. Sandra from Tokyo says:

    Happy holidays Jae! Your son in gorgeous and sweet! And may those bullies rot in hell!

  6. Lauren Miller says:

    Merry Christmas, Jae!

  7. Tony says:

    Peace, Jae! Happy new year!

  8. Mary Chenoweth says:

    I wear my pajamas almost everywhere, I’m ashamed to say. I would’ve been sitting on the bench with you, but I would’ve pretended not to have heard when they called me out. 🙂 Or, I would’ve gone to the bathroom and not returned until class was over!

  9. Pat Lewis says:

    Wonderful post, Jae. Happy new year!

  10. Mike Kessler says:

    When I was a kid I’d punch bullies in the face with both fists at the same time – they always left me alone after that – and I became known as Crazy Kessler & Killer Kessler.(!)

  11. Dylan Thomas says:

    This post rings true to my life too. Merry Christmas to your family!

  12. David Sutherland says:

    Yup. My brother and I’s motto growing up was, “We may not win the fight but but it won’t be a bloodless victory for you.” And for the most part bullies want easy targets. Half the time there’s never any fists. Just stand up for yourself and usually they’ll look elsewhere.

  13. Jane says:

    I was teased and beaten up regularly until my older brother broke the head bully’s nose. There was talk of retaliation but they were all too afraid of my brother to try again. My kids all the self defense classes.

  14. Thea says:

    The sign of a great martial artist in my view one who deflects confrontations if at all possible. Your son sounds like a gentle soul. That said, I do hope that he will give as good as he gets if necessary. Blessings to your family.

  15. Jessica Walker Daniel says:

    Exactly what my kids have been told…

  16. Terrie Lynn says:

    This was a wonderful post…I really enjoy how you pack so much impact into such a short piece. The humor and the life’s lessons learned are powerful. Thank you again and have a very merrry Christmas and a happy new year!

  17. Mary Shaffer says:

    There is a lot to be said for children learning martial arts. Just think about it. Your son (or daughter) is being bullied, and the bully goes to push or punch your kid. With martial arts training, the reflexes of your son (or daughter) they just make a quick counter move to block the bully’s aggressive move …. even without even touching the other person. The bully will back down in a heart beat and your kid will be known as someone not to be messed with. I would love for my grandson, and granddaughter to learn martial arts!

  18. Mariette Poirier says:

    I agree and the child was well trained to deal with the bully. It does not take much to scare a bully, they usually cowards.

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