Tang Soo Do has a fairly straight forward precept – move forward. Or, at the very least, Teacher pushes this as a basic building block to our one and two-step sparring. You’d think something that simple would be easy to absorb, but as with all simple ideas, instituting them becomes a challenge. For many of us in the class a natural response is to back away in the face of advance to create space naturally and temporally.
I’m far enough along that I can push beyond that natural response if I put my mind to it. So during sparring practice I like to focus on my weaknesses (and there are so many) and in the case of last night we’d practiced getting close so sparring gave me the opportunity to try it out with Beard.
We hadn’t actually sparred in ages. Maybe 3 months or more to the best of our group recollection. This was due to the fact the bulk of the class consists of new folks and when they get in the mix someone usually gets hurt.
Teacher asked who of us that would like to go first and I threw my hand up with most of the experienced folks. I got to start with Beard and fun began.
By and large I would have to say that from the first person view that I got popped in the head more often than not, but it was because I was deep into his territory in hopes of bringing the elbows into play; which I did. The conflict was close and if we did back out it was accompanied by kicks.
I was pretty tired when we sat down and didn’t think much of how good or bad we were until the next three pairs went to work. It was as if everyone of them was a new style. A majority of them looked so good and clean that I immediately felt embarrassed for Beard and me.
After class I complimented one of the Twins on how beautiful he looked against Tall J, our new Brown from another school. I said that I was appalled that Beard and I didn’t look anything like that and he said that we looked awesome. I wish we had film so I could see what happened. Frustrating to do analysis off adjectives.
The other side of being up close and personal is that you get the inevitable whiff of body oder or an improperly washed gi. I was working with Big Ginger last night a few time and noticed to my disappointment that his clothes or hygiene wasn’t up to snuff. Bummer. Then while I was banging elbows with Beard I noticed that sour smell of a gi that might have missed a wash somewhere along the way. At least we weren’t rolling around on the mats. I’d hate to have a stinky gi rubbing my face into the mat.