Obese, Muslim-American woman has fallen in love with TKD
I am in my early 30's and weigh in at 248lbs. I have been getting out of breath climbing stairs, which is new to me. Recently, I had to roll myself off of the couch which was a wake-up call that things have gone too far for me!
I enrolled in a beginners 2 session taekwondo course at a Dojang in my area. I went home to hem my size 7 dobok the night before my first class only to find that the pants cut in on my inner thigh. I was so disappointed. I had to rush back to the Dojang the morning of my class to get a size 8 uniform and get it hemmed before my class.
The final product hangs on me terribly and I feel like an overstuffed sumo marshmallow but I sucked it up and went to the class. I felt really out of place since my jacket comes down to my knees and my already larger body was way more puffed up with the Dobok on, but I figured that if anyone was going to laugh at me for looking silly, they would be frowned upon for being disrespectful in the Dojang. I am also a Muslim woman who doesn't normally cover except for during prayer or when I'm at the mosque, and my jacket made me uncomfortable so I was quite self-conscious with whether or not I had the right t-shirt on and if I was protecting my modesty enough.
I was dripping with sweat after my first training but wasn't super in pain like I get after personal training sessions on those machines that I loathe at the gym. I felt like my muscles were finally AWAKENED. I felt so good. I survived my first class and my muscles were reacting to blocks and kicks almost instinctively on the first night. It was a very empowering experience for me. It was also very spiritual for me. The mind, body and spirit connection is very powerful.
I thought maybe I was too big and too out of shape for taekwondo but I'm convinced now that I've just found the most mentally and physically challenging workout imaginable for me, plus I had fun. I HAD FUN using muscles I didn't know I had and wearing my sumo marshmallow suit in front of dozens of strangers!!! Unreal, for a woman with a lifetime of weight insecurities and gym class trauma etched in my mind to achieve but it happened and it's because of Taekwondo. I don't think I'll be in that size 8 dobok for long!
Class #2 is tomorrow and I will get my white belt and register for a year's worth of lessons. I have been psyched all weekend, youtubing tkd form videos and came across your great site which is now saved in my favorites. I look forward to shedding insecurities and pounds through this great martial art of Taekwondo and I hope that others from similar backgrounds take a personal challenge to themselves and try TKD. The journey will not be easy but the best things in life are not easy either. This is worth working for!
P.S. If you know where I can get the TKD head covering the taekwondo federation approved for muslim women in competition, I would really appreciate the info. From what I know, it also covers the chest area which I would really like to help with modesty since I'm having garment malfunctions. :-)Deb's Reply
Thanks for an honest and uplifting submission - being honest about your struggles will inspire others to follow you through the doors of the Dojang and take their first steps to a new life.
Take it slowly one class at a time and never give up and you'll be amazed at where you are in just a few months.
Let us know how you go
PS I can't answer your question about the head covering but I have seen many Muslim women wearing them at taekwondo competitions - can anyone out there help?
helping you grow through martial arts