This morning was the beginning of The World Taekwondo Hanmadang 2016! First thing in the morning, we went straight away to Kukkiwon to catch the first events. Our club grand master and master were both competing in the poomsae (patterns) competition for their age group. Some people scoff at the idea of poomsae as not being very practical but I think the proper way to think of it in taekwondo is that these patterns are like a “living textbook.” If you practice them regularly, you will practice the full range of techniques with the complete range of motion. I would contend that practicing patterns is actually just as useful and important as sparring (fighting).
Aside from poomsae in the middle area, there was creative team poomsae – choreographed to match a musical score at the far left and at the far right there was jump snap-kick board breaking. The boards used for this type of breaking are relatively thin. In this challenge, it’s not about power so much as height and accuracy.
Outside the stadium, there’s a taekwondo market with various vendors selling merchandise so a few of us went out and took a look before going back to our rental house. I had some ice coffee and bought a nice blue polo shirt. The vendor that was selling the sporty polo shirts was also giving away some sort of refreshing health drink. I have no idea what it was but it tasted great and I sure appreciated it. In South Korea, sometimes a shopkeeper will give you something extra as a freebie and tell you, “Service!” in English.
When we all gathered up at the house again and had freshened up, we went down to Gangnam subway station and took the train to Majang station. From the exit at Majang, we still had to walk about 10 minutes to get to the Majang Meat Market.
We ended up purchasing some beef at this place. In markets like this, there are usually many different vendors showing their products at ground level. You pick what you want and they take you to their dining area in another area or on another floor. That’s what happened in this case. We were brought to a dining area on the second floor and proceeded to have a yummy Korean beef BBQ meal. The highlight of the meal was definitely the beef sashimi – yukhoe (육회 / raw beef).
From our late lunch at Majang Meat Market, we had to rush back to the opening ceremony of the 2016 World Taekwondo Hanmadang, which would be already starting by the time we got back! Oh well. You need to make the most of a short trip to Seoul and pack in as much sightseeing and eating as possible.
The opening ceremony features some amazing displays of high flying , acrobatic taekwondo board breaking set to dramatic music. It’s incredibly dangerous and injuries occur quite often (usually from landing) with this discipline.
Later on, we went to a grocery store in the neighborhood to get some groceries for dinner at our rental house. A delicious variety of dishes was prepared by a few great cooks and quickly consumed by all.
At the time of posting, I’m already at Day 6 of the trip! I’m very sorry about the posting delays. Last few days I’ve been busy and wiped out with little energy left to write at the end of the day. I hope to completely catch up on posts once the tournament wraps up! That’s all for now!