As my 2nd degree black test edges closer and closer I find that my mind is not just focused on this but on what I might do next. I'm ready for Saturdays test and feel I could pass it today if need be but there is something else. After getting this belt there will be a relative ceiling on how far I can progress rank-wise so I'm thinking of looking into taking up something new. I find hapkido both enjoyable and challenging but to some extent there has been a lot of repetition over the past two years and I continue to wonder how far I can go with it past getting my 2nd dan. I do not want to stop hapkido this year but I have been thinking that some time around March or May I may stop going. I certainly doubt that I will be training at night when the summertime comes around again in 2010.
Over the past few months I have had the thought running through my mind that perhaps it could be time to take up taekwondo. There are a few hapkido gyms (dojangs, 도장) around where I live but there are lots of taekwondo dojangs within a twenty minute walk from my apartment. With nearly two years of hapkido training I believe I could pick up the basics without too much hassle. I have been told by a few people that it is mainly kicking but I find this hard to believe. Reading up on taekwondo over the internet, several sites claim that many of hapkidos kicks are derived from taekwondo so I would have a nice head start if this is true. It would be very interesting to find out more on the sport as so many people grow up studying it in Korea. Many of my past and present students have learned it for years. It is far more popular than hapkido and it is rare on a week day to not see some kid on the street wearing a taekwondo uniform.
Is it possible to train in both martial arts at the same time? Time-wise, yes. I train at hapkido at night, after work. I start work at around 4pm so after then it is not possible, but before then I would have plenty of time. Money-wise there is no problem. I pay 80,00won a month at hapkido and would imagine something similar for taekwondo so that's easily manageable. One potential problem would be that IF I trained early (I can't define early other than being before 4pm) then I would probably train with a bunch very young students and that would not be ideal for both me and the instructor. Perhaps there are some very early am classes where only adults train. The big problem of course would be finding someone who speaks decent enough English to train me. I believe it to be possible as somebody I knew when she was in Korea studied at a place very near where I live and told me that her instructor spoke English. I think I will pop in one day and ask a few questions.
Let's think about the up-side of doing both together. Surely learning taekwondo would compliment my hapkido, leaving me more flexible and maybe stronger. Fitness-wise it would help. I need to lose a few kilograms and hapkido alone isn't always an intensive workout. Studying taekwondo would help be exercise more and perhaps be a little more self-disciplined. A wonderful bonus may be that I would actually be tired before 3am and get more sleep. Of course one of the factors running around my brain is the prospect of picking up another black belt but this time in another martial art. Back home, picking up a black belt would take a lot longer than here where I would be getting expert guidance. My feeling is that it could be an unmissable opportunity. At the very least I would be learning something new and meeting new people which can only be a good thing. I ask myself, is it possible to study and train in both hapkido AND taekwondo at the same time? Much to think about.