To say that USC Taekwondo was a big part of my college life is an understatement.
For 5 straight years since 2001, my office was just a warehouse for TKD gear, posters, and practice schedules. Work was just a space between school (also a space sometimes) and Taekwondo. My lunch break often involved teaching Taekwondo to the neighborhood kids. 5:00 is the beginners class, when I taught. 6:30 is the advanced class, when I was taught. Then there was team practice, referee training, the demonstrations, fund-raising, the tournaments, the roadtrips with the team…
There was a brotherhood…the kind you feel when you are about to go into battles alongside with someone, facing guys who are hell-bent (and trained) to see you knocked down on the floor bleeding through all holes.
Then there were always the old-schoolers…who said the color of the blackbelt was from the blood and sweat drying on it. There were also the kids. There were the fat people from USC who we worked into shape, one push-up at a time. There are still many fat people at USC, but I’d like to think we put at least 500 of them in shape.
I’ve walked far away from that place – that time – that mindset now. But USC Taekwondo – that was home, for a long time.