I signed up with the Tae Kwon Do, 4th degree blackbelt instructor Bob Tremblay, in Uranium City, Sask., in the early ‘80s. In doing so I acquired a Yellow Belt.
I remember the harsh discipline when he asked the class of 12 to run around the gym in squat position and 50 push-ups on our fists. He said – if you cannot do it see the door? Don’t come back. I was still in my late 30’s and was able to take the drill. We engaged in sparring although we used protective gloves and footwear.
One day one of the candidates forgot to put on his footwear and as he turned to spar with me he accidently pushed my second toe from the big toe into the socket of my foot and it hurt very much. Now I can feel the arthritis when it gets cold.
The course lasted two years and a workout twice a week. By the time the course was over, my muscles were like steel. In fact, I used to jog two miles a day and won’t get tired easy. Tae Kwon Do is a great martial arts and defence.
Before sparring with your partner, you touch your fists, bow, and say “to me”. This shows courtesy and then you can begin sparring. There are many self-defence techniques that can be used if one is attacked … push up on the base of the nose and they will release the hold. You can also clinch both fists and hit both temples at the same time. This is only done when your life is in danger.
When Eldorado Mines shut down I found work in Taber. My work partner and I were working on an old rusty pipe one day and he was more concerned about the pipe than me. I had a notion to tie the heavy stepladder with conduit as a precaution. Meanwhile, he let go of the ladder and I flipped over head first into a 4’ x 4’ space between the steel beams. Luckily, there was a foot of water in the pit as the sump pump wasn’t working that day. This cushioned my fall, and I think Tae Kwon Do saved my fall. At the time I was also wearing Our Lady of Mount Carmel Scapular; I believe this saved my fall as well. The factory had a bad safety record because a worker who was working on tanks slipped and fell, breaking both legs and was in a wheelchair for life.
Recently, I had two knee replacements. I don’t do drill exercises anymore, but I continue with 1,000 repetitions of physio phases 1 & 2 twice daily and feel great.