After trying several other martial arts or combats sports (Shotokan Karate, krav maga and English boxing), I settled many years ago on Taekwondo. This Korean martial art (the "way of the fist and foot", literally translated) presents many similarities with karate. This is because the founders of this relatively recent martial art all studied karate in Japan during the XXth century. This said, there are significant differences between these martial arts, and Taekwondo is known to be more "explosive", associating heavy impact with quick rotations and jumps. Like Karate, Taekwondo knows many different styles, and I had the opportunity of studying two of the three most common ones.
While still studying at university, I was introduced to the main Kukiwon style. It is the one popularized by the Olympic Games and the most practised in the world. I followed, on and off, especially during my time in Lyon, where I was lucky enough to study with Master Lee Yong Son, at theTaekwondo Mudo Club. Unfortunately, when I moved to the Netherlands, I had to leave his most excellent dojang. I did not abandon the sport though, and practised at first in Gouda, then at the Lautenschläger school in Rotterdam. After reaching the green belt (5th keup) in 2005, I was wounded in an unrelated accident and had a pretty heavy knee operation. Two years later, I wanted to get back to Taekwondo. But I realized that the Kukiwon style, with its repetitive heavy impacts and joint stressing, was not the best option for me any more. I heard about another style (imported from the USA), called Songahm. I joined a local club, then called Songahm Holland, today MO Martial Arts. I immediately felt at home there and made quick progress under the excellent teaching of instructors Martijn Ooms and Jasper Jelsma. Currently brown belt (3rd keup), I am hoping to reach the black belt level very soon, despite a rather irregular attendance.