Last semester at school was rough for our family. I have no idea what happened but we turned a corner in Isaac’s education. Isaac started testing his teachers. He refused to participate in certain activities. His teachers stepped up to the plate. They were not going to tolerate these new facets to Isaac’s character on top of his natural tendency to live in his own imagination rather than focus on the project at hand.
It was clear to us that Isaac needed some discipline in his life. We had a very clear routine in our household, but Isaac needed more. So we signed him and Asher up for Tae Kwon Do at Randall’s boxing gym.
The very first class, the instructor pulled me aside and handed me two sheets of paper. “These are the rules for the dojang and these are the rules for home and school. If your boys have any problems following these rules here or at home, you let me know and they can be demoted here. I can take away the belts they earn like that!” He snapped. I immediately loved the place.
The second visit to Tae Kwon Do the instructor made our boys stand completely still in joon bi (ready position) for 5 whole minutes. The room was silent except when the instructor would notice a smile creeping on one of the students’ faces. Isaac (my boy named Laughter) is always tempted to smile. Asher is always serious with a furrowed brow.
Six months and two belts later, I couldn’t sit back and watch anymore. I joined Tae Kwon Do myself. Let me tell you: It is humbling to sit Indian style at the end of a line behind your six and eight year old boys who out rank you. They are very helpful in teaching me my form and the Korean terms I need to know. I am a fast learner (just got my yellow belt!) but I have much to learn from them.
One thing that I really suck at is my kihap, my yell. In Tae Kwon Do you are taught how to defend yourself and protect your body from attack. One of the best ways to give yourself more power, shock an opponent, and protect your abdomen is to yell as you punch and block.
As easy as it is for me to yell out of anger, I am so embarrassed to yell in our dojang. My kihap is lower in volume and in pitch than is appropriate for an adult woman. I don’t know what it is about me, I just don’t want people to hear me yell.
In church a while back, our pastor preached from Psalm 95, “Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.” Our pastor actually asked us to stand up and shout out the reason that we praise God.
I absolutely love God. I am in complete and utter awe of His greatness, His creativity, His mercy, and His love for me. I feel like I could tell the world hundreds of reasons why I praise Him. I am not ashamed of God. But I am ashamed to yell. I seem to remember that I stood, face flushed in the congregation that weekend and said in a loudish voice “FAM” followed by a whispered “ily.” It certainly wasn’t a shout.
Maybe people in the Bible times had to shout their praise so everyone could hear because they didn’t have things like microphones. But we don’t need to do that anymore. We have the internet. The whole world can know what I believe if I just post this online. There is no need for shouting anymore!
Or can I learn from the ancient Korean art of “hand and foot” (literally Tae Kwon Do) that shouting joyfully can protect your fragile insides and give you more power against your opponent?
Come, let us sing to the Lord!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
3 For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.
4 He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the mightiest mountains.
5 The sea belongs to him, for he made it.
His hands formed the dry land, too.
6 Come, let us worship and bow down.
Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,
7 for he is our God.
We are the people he watches over,
the flock under his care.
Maybe this week when I kihap in the dojang, it will be a good practice for when I need to shout joyfully to the Rock of my salvation.
Or maybe right now, before I wait any longer, I need to honor the most artful hands that hold the depths of the earth and the beautiful scarred feet of my Savior.
Psalm 65:8: From where the sun rises to where it sets, you inspire shouts of joy.
Psalm 40:16: May those who love your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
Psalm 71:23: I will shout for joy and sing your praises, for you have ransomed me.
Psalm 84:2: With my whole being, body and soul, I will shout joyfully to the living God.