Head Shots & Escrima Sticks


DJ is amassing an arsenal of weapons.  When she started her taekwondo training, I had no idea that it included weapons.  Weapons training is only given to members of the “Black Belt Club”.  This club is invite only – I mean, if you are going to give kids weapons, you want to make sure these kids are focused, can follow directions, and have great self control.

Her first weapon was a sword.  While it is not real, it is made of red oak which is heavier than hell and can hurt someone.   They practice stabbing people.  They practiced defending themselves.  They practiced a 15 step form.

This week, they moved onto escrima sticks Friday.  These are two rattan sticks about 2 feet in length.  The assistant instructor and I were joking about rattan. And, how they could be cane each other, if they are not careful.  Watching how they use these things -someone is going to get hurt.  They goal is to do the strikes rapidly.  And, DJ is good at it already.  In fact, she was practicing them just today.  And, she kept saying “listen to the sound this thing makes when I strike the bag”.

She was sad, however, that they were not learning the nunchucks yet.  Yet, being the operative word.

Saturday morning, we had to take DJ to Oregon team practice.  She and four others from their school have been invited to practice on the state taekwondo team.  She was excited.  We were not excited because it was early on Saturday morning.  No sleeping in for us.

DJ practiced with the elite group.  She was excited.  Until her first match.

DJ is tall for her age.  She spars with older kids.  The problem?  Head shots are legal with the older kids. Head shots are not at her age.   A kick to the head is worth two points, so a spinning hook kick to the head is pretty popular.  As Dot found out.  Several times.

But, at least she was smart.  She adapted.  She moved out of the way if the kick was coming.  Her friend Brook was not so lucky.  He took it on the chin several times.

After the practice, Garbanzo and Brook’s dad chatted with the instructors.  What they found was that DJ is too young for it.  Brook – he is going to have to figure this out – because he is old enough for head shots.  As his dad said afterwards, he is going to have to stop leading with his face.

I always laugh at DJ afterwards.  She is literally starving.  She ate a giant cinnamon roll.  Drank a tall Starbucks blended drink. Drank all of the water in my 1 liter water bottle.  She came home and ate a banana.  She went through the cupboards and ate whatever else she could find.  It was quite amazing seeing her eat her way through the kitchen.  Especially since she maybe weighs 65 lbs…maybe.

Probably the coolest thing about the practice though was watching Mr Maria Vasile Nita – one of the instructors at her school who is the Romanian national TKD champion.  He is not much taller than me and is pretty amazing to watch.  He practiced with the adults – and WOW!  Finally the instructor took on the task of sparring him – and that was quite a match.  If you’d like to see him in action (he’s in red):

What do you think?

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