A/N: Sorry this took forever and a day to update, but I don't have a lot of time to update this story so yeah... Anyway, enjoy a whirlwind of taekwondo this chapter!

Taekwondo Interlude

The next day Jen drove into a parking lot wearing a crisp, clean white uniform with a sharply contrasting black collar and the wrist-length sleeves rolled and folded over up to her elbows. She entered a building with block lettering on the outside bearing the word "Taekwondo" and deposited her flip flops on one of the shelves in the waiting room that led to the training floor of the do jang. Then she scanned her ID card so she would receive credit for taking the class. Jen bowed to the American, Korean, and World Taekwondo Federation flags hanging on the wall before stepping onto the red and green foam-type mats that completely covered the floor of the do jang. She walked over to a corner of the large room and began to stretch out before the class started. Her friend Donnie, a red belt two years younger than her, came over to talk. "Hey Jen," he greeted her.

"Hey, Donnie. What's up?" the black belt asked.

"Not much. I've just been hanging around being bored, the usual summer routine. How's your drum line coming along?"

"Actually," Jen couldn't help but smile, "we just got music at yesterday's rehearsal. I'm excited."

Before Donnie could make another remark, Ian, a third degree black belt instructor, walked out of his small office and commanded everyone in the room with a single word: "Run!"

"Yes, sir!" seven voices chorused as the students all scrambled to their feet and started jogging around the room in counter-clockwise circles.

The running group included Jen, a first degree black belt; Ryan, a red-tip; Donnie, a red belt; three brown-tips; and one orange belt. Jen and Donnie continued their conversation while they ran laps. "So you guys got music yesterday?" Donnie asked in a tone of voice that clearly said And this matters why…?

"Yeah," Jen explained, "John said this is the first time in four years that the drum line's actually been given music before band camp. So now we have some time to actually learn and memorize it before we have to play it in front of everyone else in the band at the section showdown at the end of band camp."

"That's good," Donnie said.

"Heck yes it is!"

Ian called, "Line up in belt order!"

"Yes, sir!" the students answered as they obeyed.

Jen, the highest belt rank in the class, was first in the front row. Ryan the red-tip lined up next to her. Donnie took his place between Ryan and the first of the three brown-tips. Since there were no brown, blue, or green belts taking the class, the orange belt lined up after the brown-tips, at the end of the second row.

"Stretching junbee," Ian instructed. Everyone sat down and put their feet out in front of them for the first stretch in the warm up routine. "Sheeze jut!" They obeyed the Korean command for "begin" and reached toward their toes. "Hana, dul, set, net!" they counted in Korean.

Ten minutes later Ian had led the class through stretching and basic warm up kicks, punches, and blocks. Then it was time for forms, the set patterns of techniques for each belt level that resembled shadow boxing. Since there were no white or yellow belts present, Ian decided to skip straight to orange belt form. After the class went over the form twice together, Ian commanded the orange belt to step back and keep practicing on his own. As the orange belt bowed and moved to the back of the room, the rest of the class continued on to brown-tip form, the next rank present.

The three brown-tips were absolutely clueless as to their form. Ian slowly led everyone through the form, demonstrating each technique. After three repetitions, he asked Jen to take the brown-tips to the back of the room to help them learn their form while the rest of the class moved on to red belt form.

At the back of the room, Jen lined the three brown-tips up so she could teach them their form. "Junbee," she commanded. The brown-tips stepped into to ready stance. "I'll go through the form with you in case you get lost, okay? Taeguk yuk jang on my count. Hana!" Jen executed the first technique of the form, and then looked at her charges to make sure they too were in the correct stance. "Dul!" When they looked uncertainly back at Jen, she explained, "Right leg front kick, and then step back into back stance and do a left hand outside block." The brown-tips seemed a little unsure of themselves, but got the techniques right. "Good," Jen said. "Set!"

The small group continued in this manner for five more minutes until Jen had to go back up to the front of the room to practice her own form. Ian, after quickly reminding the rest of the class to practice their forms and not sit against the wall doing nothing, watched Jen go through the complex movements of first degree black belt form. When she finished, he critiqued the form, and then told the entire class to line up for kicking techniques. The seven students rushed to form a single file line while Ian produced a stuffed kicking shield from a corner of the room.

The class quickly went over the basic techniques: roundhouse kick, front kick, side kick, axe kick, and backswing kick. After that Ian asked, "Are you guys warmed up for sparring?"

Jen smiled; she loved the free form hand-to-hand combat. "Yes, sir!" she chorused with the rest of the class.

"Find a partner around your rank and size. Wait, how many people do we have here?" Ian quickly counted to himself. "Seven. Jen, you're my partner."

"Yes, sir," Jen said as she walked over to face him. Although Ian was five years her senior and a third degree black belt while she was only a first degree black belt, Jen was not in the least afraid to spar her larger opponent. Besides, she thought to herself, it's not full contact, and even if he does beat the crap out of me it'll still be a good learning experience.


Fifteen minutes and four rounds of sparring later, the class was over. Jen grabbed her flip flops, car keys, and ID card from the waiting room shelf, but lingered to talk with Donnie and Ian before heading home. "That was some good sparring on your part today, Jen," Ian complimented her.

Jen grinned. "Thanks, Ian." She no longer called him "sir" since she wasn't required to use the polite taekwondo manners outside of class.

Ian stretched out in one of the metal folding chairs. "So how are you guys' summers going?" he asked her and Donnie.

Donnie replied, "Mine's pretty good. Kind of boring, but I'd rather be bored than be in school with a ton of work to do."

Jen couldn't help what next came out of her mouth, "We just got some of our drum line music yesterday, so we actually might be pretty good this year."

"Cool stuff," Ian said. "You're captain, aren't you?"

"Heck yes I am." Jen smiled.

"So other than being busy with band, have you been up to anything exciting?" he asked.

"No, not really. I've mostly just chilled at the pool or hung out with some of my friends," Jen admitted.

"Well that's always good too," Donnie said.

Jen and Ian both nodded in agreement.

The conversation lulled into silence for a moment before Jen announced, "Well guys, I have to head home. I'll see you later."

"See ya Jen," Donnie said.

Ian nodded to her. "Bye Jen."

"Bye guys," Jen said as she walked out to her car.

Jen turned on the radio to her favorite alternative rock station on her way home. She turned up the volume and sang along, with her windows tightly rolled up, when the song Shadow on the Sun by Audioslave came on.

A few minutes later Jen walked into her house through the unlocked back door. "I'm home!" she called to her parents as she tossed her keys on the counter and went upstairs to take a much needed shower.