Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Oh Snap!

Teacher says, "you're going to freak out."

"About what", I reply.

He says, " I want to talk about your next test".

Ironically that's exactly what I wanted to talk about when he asked me to hang out after class for a beer. Although I wasn't really thinking he was going to bring this up. Recently I'd been kind of wondering what was next in the chute. We don't have a formal system of how to determine belt testing so I'd kind of thought maybe I needed to ask what kind of horrible things he had in store for me for my next rank. Only there was a rub.

"I wanted to let you know that I want to test you for your black belt" he said rather straight forwardly.

Internally the hyper ventilating hit a seismic pace. Externally my pupils dilated and I just sputtered. I actually said, "I don't know what to say," which is pretty much what all the cool guys say when faced with an epic life experience. I will say this, I never for a moment said, or even thought, I don't deserve this. In retrospect I kept thinking to myself that I'm not ready for this, but he brought up some very important points.

He said, "it's been 8 years."

He said, "maybe I've been too demanding with my requirements for this." With which I don't agree, but I was still stuttering.

I was going to be a one in a thousand!!!

I think the gist was that he may have thought I might have been good to go earlier, but was coming to terms with a couple of things in his own martial development and realized that I was, indeed, qualified in my own, weird way.

Here's the test:
- beatings
- construct my own kata

Deceptively simple with a ghastly undertone. The beatings will be multiple and exhausting. By this I mean that I will have to have the cardiac fitness to survive the black belts in town and still look like I was conscious about my choices in sparring. Woof! After that I'll have to do a kata (or maybe before, you never know) of my own device. I need to be sure that I make it worthwhile and highlight moves that I'm good at. Dang. This is going to be tough.
Class tonight was awesome. Strangely it started with katas/hyungs. He made us do them at a very slow rate which focused us on the balance and movement. It's not like we hadn't done this before, but today it sunk in kind of deep. Segue ways aren't just a ham-handed conversation migration, they are a way to move from stance to stance.

The second hour was pretty much all fights. We started with the slowest combat analysis and moved on to sparring. I don't think I've seen so many interesting conflicts. Me and Trucker went around for five minutes and I really didn't do a great job, but I was pleased with my ability to make the choices I did. Nothing unplanned. He still rolled me in the end which was met with great delight by the crowds. Oh to be a gladiator.

My second match was with Teacher and it went surprisingly well. In the end I realized I couldn't do anything substantive and went in for a bad trip/bear hug and fell on him. He managed to turn me on the way down and I absorbed the impact for both of us. Ooff. End of class!

Honestly, I don't think I'd ever seen so many great matches. He let us choose who we wanted to spar and in a way it was pretty awesome. The two youngest kids put up an epic fight. I was surprised that there was no blood. Were we showing control? Shocking!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Catch Up

I just realized that I haven’t posted since last Tuesday due to a rather busy schedule.  My wife is out of town for the summer so I’m doing all the stuff around the house that would normally be divided between us.  As usual I forget that although it’s not a lot of stuff, it’s still more than I do normally so I have less time to dawdle. 

To add to general frantic nature of my day Teacher moved up the summer classes one hour.  So we get out early, but we have to get there early.  This means I’m moving fast after work.  I basically have enough time to change and eat a bit before I hit the ground running. 

So I can’t actually recall what we did last week, and even last night was a bit of a blur, but we did have a couple of stand out moments.

We call generic multiple attack scenarios “monkey in the middle”.  However due to the latest racial sensitivity problems I believe the word monkey is going to get dropped.  It consists of 5 person groups in which one participant stands in the middle and the other four try to attack in a consistent fashion.  It has nothing to do with real life, but it forces the person in the middle to contend with strikes initiated from every angle and not get tunnel vision for one person.  It also forces us to work on strikes that are really effective versus flowery locks and such. 

What we found out is that kicks to the groin and strikes to the throat were very popular, then came kicks to joints and so on.  Very focusing.  

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Feet, Don’t Fail Me!

Teacher quote for the week: as I tried to tap out of a rather painful lock – “you look like a penguin flapping it’s wings to stay warm.”  Nice. 
All of us looked like we ran across hot coals as we uncomfortably moved from one foot to the other or stared at the soles of our feet.  This was a direct result of the new rubberized sports floor put in several months ago.  Unfortunately kicks that require foot rotation are miserable because feet don’t want to turn at all on rubber.  I was noticing after my shower later that night I had actually torn the flesh between the toes and ball of both my feet.  This morning I was was walking very carefully.  Hopefully, they’ll be mostly healed by tomorrow night. 

Since I was only there for the first hour I didn’t get to experience anymore discomfort.  However, in that 45 minutes I was huffing and puffing.  My poor diet and lack of sleep really felt like they were weighing on me.  Hopefully, I’ll be back on a more even keel by the end of the week.

Friday, June 03, 2011


I knew, in those microseconds before, during and after my fist making a sickening crunch, that we had gone too far. 
As part of the summer Teacher moves the class up an hour so we can get out and enjoy the long sunny evenings.  Unfortunately, the class hasn’t adjusted to this change so we are in variety of  states.  Personally, I was half a bubble off – dropping keys and bumping into things all day.  Dave was so hungry that he had dull eyes and we had the addition of two news kids in the class. 

We were learning how to integrate the long punch into our regular work.  This is move comes from our 3rd kata (Kee Cho Hyung Sam Boo) in which the punch ends up out to the side, but the force is generated by a massive hip rotation.  I’ll have to do a video of this because it’s emphasis is totally neglected in videos I plowed through today.  Anyway, while were learning to do this Teacher decided to throw in an odd block in which you spin you opponents arm in a large spiral so you can move in to do a standing triangle choke (yet another video to make!).  However the timing was tougher than I imagined so I managed to only get things going after 10 minutes.  By that time we had run out of class time. 

I was getting very frustrated which in turn makes me worse at everything I’m doing.  Which is why we are back at the first sentence. 

Teacher says, “Do a little rondori for the last five minutes.”  We usually interpret this as very slow sparring to work on technique and strategy.  Since I was frustrated and discombobulated our speed immediately took off and I couldn’t get a hit in to save my life.  Out of the five minutes I had one minute in which I was able to pick out Dave and take advantage of his approach, but by and large he was eating me up. 

Our exchanges got wilder and in one of my poorly executed kicks I ended up getting kicked in the ass so hard that I had a hard time walking this morning.  In the final hurrah I shot a punch over a blocking arm, unfortunately Dave was moving at the time and he got my knuckles in his mouth.  Blood starting running out of his fat lip and my hand.  I was appalled. 

I have never lost that kind of control and been so emotionally unfocused.  What a horrible lesson.  Thankfully Dave didn’t take it personally even though I was all over the board myself.  When I called him today he was just counting his wounds and I started worrying about the cut on my hand – blood born infection is always a worry.  Neosporin do you work!

Your Clothes, Book Cast With 100%

  At 6:05am I looked at my phone quizzically while trying to wake up.  My SaBomNim (master teacher), who is legally blind, sent me the messa...