Morning Class

Morning taekwondo classes are held at our school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 to 10. They are open to adults and teens of all belt levels. Attendance varies from 2 to 12 students; of late, we typically have 6 to 8 students. A number of men have been students in the morning class; currently, only one attends regularly. As third degree black belt, I am now the Senior, stattioned in the front right position to serve (not always well!) as a model for forms and exercises, and am expected to lead the class when Master is working with one or a small group of students or when he cannot be present.

No two classes are alike, but there are some elements that are generally present. Of course, we stretch out before class begins. We salute the flags (of South Korea and of the United States) and bow to Master before and after class. We generally do warm-up and cool-down exercises. Sometimes, we work on forms -- sequences of movements designed to teach specific martial arts skills and techniques. During much of the class, we work with a partner. We may take turns kicking or punching a bag; the partner not kicking or punching counts out the specified repetitions. Often, we practice jumps, kicks, etc., aiming at targets held by our partners. We also practice self-defense techniques: for example, what to do when both arms are grabbed from behind.

What I really appreciate about these classes is that everyone is very supportive. We are competing against ourselves, not each other. We all cheer each other on at belt-level tests, and help each other to learn new techniques.

Open Class

Open classes, as the name implies, are relatively unstructured classes that allow students to practice sparring, work on forms, prepare for belt tests and competitions, etc. The open class is held on Friday afternoons, currently from 6 to 7. I attend whenever I can. Sometimes I work on forms; other times, Master assigns students for me to teach. Currently, I am spending most of each open class preparing for my fourth degree test.

Other Classes

Master holds kids' classes in the afternoons, Monday through Thursday. Kids are divided into age groups, but include all belt levels.

Adult/teen classes are also held in the evenings, Monday through Thursday. Some of these classes are specialized; for example, Wednesdays include grappling sessions, and I believe Thursdays include sparring. But all the classes also include the general curriculum studied in the morning class.

A few years ago, Master Um opened a second studio, Gym Kick and Box. It proved too expensive and time-consuming to run both schools, so he moved the fitness equipment from the Gym into Master Martial Arts, and now holds kickboxing/fitness classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings from 9 to 9:45.