Dropping in on a picnic

Published 11:09 pm Saturday, August 29, 2009

Most picnic guests come to the party in cars or trucks, perhaps even on bicycles.

For the annual picnic for students and friends of Master Hwang’s World Class Tae Kwon Do on Saturday, Bobby Page decided to just drop in — literally.

Wearing his Do Bok, or uniform, underneath a harness attached to a parachute, Page swooped across the field where his fellow students and their families and friends were gathered to enjoy the annual picnic.

He came in from behind the group, crossed the field where they were awaiting his landing, executed a low, tight hook turn and then flew low in front of them, completing his demonstration skydive with a true flying side kick and breaking a board held by fellow Tae Kwon Do devotee and friend Steve Townsend.

It was an exciting, if brief, performance for the 250 or so who were gathered at the park.

For Page’s wife, Dinah, even the fact that she’s seen him make many previous jumps didn’t calm the nerves as he came in low and fast over the park.

“He’s not supposed to turn that low,” she said after he’d landed. Still, the kick had been perfect, cleanly breaking a board painted with the word “Pilsung!” painted on it.

“Pilsung” is Korean for “certain victory.”

Despite the low turn, certain victory probably was an appropriate expectation, as Page was completing his 5,270th jump and his 130th or so demonstration. A government contractor at Joint Forces Command in Suffolk, he has a side business doing such exhibitions for events around the state.

A double-black-stripe red belt, Page will test for his black belt with Master Hwang in October.

By contrast, Townsend, his assistant on Saturday is more of a novice in the air with “only” 440 jumps, but he is a fifth-degree black belt.

For Saturday’s demonstration, at least, Townsend was eager to let Page have the glory, despite the fact that he’d had to execute a very fast drop from 6,000 feet in order to get on the ground and set up with the board in time for his partner to fly in and break it.

“Other than having the guts to stand there and hold the board,” it wasn’t all that hard, he said. “But I’ve seen his landings, so I wasn’t worried.”

Hakdong Hwang — Master Hwang to the students who study under him in Bennett’s Creek — was pleased with the demonstration.

Page, he pointed out, was the first student to sign up when he opened the Suffolk school.

After Page landed, he got a handshake and a quick bow from his Master, and then there were congratulations from the others who had watched the exhibition.

For Master Hwang, it was time to set up the water balloon toss, which turned into a full-fledged water balloon war from which he emerged soaked from head to toe. It was, he said, a very successful picnic.