Tae One on

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Ithink it’s only fair to warn you that many of this city’s youth are being trained in the ways of Eastern violence: Tae Kwon Do. Be careful.

My friend Ryan (you know — Aaron’s brother) is involved in Tae Kwon Do, which, he explains to me, can be broken down as follows: “Tae” means “kicking, jumping, and spinning foot;” “Kwon” means “hitting and blocking with fists;” and “Do,” of course, means “a deer, a female deer.”

I went with Ryan one night to the U.S. Institute of Martial Arts, which is right next to Stater Bros., which I think is a good place for a martial arts school. Ryan’s class is technically a mixture of kids and adults, but it was mostly kids the night I was there. There was one woman, but she was short, so she fit in. She was kind of amusing, that woman. Here she was, doing manly, testosterone-related things like kicking and hitting various solid objects that no sane person would ever kick or hit, but she managed to retain her femininity by squealing in a high-pitched manner when she did it, instead of yelling “Eeeee-YAAAA!” like the Incredible Hulk undergoing painful dental work, which is what all the males sounded like.

The first order of business was to read aloud the Student Creed, which mentioned such things as strengthening confidence, keeping friendships, and building a happy community. Later, I asked Ryan how Tae Kwon Do could help build a happy community, and he said (I swear): “If a mugger came up to me and I kicked his butt, I’d be happy.” So we can see that Ryan is taking his Tae Kwon Do every bit as seriously as he should be.

After the Creed reading came what Jane Fonda’s low-impact workout would be if Jane Fonda were an unintelligible Korean man. The master would tell the class what they were supposed to do, but they made no motion toward actually doing it until he demonstrated it for them. Then they would all nod repeatedly as if they had just suddenly had a major realization and say, “Yes, sir.” After they finished each little exercise, they would say, “Thank you, sir.” But do you think he ever said, “You’re welcome”? Of course not.

During the exercises, I started to get bored, and the master, at least to me, began to resemble Richard Simmons, which is funny, because Richard Simmons would not last two minutes in that class as a student, because he would always be telling everyone to move their buns. So to offset my boredom, I began to look at the various items posted on the walls. One of them was one of the master’s resumes, which gleefully informed the reader that on November 1, 1966, that particular master “performed Tae Kwon Do in front of the U.S. President LYDON B. JOHONSON.” I was mightily impressed, and I started paying attention again. But by that time, the class was over.

Oh, yeah. There was a 5-year-old kid in the class named Chris Deiter who was really cute and funny. He’ll be lethal by the time he’s 10. His mom told me to mention him.

Chris Deiter is more than 10 by now. I wonder if he's killed anybody yet?

The part where I explain what "Tae Kwon Do" means ("'Do,' of course, means 'a deer, a female deer'") is still terribly funny to me. I hope you feel the same.

Oh, and in case you're not from around here, Stater Bros. is a chain of supermarkets, and I think they're only in California. Just so you know.


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