7 year journey

I started taking Taekwondo classes in May 2013.

Now I know that that was the year BTS debuted, and somehow it’s even more special. Because TKD is ultimately what led me to BTS.

In 2018, I moved to a small town, and started my own Taekwondo school under the organization I started with, Kim’s Taekwondo.

In 2020, when the pandemic hit, I learned that one of the schools in our organization was offering Korean language classes to the Taekwondo students- and, due to Covid, the classes were online, which meant I could join in. Even though my school was 7 driving hours away from the school offering the classes, Covid made it possible for me to attend. Because the classes would have been in person only otherwise. I started taking the Korean language classes in May of 2020.

During those Korean language classes, our teacher started encouraging us to watch K-dramas and listen to Korean music so that we would hear the language more. Since immersion learning wasn’t possible, she wanted us to do hear the language as much as possible.

The second K-drama I watched was Hwa-Rang. I was drawn to it initially because that is the name of a Taekwondo form in our school. The subject was also very intriguing to me. 😉 As I watched that series, I was drawn to the music as well. It was just so beautiful. I never really noticed music in shows that I watched before, but somehow, the music in K-drama really stands out to me. I actually loved the OST to Hwa-Rang so much that I bought it. And as I listened to it, I found myself putting one certain song on repeat. It was V and Jin’s “It’s Definitely You”.

V’s voice just drew me in and I couldn’t get enough. So I looked up “V and Jin” on YouTube and watched a lyric video for “It’s Definitely You.” Which of course led to looking up more music by “V and Jin”, which led me to BangtanTV. This all happened in October 2020, which was around the time that BE was released.

Honestly, I still don’t remember the first official MV of BTS’ that I watched, but I know that Black Swan and ON were the two that pulled me in and made me start looking for more. BE was the first album I bought digitally. MOTS7 the first physical album I purchased. 

In January of 2021, I was truly hooked. I was going through all of BTS’ MV’s, on air performances, and Bangtan Bombs. I found Weverse. I had never seen anything like that before. You mean you could write messages to the artists? They would actually comment sometimes? And VLive.. they actually would just come online and talk to their fans?! Being from the western music culture, that sort of contact between artist and fan was completely foreign, and utterly refreshing to me. In June of 2021, I knew I was ARMY. I bought the membership and joined stan Twitter.

That was another shock. I joined Twitter (activating an ancient account that I’d never used since I opened it) solely to keep up with the official BTS tweets. But what I found was a community of ARMY that actually cared about each other and just enjoyed talking about BTS. But more than that, ARMY supporting each other. BTS and ARMY truly are a phenomenon that is changing the world. Changing the shape of art and even culture.

Through Twitter, I found Bangtan Academy. An online (on discord) community of ARMY teaching whoever wants to learn the Korean language for FREE. It grew from a few online friends sharing resources to a huge school/academy of HUNDREDS of students who teach those coming behind them what they’ve learned, share resources, watch K-drama together and play games and just generally have an amazing time online learning together.

It was a really good thing I found Bangtan Academy, because through a series of events, the Korean language classes that led me to BTS ended within a year of when I started them. And my desire to learn Korean only grew after I met BTS. Because now, more than just teaching my classes in their original language, I want to be able to understand BTS’ music and shows in their own language without translators.

In April 2022, I had the immense privilege of going to Day 4 of PTS LV. I actually used money that I had been saving for a trip to Korea, and drove down with my distinctly non-ARMY husband. It was the most amazing experience. Even my husband was amazed, not just with BTS and their great music with such a great message, but especially with ARMY. There were SO many people. It was SO crowded- and with such diverse people. And everyone was so kind. It was amazing. 

So far, this is just a dry story of facts. But inside, it’s really much more to me. See, when I started TKD, I found a community that I was missing. A place of sport, relaxation and healing that was missing before. And when I found BTS, I also found something I needed very much. Another community of support, healing, encouragement.

The pandemic was hard for everyone. For me personally, I was in a really dark place when I found BTS. I was dealing with a traumatic brain injury, long Covid, PTSD, and severe depression.

I still remember the day I found RM’s mixtape, “mono”. I found it on YouTube, bought it digitally, and listened to it on repeat for 12 hours. That night, I put in earbuds as everyone else in my family slept, and I listened to Moonchild over and and over and over, and wept in the dark for hours. That night started major healing for me. Black Swan, Interlude: Shadow, 00:00, Telepathy, and Life Goes on are also songs I point to as having a major impact on me during that time.  BTS’ music brought me to a place where I COULD heal. In some ways, it showed me things I didn’t even know I needed to heal from, but I did. The honesty in their lyrics, the intensity of their music- it opens doors you didn’t know needed to be opened. It starts a conversation- even if it’s just a conversation with yourself- that needs to be had. It’s healing. It’s refreshing. It’s soothing. And it’s encouraging and motivating. All of that, and you don’t just get the music from BTS, you get a full-on community of support and friendship with ARMY.

Why I’m now in this for life.

It took me 7 years from their debut to find BTS. But my journey to them started the year they debuted. Without Taekwondo, K-dramas, and OSTs, I might never have found them. Clearly, it was meant to be, with all the little details that came together to make it happen.

아포반포.

Verified by MonsterInsights