Instructor Wendi answers your questions about joining MAUL
How do I join?
Just show up! We are always welcoming to new students! Any Tuesday or Friday (do check our Calen-do-Jang first though just in case we’re on break!) 7:40-8:40PM. Queen Edith School, Godwin Way, Cambridge, CB1 8QP, in the Large Hall.
Women-only… what do you mean exactly?
We welcome anyone who identifies as a woman to our women’s (Origi-MAUL) classes. Welcome to the sisterhood! If you would not put yourself into that category but also have reason to not feel the most welcome in various public spaces, please get in touch about joining our loving MiNi classes.
Do I have to be fit?
Good god, no. We rather pride ourselves on being the type of people picked last in gym. Whilst there is enthusiasm for sport among us, aptitude is another question entirely. Whatever level you are at is good with us.
I trained as a kid but couldn’t run a mile. Literally. I flunked that bit of gym class. In fact, I didn’t even flunk. I got an ‘incomplete’. The teacher wouldn’t even stick around long enough for me to drag myself to the end. ROUGH TIMES.
Luckily, martial arts imparts a lot of body positivity because however you are made or have made yourself, you will have strengths and weaknesses. Half the fun of teaching is pointing out the strengths we often overlook in ourselves.
Wait, so are we just going to sit around eating cookies talking about Eastern philosophy?
No, we’re probably going to do a bunch of kicking and hitting stuff, and low stances in between those two activities.
Martial arts is a lot about improving oneself, and MAUL just adds improvement through international cuisine and baking skills. I don’t want to be stereotypical, but our women’s class makes a good spread. WE ALSO DO A DAMN FINE BARBECUE AND TOOK PEOPLE OUT PAINTBALLING. That is all.
Note: paintballing is optional! We have also done an escape room social. (There are often cookies/similar, just not while doing exercise at the same time.)
I’ve trained elsewhere and…
AWESOME SAUCE. As a warning, I [Instructor Wendi] will likely ask you all about this and eventually have you teach stuff. We are a pro-all-martial-arts club and love dabbling. Martial arts are all related, so why hate on a cousin just because they aren’t you?
Blackbelts are encouraged to wear their belts to class and will be treated with the utmost respect. If grading in our style, blackbelts (no matter how different from TKD it may be) will be respected via a blackstripe to signify their respect, even if they don’t know the first thing about a front-snap kick. We are all family here.
I’ve never trained before and…
AWESOME SAUCE. Most MAULers have never trained before coming along to their first class with us. We’ve all been there and to be frank we’re all a bit too excited when someone else shows up who is enthusiastic to learn what we love. You will be loved dearly.
I personally think that one of the strengths of TKD as an art is that you can get the hang of the basics pretty early on as it’s fairly straightforward.
I’d really rather not have people watch me…
Neither would we! Well, sometimes at least. We close drapes and cover the door with a sheet so everyone can feel comfortable training. This is not meant to be the public humiliation that gym class may have been, but a fun experience learning and practicing and training with buddies!
I have no coordination…
Literally, join the club.
What is TKD anyway?
Holy crap – what a big question I have asked myself. Well, at its most basic, let’s say it’s a lot of punching and kicking and memorised drills. We’ve branched off from the Korean karate groups (such as Tang-Soo-Do, Soobahkdo, etc.) which branched off from the Japanese karate groups which branched off…… etc.
We do a mix of World and International Tae-Kwon-Do styles with quite a heavy influence from our early karate ancestors and ultimately a markedly less sporty/acrobatic style than modern Tae-Kwon-Do tends to be.
Recently, we’ve been doing a bit more mat work with the occasional hip throw or trip. Which is to say, we do what the Instructors of the club have experienced. We grade in WT and ITF Tae-Kwon-Do.
What’s a class like?
Short warmup, stretching, some kicks. Water break. Forms practice (memorised steps where we really show off our art and our teamwork as we do these in groups) and various drills to improve our reflexes, technique, or artistry. Then end. And probably a good amount of chat therein.
What are the people like? Am I going to be shouted at?
Only sarcastically – or if you shout at yourself, to be honest. The people are really loving and caring – almost too far. Everyone is just trying to get a bit better each session and to enjoy their time together.
Community building? But this is a martial arts class?!?!
I have yet to find anything that brings people closer and generates more trust than knowing you have to hold still while the other person JUST BARELY DOES NOT punch you. Or trusting your partner will NOT LET you punch them in the face. Your safety and your training will sometimes be in the hands of your training partners. And their safety is in yours (obviously not until we’ve trained you enough that you can handle that responsibility!).
The point is, this trust enables you to do some very cool and fun things that you just couldn’t do with somebody you didn’t have that bond with. Martial arts brings people together like nothing else I know.
I have another question…
Feel free to contact us with any further questions.