Sunday, 2nd, October, 2011.
Another closed day up the mountain due to rain. I went to the gym early and had a mild work out. I have been working on my balance recently, I spent 6 minutes standing on the large blow up ball, turning my torso slowly and keeping balance.
In the evening we went round to David’s for a meal, Jun was cooking and kicking and ordering Kim around. Their landlord had given them some venison and Jun had diced it up and added it to a Korean noodle and rice dish. It was almost like a western stew.
To my surprise and interest I found out that Jun was also a 4th Dan tae kwon do instructor. Showing interest we managed to talk with the translating help from Kim. Soon Jun was on his feet and teaching me about speed kicks. He bounced around nimbly showing me his double sidekicks. What I found interesting is how a martial art such as tae kwon do has changed into a sport.
For instance in Thai boxing with the side kick you bring the leg round with the whole of the body’s weight and slam it into your opponent like a single unit, where as in TKD the side kick is much quicker, you bring your knee up straight as if to perform a front kick then at the last moment you turn your hips and knee and snap out your leg into a side kick. There is much less power in it but its fast and therefore in the game of point scoring TKD it is more effective.
Jun talked about how up until very recently Japanese pop songs where banned in south Korea, he said how he used to listen to them secretly. ” Why where they banned?” Tomo asked ”1945” Jun said loudly. Everyone laughed ”sorry sorry” Jun said reaching out to Tomo while everyone else kept laughing.
I suddenly became aware of everyone’s ethnicity, we had South Koreans, Taiwanese, Mainland Chinese and Japanese people at the table ( and one English ) I was aware that it wasn’t long ago that these people would have been mortal enemy’s inflicting horrific crimes on each other.
Sarah’s grandfather was executed on the street by the Japanese and Jun was definitely old enough to remember when the Japanese invaded Korea, not to mention the hatred between the national Chinese party the Guo ming dung who battled with the communists before fleeing to Taiwan, slaughtering communists at the port before shipping out to Taiwan to invade and take over. But now everyone was laughing and joking about it, even with all the heavy hateful propaganda which I know is in mainland China and which I have heard is also in Japan and South Korea. But I suppose it’s not dissimilar to an Englishman joking about the Nazis with a German.
I remember in Yang shuo China a bar was owned by 2 Israelis and an Austrian, they were forever joking about concentration camps and the holocaust. For some the smallest crime will be remembered forever but for others who can forgive and realize that past generations mistakes are not the fault of the present generation then I suppose you can joke about anything.
Jun spoke about his time in the army as a diver and paratrooper, this man has done everything, I thought in admiration. We were all very surprised to hear he didn’t have a wife and children. ” Free as a bird” he said laughing.