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Remember what I said about snow not falling too heavily here?  Yeah, woke up this morning and there was a couple of inches on the ground.  No clue if my brother got home (though given that the last update was 10 hours ago and basically stated grounded flights and delayed trains…doubt it) and was once again painfully reminded that my boots are no longer waterproof.  Thankfully it mostly melted away throughout the day and I managed to get to Taekwondo without too much trouble.

But horror of horrors, there was a grading on Sunday, and much like Monday I found myself spotting a distinct lack of blue belts.  Nearly all of my higher belt classmates have been moved into the Tuesday/Thursdays classes since ours is only for white to blue belts, and that means I’ve gone from middle of the class, right up to the top.

To be fair, it’s not the first time.  About 2 years ago I was at the head of the class for a while, but then all the green tags went up to blue belts, then to blue tags, and I was happily demoted to the middle of the class where I had little responsibility.

I hadn’t actually realised that there was now only maybe 1 or 2 blue belts left, and now there was a good chance I’d be leading the class at least once a week.  Which meant greeting the teacher, and reciting the tenants.  The tenant I’ve been reciting every class for the better part of 4 years – I’ve got them down almost pat.  Greeting the teacher…not so much.  Mainly cause you have to do it in Korean.

Monday was a nightmare.  I realised the other blue tag had no idea what to say, and I had seniority so the job was mine.  Frantically grabbed our handbook and started looking up the words with the help of other classmates (all getting into tongue twisters trying to remember what was said).  It also isn’t made any easier by them being so hideously similar.

Basically, the Korean is:

Assistant Instructor: Boo Sabum

Instructor: Sabum

Master: Sahyun

(I was also a little worried that our other teacher, who is an Assistant Instructor, would be taking the class, because history states that I cannot say Boo Sabum.  I have tried – the last time I was senior member and she was our teacher, I was actually demoted and replaced by a lower belt because after 5 tries I still couldn’t get it out – a fear that was unnecessary this time at least)

Essentially, you begin the class by stating ‘charyot’ (attention), INSERT LEVEL OF TEACHER nimgeh (respect for teacher), kyong ye (bow).  If you’re nervous or edgy, you can sometimes get away with mumbling – I got away with it on Monday when I honestly could not remember if the right term was Sabum or Sahyun (it was Sahyun), and they thankfully sound similar enough that I passed inspection.

Didn’t get away with that today though.  My Master actually called me out on it, and I had to admit that I couldn’t remember the exact terminology for his rank (insert deep, humiliating shame here).  The other blue tag thankfully helped me out, and I got through the rest of it with too many hitches.  Then I panicked when he said to run in a circle – everyone was to follow me but everyone was just sort of standing there confused.  I paused, and my teacher urged me on, making it clear that I had to take charge since I was head of the class.  Think in his own way he was trying to build up my confidence – I’ve been passed by a lot of people who received yellow belts when I received my green, and I’ve been in the class so long without a grading – but it just put me on edge for the warm up.

As it was, this treatment soon stopped when a blue belt walked through the door – the snow had delayed several people, and they wandered in within the first ten minutes to pad up what had been a small class, and performed my much more confident task of telling the class to bow to the senior member – in English.

After class, spoke to the blue belt, and turns out he’d had to guess the Korean for the end of class too – only he managed to guess it correctly!  So with that in mind, I’ve dug out my handbook and kept it at my laptop’s side to brush up on the lingo.  Considering how bad my terminology is, this is probably for the best.

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