Welcome to Sue's Taekwondo World

Posted by Sue Ricket Caldwell on February 10, 2013

My name is Sue and I am a taekwondo addict.

Taekwondo is a martial art developed in Korea. I first encountered taekwondo when my sons, then 5 and 8, became interested in it, in 1992. The three of us became students at Master Martial Arts Academy. After a few years, they dropped out. I soon had to quit as well, due to family responsibilities that made evening classes impossible.

In the fall of 2001, the company I worked for sold the business to a company in Waco. I became a contract programmer for the new company, working from home. I was delighted to find that I could now join the morning classes at Master Martial Arts, and have been a student there ever since. I progressed to first degree black belt (in November, 2003); then second degree (May, 2005); third degree (May, 2008); and fourth degree ( May, 2011).

Why Taekwondo?

I joined Master Martial Arts to be able to help my sons and as an interesting form of exercise. An asthmatic child, I had never participated in organized sports. In the company softball league, my position had been scorekeeper. Taekwondo was hard work. At first, I had difficulty breathing, and I had to literally count on my fingers to keep track of kicks or punches during a drill. But it was fun, always changing, always challenging. As I progressed, I took pride in mastering each new form, and was surprised and delighted with each board break in a test.

As I have aged over the nearly two decades, I have had to accept gradual physical limitations. The springs in my legs are sprung; I can jump up only a few inches. I admire friends who can jump up, twirling 360 degrees in the air and delivering a kick before landing; I get barely a quarter turn before landing, and must spin on one foot to complete the kick. But taekwondo is designed to allow for a wide range of capability. In South Korea, a group of women in their 70's and 80's perform taekwondo demonstrations. In Fort Worth, I watched a girl who is legally blind compete in a sparring tournament. At 65, I am the oldest active student in our school. I accept that there are some activities I cannot do, and others that I cannot do well. But there are many activities that I can do, and some that I can do very well; and I can coach other students even in activities that I can't do. And most of all, it is fun!

My Activities at Master Martial Arts

My obsession with taekwondo has led to several sub-hobbies. The first started with my filming the semi-annual black belt tests, starting in early 2003. I made copies of the videotapes for my friends. This has now progressed to the point that I am the official videographer of the school. When my old video camera died, my husband got me a high-definition video camera, and I am able to produce DVDs that showcase each student, including stop-action shots of each board break.

My memory has never been great, and is gradually getting worse, so I wrote notes on each of the forms (groups of movements) that I had to memorize for class. Someone noticed and asked for a copy. This led to my Guide to Master Martial Arts, which I shared with any students who wanted it, in early 2007.

What we needed, however, was a training video. When I first came back to Master Martial Arts, there was a videotape available for students, but it was incomplete and had "elevator music" for a soundtrack. Master Um never found time to make a replacement. My new camera gave me an idea, and I got permission to make two training DVDs for the school, one for color belts (to replace the old videotape) and one for black belts (which we had never had). I recruited our best students to perform. I wrote the scripts, filmed, directed, and edited. In early 2009, I released the expanded Guide to Master Martial Arts for Color Belts, with accompanying DVD, and the Reference Guide for Master Martial Arts Black Belts, with its own DVD.