What Circle of Hell Does That Place Me In?

Text message to multiple people sent around 10:30 tonight.

Some crazy “blind” man is walking through the CROWDED number 2 subway cars. I want to push him. How evil does that make me? What circle of hell does that put me in?

Because of space constraints, I didn’t mention that he was screaming-singing in tongues. While hitting people in the legs and poking people in the butts with his cane. For a blind man, he was remarkably good at getting the perfect spot on someone’s butt.


Tonight’s taekwondo class was good. Sabumnim the Man is a good instructor I think. I was running with the last group of students, so it was Amanda Eonni, her little brother and me. While the two lines of students in front of us had to sprint the floor twice, he told us to do it only once. No way. I am not a child. I can do two sprints (even though I hate sprinting with a deep passion). He thought I didn’t understand, but I well understood. He tried to catch me and I said, “No, I am an ajumma,” meaning, “I am not 9 years old. I can do this.” But I used the lowest form of Korean. Ugh.

He grinned and said 화이팅! and I went off. When I returned I said, “And, I’m sorry. ‘I am an ajumma.'” This time I used the correct form. He grinned.

Last night he showed me a different method to finish off Koryeo. I was laughing inside. This man just watched me get a poomse certificate and now he wants to change my form? But I’ve gotten used to new instructors and slightly different methods, and rather than fight it, I’ve decided to tuck all those stylistic things under my hat. Besides, his method makes the ending feel more powerful.

Last night I worked on poomse a bit with Amanda Eonni and her brother. They’re both red belts, so they should be testing for black soon. But they are so sloppy and lazy! And I don’t mean typical childish laziness, I mean…ugh! Amanda Eonni was doing scissors blocks with open, floppy hands. She was doing the weakest punches ever. It was making me crazy.

I dragged her to the edge of the studio and said, “You are 1 gup! Why are you like that? You don’t want a black belt?”

She shrugged and I suddenly realized I had gotten myself into giving a pep talk. In Korean. Paging Amanda Teacher. This just in. You’re an idiot. But I’d already jumped in the deep end. I said to her, “You’re a 1 gup. You don’t do scissors block like this. You need to have power! Be strong!”

When a senior is speaking to a junior—especially for a scolding—the junior does not make eye contact. She was looking at her hands and shrugging. I decided to switch tactics. “Little Sister…we don’t have many girls here. Only [Crybaby Gold Medal Girl] and me. I want a sister.” Then I remembered she has a sister, who’s also 1 gup. “I want your sister and you.”

She shrugged and we went back to our forms. But this time around, she did put more effort into them.

After class tonight, Master showed me how to do formal big and little bows. For the big bow, women place their right hands over their left hands at just under eye level, elbows out to the side. Then they slowly start to bend their knees. In one smooth, slow movement, they slide one leg in front of the other (I suspect the right leg, though Master said it doesn’t matter; I will check with his wife), cross at the ankles, and sink all the way to the ground in a crossed-leg seated position. You lower your hands (I’ll have to check how much) and I’m sure you lower your eyes, too. You then get back up without touching your hands to the floor.

I was wearing…well-fitting jeans. Rather than sink to the floor, I plunked to the floor. And then I looked at Master. “일아날 수 없어요.” I can’t get up.

Luckily, Master couldn’t either. Guess I still have my “Amanda, you very Korean” credibility.

Next Friday, Master and his family, Sabumnim the Man and I are going out for dinner and soju with Master. It was my idea. I sent him a text message, “우리는 새남자사범님하고 소주를 미셔 야해요. 그럼 우리는 친구가 될 거예요.” He laughed and agreed and set the date for next week.

We should have soju with New Man Sabumnim. Then we will become friends.