Instructor Wendi answers your questions about joining Ori-MAUL, the Original Martial Arts Uniting Ladies, and how we do taekwondo.
How do I join?
In 2020, it seems everything is changing all the time, so please get in touch if you are interested in joining! Things are moving back to normal, so our Tuesday and Friday sessions are now face-to-face, if outdoors. You can check our calendar to see what’s going on, as that has the most up-to-date information.
In a normal year, we would train on Tuesdays and Fridays, from 7.40pm to 8.40pm. Classes take place at Queen Edith School, Godwin Way, Cambridge, CB1 8QP, in the Large Hall – if you scroll to the bottom of this page, you’ll see a Google Map link window showing you where to find us.
Come train! Get in touch with any questions or concerns!
What does Ori-MAUL stand for?
Ori-MAUL is our women’s Taekwondo club. We started as Martial Arts Uniting Ladies (MAUL), then grew into a part of Martial Arts Uniting Lives – a wider consortium with the goal of helping other underpresented groups of would-be martial artists – and thus we remain the ORIGINAL MAUL!
Women-only… what do you mean exactly?
We welcome anyone who identifies as a woman to our women’s (Ori-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 other sessions!
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. Particularly at white belt (beginner level), Taekwondo is quite gentle.
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 that was similarly optional. There are often cookies/etc, just not while doing taekwondo at the same time. We also cater to a wide range of dietary requirements and preferences (we have members who range from ‘eating a korma hurts’ to ‘hit me with the jalapeño!’).
Find out about our socials
On two (again, totally optional) occasions Ori-MAUL groups have even been on three-night trips to Brittany – see:
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?
Black belts are encouraged to wear their belts to class and will be treated with the utmost respect. If grading in our style, black belts (no matter how different from taekwondo your style may be) will be respected via a black stripe, 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 taekwondo 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 the 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 taekwondo 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 Taekwondo (WT) and International Taekwondo Federation (ITF) styles with quite a heavy influence from our early karate ancestors and ultimately a markedly less sporty/acrobatic style than modern taekwondo 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 taekwondo.
What’s a class like?
Short warmup with strengthening for women’s sport needs, 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 much so. Everyone is just trying to get a bit better each session and to enjoy their time together. The instructors get as much from the instructor-student relationship as the students do, if not more!
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.