Challenges Of A Lock-In
There was always some medical need I was finishing that made me late for Taekwondo class. Tardiness was not tolerated. I had increased a whole bust size due to the extra 100 push-ups weekly.
This was our first lock-in. Our endurance level would be tested from 4:00 p.m.- 7:00 a.m. There was sixteen students from 9 to 45.
I put on my freshly starched uniform, grabbed the health snacks and dashed out the door. Everyone cheered as I entered the Dojang because I wasn’t late.
We could hear clanging and banging as the obstacle course was being assembled for our first challenge.
“Cha Ryut (Attention),” was abruptly spoken as we rushed into place to follow the command.
“Kyong Yet (Bow),” we all bowed showing our respect.
“Chung Bee!” rattled the floor as we took our ready for action stance.
“Kyap!” the Dojang was filled with the official yell of action.
“Shi Oh.” We took our relax and rest position as Mr. Stanford spoke.
“Welcome to our first Lock-in. Remember your three P’s. You’ve practiced for weeks. Tonight we’ll challenge you in the area of persistence and perseverance. We ‘ll push you to your limit but we will have fun doing it. We have the obstacle courses, the walking side kicks and the sparring competitions. You’ll function as a team, remembering the importance of self-discipline, high moral standards and a positive attitude.”
“Chunbe Sogi (ready stance).”
We could run the course twice and keep the best score. Bobby was the first one to crawl through the tunnel. He was the youngest and more than Roly-Poly. So much so we all stood in silence when he got stuck in the tube.
“Mom, Mom!” yelled a panicky little voice. All of the students called me “Mom.”
Getting eye level with him I said, “Suck in your breath, slowly let it out and reach to me with your right hand. Good boy. Now, the left.”
Looking at me with pleading eyes he said, “I’m still stuck.” My heart broke. .His dad was a military man and wanted him to be tough, while his mother tried to make up the difference.
“ I’m going to crawl in the tube behind you. When my hands touch your feet, pull forward with your arms and push your feet hard against my hands,” I told him in a whisper.
The group applauded and patted him on the back as he crawled out and raced on to the finish line. It ended with a double somersault and two rolls. Crunch! Oops! Bobby’s rolls weren’t exactly straight so he hit his head against the floor. I had followed close behind to finish my first run. I pulled a hankie out of my pocket, wiped away his tears and gave him a motherly hug,
Time for the repeat run came. Everyone figured Bobby would keep his score. But, not so. He started through the “tunnel,” the crawl over the high bar, the struggle under the low bar, the jumping over the tires, 6-foot reverse crawl, two somersaults, and two roll overs, while the whole group clapped and cheered him on. This time there were no tears, just a flushed, happy little face.
We all took a snack and bathroom break while they prepared the mats for sparring. Bobby and I were paired for the event since I was closest to his height. The cheering and clapping propelled him into giving his best effort. We had both had a real workout when Mr. Stanford called it a draw.
Wearily we both went over and slid down the wall into a sitting position so we could catch our breath and watch the second match. Within moments I felt his head leaning against my shoulder. String Bean brought Bobby’s duffle bag to use as a pillow. He was out!
My challenge was just beginning, 6:30 a.m. came none too soon. We took our final break before the medals were awarded.
“Bobby, hurry get up. Mr. Stanford is going to award the medals for last night’s events.
“I’m proud of all of you. With pleasure I present the medal for Endurance to “Mom.” The clapping and cheering made me feel warm inside. But, the look on Bobby’s face when he was awarded the “Best Sport” medal was the highlight of the evening for all of us.
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