When traveling on business last week, I finally had a chance to meet one of my martial arts blogging peers, Gordon White of Blue Wave Taekwondo in Burlington, Vermont. I became acquainted with Gordon about a year or so ago when he joined the Convocation of Combat Arts. I grew to respect his opinions through his blog and the unpretentious opinions he's shared at CoCA.
Since beginning to write about martial arts , one of the thing's I've long wished to do was actually put faces to the names of my fellow MA bloggers. Meeting Gordon did not disappoint. After circling the block about three times, I realized that door between a couple of other businesses may be the one I was looking for - I decided to park and investigate. I walked up the stairs to the first landing of the nondescript building and realized there were many doors, and none of them said "Blue Wave Taekwondo." I decided to just hold still and be quiet. Still nothing. I went up another floor, around a corner, then heard what I was expecting, sounds of commotion and yelling. Rather ki-ap! I was on the right track!
After going down a hall, I heard an instructor using his "command voice" and then more commotion. I was able to catch about half of a tournament team practice that Gordon later told me were some final preparations to go to the nationals. I was impressed! Technique was sharp, intensity was high, and there was a camaraderie built by hours of hardship, sweat, and probably a little blood. I was warmly greeted by Gordon, then introduced to the class, and sat down to watch it all happen. Afterward, several of the competitors took the time to greet me with warmth and respect, a credit to their instructor and their art.
Gordon and I headed over to a local pub that he said had some of the best local brews and good food, too. We shared thoughts and experiences about TKD, self-defense, and martial arts in general, then Gordon gave me encouragement and some great ideas for the Convocation.
Perhaps of interest was Gordon's self-defense encounters being contrary to the oft-stated position that sport Taekwondo teaches you bad habits relative to using your hands. He related that in the couple of times he's "used it," he had no problem using kicks and punches. Granted, punching is rarely used in sport TKD, but it's still trained - and effective.
In summary, Gordon's devotion to his training, quality of teaching, and his obvious results make me happy to meet him, proud to know him, and I would strongly recommend his school to anyone looking for a good TKD education in the area.
Gordon, thanks again for your hospitality, and when I'm in the Burlington area again, will definitely give you a call. Maybe we can get Karrie out there, too.
Please click here to see photos of my visit.