Ex STEELE MARTIAL I
Over the course of three days during morning PT, the officers of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) engaged in a new form of personal unarmed combat that was a first exposure for many. Lead by Captain Kim and his assistant instructor Sgt Cimon, we learned the basics of Taekwondo.
We were first introduced to the Martial Arts Code and respects shown to instructors, learning the Korean phrases for ‘coming to attention’ and ‘bowing’. The first day of lessons consisted of a vigorous warm-up followed by exposure to various kicks and punches used in Taekwondo. We were able to grasp some of the punches fairly quickly; however, several of us found out how inflexible we were when trying to conduct front kicks and round-house kicks. Hilarity ensued when those of us uncoordinated in the balance area attempted hook kicks and face-planted.
The second day of training was spent putting into practise what we learned the first day. We paired off with a partner and held kick-pads up for the other in order for them to place appropriate kicks to the pads in succession. We learned quickly that what appears to be extremely easy when done by the professionals on TV, may not be so easy without the training or experience, and that utilizing the correct technique amplifies the effect given by mere blunt force. Prior to engaging actual targets in full force, we practised our technique by squaring off against an opponent in a fighting stance and attempting to use the flat of our hand to hit ‘scoring zones’ on select areas on the other person’s body including their shoulders and feet.
Our final day involved something completely different. We conducted a variety of exercises that were geared towards improving reflexes, balance, stability and positional awareness, among many others. Through a variety of footwork, shuffling, partner mirroring exercises, falling methods and backwards/forwards rolls, we again learned how inflexible the majority of us were. The lesson concluded with a brief introduction to some self-defence techniques to be used in a variety of situations.
In the end, the officers of the Regiment enjoyed their short, but educational, introduction to the Martial Art-form of Taekwondo. Unarmed combat is a basic soldier skill that could prove to be life-saving in a combat situation and we are all better off for having been exposed to this. We look forward to taking part in Ex STEELE MARTIAL II in the future.