N.H. Girl On The Other Side Of The World: Tae Kwon Do Surprise

Sep 13, 2013

NHPR News Intern Abby Kessler has moved on to a new adventure, teaching English in South Korea. We've asked Abby to send us dispatches from her trip, and we'll be posting them as a series of blogs in the upcoming months.

As I was biking to meet two friends at a cafe on Saturday, I heard music blaring adjacent to the bike path. Much to my surprise, it was not a concert I'd stumbled upon, but a tae kwon do performance.

A surprising encounter with tae kwan do made Abby late for her brunch date.
Credit Abby Kessler for NHPR

I stood watching in amazement as the performers stacked on top of one another in pyramid-type formations, one holding a thin piece of plywood high above the rest.

One black belted performer separated from the group and began shouting in a deep voice. I can only imagine he was pumping himself up, but his exact words were lost on my American ears. He then charged at the stacked group and in the precise  moment before collision, lifted himself from the ground, twirled his body, and shattered the sheet of wood.

The black belted man landed, hopped to regain his balance and bowed. I looked on in amazement as the group quickly repositioned itself into various stacked shapes, each time with a different member of the group performing acrobatic flips.

Somewhere between the hurtling bodies and shards of splintering wood flying by, I lost track of time. By the time I looked down at my watch, I realized I was late for brunch. I quickly hopped on my bike, imagining myself spinning through the air while simultaneously splitting pieces of wood. Later I replaced the image with a more realistic one, of myself flailing through the air, missing the wooden target and crashing back to the earth.

Former NHPR News Intern Abby Kessler is the 'N.H. Girl on the Other Side of the World.'