Obviously a big part of The Move has been finding a mo' betta Taekwondo studio. The timing of this is actually perfect because the girls' current studio is not all gung ho about competing in tournaments, believe it or not. The only reason Maya competes and qualified for the J.O.'s was because Husband researched tournaments and got her in the mix. At events, we longingly look at other schools seeming all unified with matching warm ups embroidered with their names. After her qualification, we told the director of Maya’s studio, Master P, about our fundraising plans and we asked if we could put up a board at the school with the announcement and a plea to buy bracelets. And he said, "We don't really do that here." Which made me want to punch him in the head. However, he IS still a fifth degree black belt and I didn't need to awaken the beast, if you know what I'm saying. But I thought, You don't do that kind of stuff here? Support? Encouragement? Phhoooo, I was infuriated. But I do look at her time with Master P as a great start, and I am sincerely thankful for him and the studio.
We started researching L.A. TKD schools about six weeks ago. We looked online and we asked around. The first studio that piqued our interested was one run by a Brazilian husband and wife master team. Cool. They looked super tournament-motivated and it looked like they were churning out champions. We visited the studio on our first exploratory excursion to SM. Getting to this Brazilian studio, from where we wanted to live, took five billion hours because we decided to cut across town at five o'clock. (P.S. the traffic in L.A. is not a fable. This is hands-down going to be one of the suckiest draw backs to our new adventure.) We finally arrived at the studio located in a strip mall, and we found that this TKD school, that teaches 75% of its classes to children, was immediately next door to a shop called A Touch of Romance. Now, this place wasn't trying to present itself as a straight out porn shop though you just KNOW a place like this has a choice Back Room. The storefront displayed -- besides yummy body oils in cinnamon and coconut! -- a lovely, frilly lingerie set that may or may not have been crotchless. My shock did not allow me to look too hard at the plastic mannequin’s vaginal area. Husband gave me a look that said, "Why are you trying to throw our children into the depths of hell or at the very least test their TKD skills against seedy porn-loitering characters?" The studio could've been the best in L.A., but funk that. We turned on our heels and grappled traffic back.
The second studio we saw, which was located very conveniently near where we wanted to live, was brand new. It looked like Maya & Mina would quite possibly be the first students. The third studio looked fun and kid-friendly -- no porn shops to be seen -- but when I asked the director if they encouraged competition he rattled on for five minutes about how they only focus on character building. Then he concluded, "But we could get her ready for tournaments if that's what she wants, sure." This place was basically a gymboree that gave out different color belts.
We were getting madly discouraged. Until we checked out this old-school store front about fifteen minutes from SM. We walked in to observe a class, and the angels KI-YA'ed. Husband and I instantly knew this would be our new TKD home. It was big and sweaty and reeked of hard work and focus. It is run by a Grand Master which means he can kick your ass with his will alone. He walked out and I found myself averting my eyes and stuttering. He was about 150 years old and wore a sleeveless shirt to show off his rock-hard and ancient guns. He was like, "Oh yea, this is the place for them." We said, "Yes, Grand Master Mr. Sir Opulent Bad Ass -- what should we call you?" Master C, in the place to be, y’all.