Parking in America and Shut Up About Belts, Lady

Parking in America


Passing a kiss and ride lot at a school, Good Man wonders, “Why is is always ‘kiss and ride?’ Why is it never ‘hug and ride?'”


Passing a Metro station, Good Man asks, “What is ‘park and ride?'”

“Remember how we parked the car at the Metro station and then took the train to the Arlington courthouse to get married? It’s like that. You park. And ride.”

“So…why not call it ‘parking lot?'”


In a parking lot with tons of empty spaces I see a woman park directly in front of the store, blocking access to the door and say, “Does she realize that’s not a parking space?”

Good Man responds, “Oh, America! Parking lot land!”

Go Away, Brown Belt

We got a new woman in class today. For all of my complaining about where the women have been, you’d think this would be good, right?

I actually didn’t work with her at all. I got to class and my stomach was in knots and really hurting. I told Special Forces and asked him if I could work in the second room (a smaller room which usually isn’t in use). I told him I’d warm up and work on poomse. He agreed.

I ran through the first four forms and damn, I do not deserve my belt. Messing up on the first four forms? Having to turn to the book of forms I keep in my bag? Ugh.

Special Forces came to check on me after about 40 mins. He ran through some forms with me, told me everyone forgets sometimes. I know that, but il jang? Forgetting that?

I did end up running through all of my forms at least twice. Once I got to yuk jang, I didn’t really have any memory problems. No, then I started to run into “and how do we do that here?”

Even though I was working mostly alone, it was a great workout, physically and mentally. Physically, I was taking my time, sticking the landings, really working on it. I wasn’t just slopping through them. Mentally, it was exhausting because good kimchi! I should remember il jang! But it was also mentally demanding because I was suddenly noticing things I hadn’t noticed before. In il jang almost every turn is toward the side where you’ve already punched (right punch? Next move will be a turn to the right).

And then…class ended.

Apparently we have a new student. I’ll call her Brown Belt Wannabe, because dammit, that’s what she is.

In the course of five minutes she complained that she had earned a brown belt at her other school, so why couldn’t she come in as a brown belt here? Never you mind that she couldn’t tell you what system her old school worked under. Never mind that she didn’t know the names of her forms in English or Korean, but they did them to music. All the time. She had been in the national championships! (Whose national championships? Well, why should she be expected to know that?) She had medals at home. And why didn’t we just test her so she could prove her level? But don’t actually let her be a brown belt, because then we’re going to expect decent work from her! She had worked hard for her brown belt and she wanted to wear it, because after one class everything was too easy and in two or three more classes she was going to be very bored because it was too easy.


And I thought I had a hard time adjusting to a new studio. At least I did my complaining here and at home.

Poor Special Forces. Kwanjangnim is in Korea and he said, “Well, OK, when the school owner comes back, we can talk to him and—”

“Does anyone else come in at their old belt?”

Special Forces gestured toward me, “She did, but she got her black belt in So—”

“Then why can’t I?”

I left because I wanted to scream, It’s not about the belt, lady!

One thought on “Parking in America and Shut Up About Belts, Lady

  1. Comment from: Bob Patterson [Visitor] ·
    It’s easy to forget the lower forms if you spend all your time doing higher ones, or other TKD stuff. I still practice them once a week but learning kung fu is getting in the way.

    As for brown belt…

    It depends on your instructor and the style of TKD and school she came from. One of our former students had to start over after my school closed. One of my sabums had to start over under a new system and re-earn their belts.

    When our school was still open and I was assisting with teaching we ran into “brown belts”.

    Had one girl who just got her black belt from a school that was a cross between TKD and kick boxing. Consequently they did not practice step sparring and did not practice self-defense the way we did.

    Sabum v. II let her keep her black belt but told her she’d have to learn our stuff. After about a month of “we do it this way at my school” she got fed up and quit.

    Good riddance!

    07/01/09 @ 06:17

    Comment from: admin [Member] Email
    Yep–totally up to the discretion of the owner. But complaining about how easy class is at the end of the first night and basically whining and having a tantrum over your brown belt is a bit ridiculous. Especially when you don’t even know enough about your old style to know the names of the forms. Hell, if I were a school owner, I’d make her start all over, just to get her to understand that the point isn’t the belts. I think most people, around brown belt, should “get” that.
    07/01/09 @ 07:33

    Comment from: samedi [Visitor] ·
    I had never seen a Kiss & Ride until I traveled to Taiwan back in February, so I was probably just as interested in them as Good Man seems to be. My parents’ home in Olympia, WA does have Park & Rides, though.

    I know nothing about TKD, but it makes sense to me to start off at a slightly lower level when you join a new school. Then, over time, you can prove you belong in a higher level.
    07/01/09 @ 10:59

    Comment from: Katie [Visitor] ·
    What is a kiss & ride? I’ve never heard that term before. Is it different than a park & ride?

    Sir always tells us that belts are more about attitude than skills. Maybe the girl was nervous (I know I would be!) and that is, unfortunately, how she deals with nerves? Although I really don’t understand how you can spend enough time at your art to earn a brown belt and not even know what organization it’s affiliated with. She didn’t come from an ATA school, did she? I know they have Nationals and demo teams that perform/compete there and don’t really focus on the origins of the art. They tend to just teach the moves and test as quickly as possible, which is one of the things that drove Sir nuts about them. It’d still surprise me if she didn’t know that, though, since ATA stamps their logo on EVERYTHING!

    I hope either she settles in or gives up!

    I love having the time and space to go through all of the forms I know, and it is SO easy to forget or get stuck in ones you don’t work on so often. Of course, I can get stuck on my current form, too, so I can’t talk! =)
    07/01/09 @ 16:43

    Comment from: admin [Member] Email
    Kiss and Ride is something I’ve mostly seen at schools, Metro stations, and airports. It’s where someone is dropping or picking someone else up. The driver can park for a short period of time (usually up to 15 mins). So, I drop Good Man off, kiss him goodbye, and he rides the train. Apparently the term has been around since the mid 50s. I found this citation online:

    1956 Los Angeles Times (Jan. 20) “Transit Plan Agreement Smoked Out” p. 4: I believe we are going to have co-ordination between automobiles and rapid transit.…It will be park and ride or kiss and ride—where the wife takes the husband to the rapid transit line and kisses him good-by.

    I don’t know what organization she came from. The music thing tipped off another student. He thinks she was at a Jhoon Rhee academy. In any case, I don’t really have much respect for someone who can’t even tell you the names of their forms, who then turns around and bitches about how she deserves her belt.
    07/01/09 @ 17:42

    Comment from: Terry [Visitor]
    I just received news that I passed 2 단 test here in 여수. We did not have to do 일장, 이장, or 삼 장 for the test, so we hadn’t practiced them in a long time. Once in a while they have us doing 일 or 이 together as a class, so I try to practice them on my own because I mix up 2 and 3 endings if I don’t practice. It’s frustrating to forget something that you know you know. ^^
    07/01/09 @ 18:30

    Comment from: admin [Member] Email
    Congrats on passing 2단, Terry. :) I don’t know that they ever test any of the forms below 4장 for the black belt tests in Korea, actually. But still, I should know them. I’ve known 1장 since…oh, more than 4 years now. No excuse for me. :)

    (I HAVE forgotten the most basic forms from all of my studios–the ones even lower than 1장. I haven’t even learned them at this studio. But nobody cares about those since they vary from place to place and just seem to be placeholder forms.)
    07/01/09 @ 18:53

    Comment from: Terry [Visitor]
    When I tested for my 1 단 in 전주, they did 3 different poomsaes instead of 2. Sometimes they would do 3장 (I heard that they have picked 1장 and 2장, for the 3rd poomsae) So, we always practiced all the poomsaes. I didn’t learn any basic forms until after I received 1 단.
    07/02/09 @ 02:08

    Comment from: uchi deshi [Visitor] ·
    Cracks me up. It’s always the ones who don’t deserve it who are in a hurry. The students who earn their rank are not in a rush – they know they’ll get their rank when they deserve it and they’re smart enough to know that they’ll look stupid if they haven’t earned the belt they’re wearing.
    07/02/09 @ 03:35

Comments are closed.