Sunday, April 28, 2013

전국 학생 종합무술대회

Let's break that down:
전국 (jeonguk) = national (全國)
학생 (haksaeng) = student (學生)
종합 (jonghap) = combined (綜合)
무술 (musul) = martial arts (武術)
대회 (daehwe) = competition/meet (大會)

Today, I went to Ulsan to watch a martial arts competition for students from Ulsan, Changwon, Pohang, and surrounding areas. It was my first time in Ulsan, although I spent the entire day inside the gym watching the competitions take place. There was a lot going on, and all of it simultaneously, like a track and field meet. It was extremely interesting, exceeding my expectations, since I kind of thought that I would have to babysit all day or something. Instead, I wandered around the gym and watched all sorts of exercises, demonstrations, and sparring matches. I also took photos when the students from my gym competed.

We were there from 9am-3pm, not including three hours of transportation, so when I got home, I was pretty tired. But it was a great experience. I got to talk (in Korean) with 관장님 (the director and teacher at my gym) all day, and I learned a lot more about taekgyeon and about martial arts in general. It makes me wonder if I'll ever be good enough to compete in a 무술대회 myself... Who knows?
All of the competitors. The white-clad kids in the back do taekgyeon (택견); red and black uniforms are for hapkido (합기도), and the variously-colored kids closest to me practice kumdo (검도), if they're holding wooden staves, or kickboxing (킥복싱), if they're wearing t-shirts. From what I observed, I have to admit that hapkido and kumdo are more exciting to watch than taekgyeon, but at least taekgyeon is older than both of them and has that "ancient tradition" thing going for it.
The man refereeing this taekgyeon 맞서기 (sparring match) is the 관장 of my gym. I haven't really learned how to properly spar yet. But even though these kids are already black belts, I bet that if I were pitted against them, I could just pick them up and toss them out of the ring. They're so little!
Taekgyeon kids and me. They aren't camera shy in the least! Towards the end of the day, when everyone was losing steam, they started to crawl on me and use my phone and camera, etc.

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