Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I Found My Kihap in Korea

by Elissa Maynard

Since I was a white belt, I have always struggled with finding my own kihap or martial cry. With a variety of training and cultural experiences, it was this pilgrimage to South Korea that allowed me to leave with a bag full of treasures, to include a newly found kihap and a warrior spirit.
Training at Geumgang Taekwondo with Master Ryan Ahn

Treasures in Jeju Island:
I left Jeju Island with confidence and sense of great appreciation after visiting the Fist Tower.

Treasures from Bulguksa & Golgulsa Temple:
To remove the clutter and appreciate what really matters. To not waste or take anything for granted, especially my body.

Treasures at the Taekwondowon:
To always have joy when I train, teach, and practice Taekwondo. There was an abundant amount of joy in the instructors leading us in what seemed like coordination and stamina building exercises. Then to balance that experience with a class by Master Cook was even more so inspiring because I see his love and passion for Taekwondo and it too is infectious. Taking a class from Master Cook at the Taekwondowon was amazing. It was fitting to have him teach us there.

Treasures from Master Ryan Ahn:
It was in his dojang that at the end of a form I did a kihap and it was a sound I had never heard and a release from within I had never felt before. It was on my birthday that I got the greatest gift of all… The kihap I had been searching for since white belt. This is a moment I will never forget.

Treasures from the Kukkiwon: 
To always appreciate the root and the foundation. To stand where many masters have trained was an honor and I am forever humbled.

Treasures from Grand Master Kyu-hyun Lee:
To garner tradition, foundation, and pay attention to detail. I will heed the advice he gave Timothy: To always keep looking forward, to keep training hard and to never give up, and of course to come back and visit him.

The Korea 2014 pilgrimage was one of a lifetime and I will be forever changed. I finally found my kihap!!! The color of my black belt changed on this journey just the same as my Taekwondo spirit!

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