No offense is intended, and no one I am currently training with is mentioned here. Honest. You do believe me don't you?

The Beginner - the nice person.

Just started and an awfully nice person. Often less than five foot and weighs naff all. Very concerned about hurting anyone, always stops to check that they have not damaged anyone (particularly after giving one of the class heavies the lightest of punches). Set objective: learn to hit the higher grades as hard as possible, it's the only chance you'll get without them hitting back, and the bonus is if you do manage to hit them -it's their fault for being too slow.

The Beginner - the enthusiast.

Just started and really keen, and really want to get stuck in. Fond of keeping their shoes on in a class. Has a problem with distance, power and balance. This means the kick are a little wild and off target and often just a shade too heavy.

The Young Gun.

Young and fit, instantly disliked by the old and the fat. More energy than a major nuclear generating site, and not even out of breath after sparring for ten minutes. Despite energy, technique, and stamina, it is possible to land a cunning blow on these as they do tend to be over confident (but then you'll feel really bad for hitting the "kid" for the rest of the session). Set objective: grow old like the rest of us.

The Bendy Toy.

So flexible you'll be convinced that they don't actually have any bones. When doing all those horrid position that the Evil Instructor insists upon for stretching, which you can't even begin to do, they'll be fully stretched out flat on the floor completely destroying your argument that these positions are totally impossible. Set Objective: get a stressful job like the rest of us and then you'll be stiff as a board.

The Smug Git.

Passed a couple of gradings, really quickly. No matter how complex the pattern just seem to remember it, they even know their left from their right. Made more progress in six months than you have in three years. Set objective: stand if front of me so I can see how it's done.

The Undercover Sneak.

Actually been doing Taekwondo for awhile, but is new to the class. They tend to keep their head down and baffle the rest of the class by being effortlessly good. However, they can be spotted by wearing uniforms that look just a little too worn and comfortable. Set objective: come out of the closet and wear your belt with pride.

The Grandfather.

Far too old to be doing this. Completely stiff, out of condition, and passed it. They start the class by covering themselves in deep heat cream and swallowing load of vitamin and supplement pills in an attempt to stave off the inevitable. Set Objective: find the fountain of youth.

The Martial Arts Film Fan.

Seen every martial arts film ever made, even the foreign ones (and there are a lot of those). Treats every sparring session as an audition for No:3 Bad Guy, putting in every conceivable combination until you are too dizzy even to think of a counter move, let alone block anything. Set Objective: get to go down the pub more, and buy less DVDs.

The Gym Monster.

Spends just a shade too long in the gym. Has more muscles than the rest of the class put together. This tend to be a rather frightening and an off-putting sight when paired up for sparring. Actually they all turn out to be rather nice people, and all that weight training means that they can't run that fast or for any distance (keep out of harms way until they go red in the face and lightly dance around them). Set objective: Cut down on the piercing and tattoos, even if they do say "Mum".

The Class Heavy.

Currently in training for a full contact bare knuckled fight. Constantly keeps stopping the sparring to inform you that you need to hit him harder as he is in training (you are already giving it your all). Occasionally complements you on your kick which had no effect on him but broke a paving slab last time you were doing breaking. Set Objective: stop eating Desperate Dan Cow Pies for breakfast.

The Mum.

She has transported children to and from the DoJang for some months. She starts to think she too can do TKD, after all how difficult can it be? Starts off with wild aim, poor balance and afraid that a lucky shot had hurt someone. The first time kicking the bag, gets flattened as it hits back. Now pride is involved and she can't give up. Practices when the children go to bed and bravely pretends she can move in the mornings (until the children leave the room). Desperately afraid of the grading test. Set objective: Know better to start with, or continue until you score 7-8 on the Signs that taekwondo has taken over your life - by then it is too late for redemption.

The Tag Team.

A nice couple. The chap has finally talked his better half into coming as he doesn't want to start training again in a new school without knowing anyone. However they sort of pretend they're not together. Unfortunately they give the game away by training side by side, and having the same dodgy moves which are perfectly in sync. Also, she know the first four patterns. Set objective: Stop looking like synchronized swimmers without the nose plugs.

The Daddylong Legs.

Very tall chap with very longs legs, which leads to wild kicks, and is very scary to stand next to when practicing forms. Seems to need twice the amount of space to practice in to anyone else. Set objective: Practice poomsae in the work's toilet to get the hang of doing TKD in a confined space.

The Steam Train.

Maybe it's a breathing problem, or hayfever, and just a strange interpretation of a Ki-up, but this guy makes blowing and huffing sounds with every punch or kick. The rest of the class finds this somewhat off-putting and the instructor keep checking his oxygen cylinder - just in case. Set objective: Borrow some DVDs from the Martial Arts Film Fan to learn how to make authentic fighting sounds.


The Evil Instructor.

The Evil Instructor will appear disguised as your favourite instructor, beware. Much like in Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey, do not be fooled by appearances -this is the Evil Instructor. He/She will start with push ups, more push ups, and then stomach crunches. Then triceps dips, lots of them, using a chair. Then the pain really starts. The pads are brought out, and you are made to work on them forever. Tasks will be set like run back and forth twenty thousand times; if failed the entire class will have to do more push ups.