So I transferred to UIUC. Two other guys who lived on the same floor at WIU also transferred. They were brothers who were from a town close to Macomb. They were the only two people I knew.
We got together on our first Saturday night on campus and started looking around. We saw a flier in the union for a couple of taekwondo clubs. One of the brothers learned some TKD from a South Korean student at WIU. He said, “This martial arts stuff is cool. We should do it.”
There were fliers for two clubs. One started on Tuesday, and one started on Thursday. We decided to go to the one that started on Tuesday since that would be one more day of training.
So we went to the first one. There were about 100 people there for their first day of martial arts. One of the instructors said that only 1 out of every 100 people who starts martial arts makes it to first degree black belt.
The class started with some stretches. The last part of the “warm-up” was 20 or 25 sit-ups. I don’t remember the number. I do remember that I barely made it. I thought to myself, “I am 20 years old. I am supposed to be in the best shape of my life, and I can barely do 25 sit-ups. Not good.”
I resolved to be the one person who made it to first degree.
Even though I had done some running before this, for a long time in some ways had I considered this moment to be the start of my fitness journey. I thought I was in shape, and I realized I was not.
It turns out that three of us made it to first degree. One made it at the semi-annual black belt test after me.
Image from Wikipedia