Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Reflection of My Taekwondo Journey from the Perspective of a Brown Belt

by Sienna Lee

Taekwondo.  It’s not merely a hobby or a pastime, nor is it simply a sport.  Taekwondo is an art form: a way of life.  Over the course of my martial arts education, I’ve learned that fact.

              Everyone remembers what it was like in your first white belt class.  The “purest belt”, you were most likely intimidated by the other belts, staying quiet, doing as you’re told, and trying to absorb all of the wisdom and knowledge that you could in one enlightening
session.  However, one thing hasn’t changed since that first day in the dojang: you’ve never stopped learning.  By no means will you ever get to a point in your Taekwondo life where you sit back and say, ‘Ok. I’ve learned everything that there is to know about Taekwondo’.  No matter what dan you are, what belt…you will continue to learn.  Taekwondo is an
infinite teacher, and we are its eternal disciples. 
But do not let this discourage you, for even great masters are always perfecting a simple, yet at the same time, complex, middle punch.  This is what is so incredible about Taekwondo, it is a learning experience that can be a lifetime journey.   

              I never thought I would get to where I am today. On my first day as a Taekwondo student, I watched all the other pupils in awe, stunned by how coordinated and precise the dance-like moves were carried out.  I saw the other belts and thought, how will I ever get there? Will I be able to do it? Now, I see, that anything is possible when you have the right teachers, and the masters at Chosun Taekwondo Academy provide me with all the information and wisdom I need to become the best I can be.

         I remember when I was first being taught the basics of Taekwondo, one of the rudimentary things that you learn as a Taekwondo disciple is how to Kihap. When I was being instructed, the master very kindly told me to yell when I carry out a movement. “That’s called a Kihap. Eventually, you’ll get your own sound when you Kihap, but for now, it’s a yell to express strength.” When the master said that, I was thinking, “Wow. I’m going to get my own sound in Taekwondo”. For quite some time I thought  that one day I would Kihap in Taekwondo and a different new sound would come out. I now know that that was not what the master meant. What she meant, was not that I would one day sound different, but that one day I would achieve the confidence to yell as loudly and hard as I could, demonstrating my assertiveness in the art of Taekwondo. This progressive assurance in the craft makes it special.

              No matter who you are, how old you are, or where you are, Taekwondo is always there for you.  It is a universal art.  From the moment you remove your shoes to the time you put them back on; once you step into the dojang, you know you’re at home.  But do not be fooled, Taekwondo is not for everyone.  It takes courtesy, integrity, perseverance, self-control, and indomitable spirit, as stated in the Five Tenants of Taekwondo.  Let’s break these down, shall we?

Courtesy.  In other words, politeness.  Taekwondo is all about pride, and that comes with being polite and having respect towards others.  Remember, you represent your Taekwondo academy everywhere you go, so you want to be the best you can be, always.

Integrity. Having strong moral values and beliefs is important to be a good student at any Taekwondo academy.

Perseverance.  Rising through the ranks in Taekwondo doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes perseverance to stick with the art and not give up.

Self-control.  Taekwondo isn’t an excuse to go pick a fight with someone.  It shouldn’t be used to provoke an attack against anyone, self-control helps diffuse situations. 

Indomitable Spirit.  Tying in with perseverance, one must be brave, confident, and never give up.

              One of the best things about belonging to an academy or dojang, is that you’re never alone.  You will always have a family, you will always have someone there for you. To encourage, push, and test you to perform to the very best of your ability.  To see the other students train is an inspiration to me to train harder.  Whether I look to a white belt to observe how far I’ve come, or to a black belt to contemplate what I have to look forward to and work for, every student, Master, and Grandmaster inspires me.  This is what it’s like in the Taekwondo family, there is always someone to support you.

              When test day comes, a mixture of emotions punctures the air and creates a unique aura cloud floating above the heads of all the eager students. Anxious, nervous, excited, proud; adrenaline helps balance the uneven scale of feelings overtaking our already busy heads. When it finally comes to carry out our poomsae, perform our break…we’re ready. We know by heart what is expected of us, and this is evident by how we perform. There is no better feeling in the martial art of Taekwondo than knowing that you did your best and are rewarded with the esteemed promotion from belt to belt, dan to dan.                                                                                                        

         Looking back, I see that although I have learned a lot from the experienced masters at Chosun Taekwondo Academy, I still have much to learn. As long as I continue in Taekwondo, I will never stop learning. Each class brings new lessons on how to correctly carry out the art, acquiring new knowledge

         As a Brown Belt,  I look forward to being taught new techniques in Taekwondo. I hope to continue Taekwondo as long as possible, because I not only learn defensive techniques, but I also learn life skills that will help make me a successful person in the future.

         I’ve progressed a lot from that timid White Belt way back last November. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Yoga at CHOSUN " Once a day"

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center 62 Main St. Warwick NY 
"Once a day"
If you are a regular yoga practitioner, it is almost certain that there will be something in class that you will find difficult to do. Who doesn't run into limitations when it comes to flexibility, strength, balance and endurance? Even the most proficient among us are not exempt! What do you do when you hit these barriers? One solution is so simple, most people don't even think of it! Why not commit to doing whatever posture that is offering you a challenge once a day? Even if you can't do the position at all, there are always modifications and then you can move on from there.  You might be surprised at the change!

Join us and practice slow and steady progress...

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center
62 Main Street Warwick, NY

Class Schedule:
Tuesdays     9:30am
Wednesdays     6:30pm
Saturdays     9:30am

First Class is Free

$15 per class / $130 for 10 classes

Yoga at Chosun "I Surrender"

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center 62 Main St. Warwick NY 
"I Surrender"
Everyone is familiar with the expression, "put your hands up."  This universal cultural gesture of the hands up with palms open means one thing...
I Surrender! What a coincidence that in yogic thought, the very same gesture is the mudra for giving and receiving; or taking in what you need and letting go of what you no longer need.  Many of us have at one time in our lives developed defense systems that have served us only to realize that the very habits that protected us now imprison us. In our yoga class this week, we will practice surrender by going deep into our own center with the support of our breath and the community of fellow practitioners.

Join us and release your burdens...

Chosun Taekwondo Academy & Hatha Yoga Center
62 Main Street Warwick, NY

Class Schedule:
Tuesdays     9:30am
Wednesdays     6:30pm
Saturdays     9:30am

First Class is Free

$15 per class / $130 for 10 classes


Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chosun e-newsletter Archive volume 6 #11 November, 2015

On the Horizon
Wednesday November 25, 2015
5:30am - 6:30am
The autumn season is gloriously upon us and Thanksgiving is knocking at the door. Join black belt instructors Jake Garrett and Hal Pyke for our 17th annual Harvest Sunrise

Meditation/QiGong Class. This mindful, special session, for teens and adults only, is aimed at focusing students, friends and community members on the goodness of life rather than merely the hectic preparation for the holidays. Begin your holiday with a calm and focused mind. ALL WELCOME / NO CHARGE / NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Email us to reserve a spot at:, or call 845.986.2288.
Join the event on facebook! See you there!

Read entire newsletter...
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"Mrs. Pyke Eats Korea" Woo-Ri Market

by Pamela Pyke
published in the Chosun Taekwondo Academy November 2015 e-newsletter

206 Pegasus Ave.
Northvale, NJ 07647
Open 7 Days    8-9pm

     Just a fifty minute drive from Warwick, NY is the absolutely fabulous Woo-Ri Market. This is where I shop for all of my Asian Cooking needs. From Kimchi, fresh fish, produce and meat. This is a Korean foodies dream come true.

     When you enter, grab your shopping cart and head to the right. You will find a traditional yet modern Korean Bakery. Beautiful pastries, bread, and cakes in a European style yet so Korean. Eating Asian style baked goods, you experience a more delicate and sweeter taste compared to traditional western items. Yummy custards are stuffed into all different shapes and size of pastries. You must try the Korean style Pullman Loaf. It makes the most amazing toast. It’s Wonder Bread that looks like a work of art.   Across from the bakery is a really nice sushi bar if you are in the mood. I usually am!
     Continue walking and you will see a Korean hot food to go counter on the left. Unfortunately it has never opened. There are photos of all of the great Korean dishes, similar to a Chinese restaurant.  I have yet to see anyone operating it and on my last visit they were stacking cases of water along the front of it.
     On the right is the Mandu House.  Mandu are Korean dumplings.  They are amazing. Usually a choice of Kimchi or pork filling. Grab an order on your way out and enjoy them greedily while hot in your car!
     Bon Chon Chicken is next. Korean fast food at its finest. Deep fried and smothered in a hot pepper paste.  Super gooey and very spicy.  KFC on steroids. Must be consumed with beer.
     At the end of this aisle we arrive at Ban Chan and Kimchi heaven. Every Ban Chan is fully prepared to take home and serve with your main course. Ban Chan are the small side dishes that come with a main entrée; Jap Chae, Korean Potato salad, Sautéed Greens, Acorn Jelly, Sautéed Bean Sprouts, and of course something pickled.   The Kimchi counter sells many types of Kimchi.  Water Kimchi, Radish Kimchi, Cucumber Kimchi, and good old Napa Cabbage Kimchi.  You can buy it by the pound or take home a gallon bucket.
    Now we enter a beautiful produce section. Here you can buy large bags of soy bean sprouts for traditional Korean Hangover Soup; Kong Na Mul Gook. The Mushroom section is a dream, Enoki’s Shitake’s and the giant King Mushroom. Giant Kings are the Filet Mignon of the mushroom world.  They are a perfect vegetarian option when grilled.  My favorite item is fresh Ginseng.  This is a must for Ginseng Chicken Soup, Samgyetang.
I am not sure what I love best; the fish department or the meat department.  The Meat Department sells only meat but it is prepared to be cooked for Korean barbeque. The Beef is pre- sliced for Galbi and Bulgogi. The Pork Belly is ready for Bosam or sliced thin for Samgyeopsal. This is amazingly convenient but worth the premium price.
 The Fish Market is as expected, clean and bountiful.  If it isn’t alive in a tank or spitting at you (Conch), it won’t be sold. Only the freshest fish is acceptable. I love that you can bag you own shrimp, clams and Octopus.  You can buy Sushi grade salmon and ahi and many types of roe. 
     In the center of the store is the packaged grocery items. Great deals on Vinegar, Soy sauce and sesame oil. Aisles with a huge variety of seaweed or just ramen noodles. This is where I stock up on sesame seeds and my half gallon tin of sesame oil. Great prices on nori sheets and onigiri. Also, you know the little seasoned toasted nori rectangles you buy at ShopRite for a dollar per package? You can get these here in bulk (12-24 pack) at an amazing savings.
The frozen food area is filled with every kind of dumpling and shu mai imaginable. Here’s where you will find fish cakes; Eomuk.  I love Eomuk.  It is a processed food made from ground fish, squid or shrimp. You can add it to soups or serve with spicy rice cakes (Tteokbokki).
     Check out the Home Goods Department next.  Here’s where you can get your own table top grill for making Korean Barbeque. You can also find the beautiful brown glazed earthenware pots called Ttukbaegi. Perfect for making steamed eggs or soup.
Before you check out; there are fresh rice cakes near the registers.  This is a dessert for a traditional Korean meal or served with tea. Beautifully made and so delicious.  They are soft and chewy. Some are sweeter than others. I try a different one each time.
On the way out there is an area with Korean cosmetics, women’s clothing and jewelry.  Also fresh flowers.
     If you decide to come down to Woo-Ri for a great shopping experience, have an idea in mind about what you want to make.  Bring a list. It can be a little overwhelming at first. More and more items have English labels, but many do not.  As in most Asian Markets, you should wear a Jacket.  They are almost never heated.  It’s freezing.

Just a quick tip….I found another web site that I love.  This site is about educating people about Korean food.  Check it out.    
Haengbog  Meogneum

Pamela Pyke