Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Notes and Corrections

I missed posting about Monday's class since it's in the evening and it turned into an academic hour instead.  I'd recently turned in my open book test for my black belt.  There are a surprisingly large number of papers and tests to complete before we get to the demonstration.  The demonstration, on the other hand, is what I would have called a test back in the day.  Andy pointed out that the demonstration was more a public display for the higher ups to confirm your skills. It's more of a thing where you need to be fully qualified to even get there.  

I got there and Colette pulled me aside to go over the submission of my open book exam.  I had a lot of blanks and questions.  We plowed through the whole thing, but it took the whole hour.  So, no physical work for me Monday.  All mental.  Back to editing when I have time.  

Standard Wednesday class for me.  Going through basics and forms and finding little things to improve.  

  • improve the position of my open hand block
  • outside to inside kick needs to be high as the shoulder - I got lazy.
  • backfists were too low - stop at waist.
  • chamber of fists for bassai - perpendicular, etc.
Anyway, looking a bit better, generally speaking, but there is always a need for constant refinement of course.  Speaking of that, I got my second draft back this morning and need to do some more work on that.  And plenty of memorization.  

Thursday, December 23, 2021


Move into the punch with a block from the outside hand while doing a palm strike with the inside hand. Second punch is blocked by a sudo from the inside hand. Palm to chest with outside hand while wiping the punching are with inside hand.  Into turning during the wipe and then jumping, turning outside/inside kick with kihap.   

Move back with hanging sudo into back stance.  Grab the hand and roundhouse with front leg, side kick to knee, punch with outside hand to midsection.  Helicopter double leg and knee.


I'm definitely trying to drink from the firehouse at this point.  I'm trying to remember moves, language and protocol.  Feels like the first week of classes all over again.  The two paragraphs above are a lame attempt to try to remember the one-step sparring combos I ran through this morning.  I know I can take a minute and go over the videos, but in the end, I have to memorize based on action.  Hopefully the notes I've got down from the videos will jive with my practical experiences.  

I've been working on my open book exam a little bit each day.  I'm down to the last few pages before I start working on my essays.  I've been told that I need to remember all the content in open book which is a daunting thought.  More material!


Keith and I worked on the one-step sparring for the whole class.  Distressingly, we were only able to get through the first four and then jumped to the last six where I had to go slow to sort all of the moves above and some more.  I thought we did well, but it was the base level learning and not particular refinement.  


Andy is off to get his knee worked on today.  I hope that goes well.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Wires Crossed

Another classic night of sleep before early morning beatings.  This means I'm waking up about three times to check my watch because I'm positive that I slept over my alarm.

It's starts about 1 am and by the time the alarm goes off I'm completely zombified.  Warm ups at the house were borderline ridiculous.  I was trying not to step on the cats and couldn't remember what I was doing from one thing to the next.  

I got to the school and started running in an attempt to get blood pumping to my brain.  I would say that once we got started that we were doing pretty good until we got into multiple moves and then I couldn't mirror moves very well.  At that point no matter what Keith said I couldn't get it straight.  

We ran through the basics and it went a bit better than Monday evening, but I still had to ask about Sang Soo do vs Sudo.  It's tough on me because they sound so similar when spoken quickly. It's the old "kick and then fall back into a cat stance and throw out a block" scenario.  It's confusing when I'm not awake.

After that we went into Il Soo sik.  Joseph was there so he was supposed to do Sam Soo sik (three moves to my "one"), but that was so confusing that we simply went with my "one step" stuff.  And instead of starting at the beginning we went to the end and started working on the last couple of moves.  I'm not sure that was the best idea because we bogged down on the mirroring issues.

In one step sparring we are supposed to be able to do the technique on either side of attack or execution (Mirroring).  Some of it's easier and some of it's complicated.  Today was just a mess.  I hate to blame Keith, since he was trying to help quite a bit, but I ended up being more and more confused.  And much of it was stuff that I've done before, but just spiraled downhill.  Keith said the wires were crossing.

Keith stopped us at the last couple of minutes so Joseph and I could spar.  I haven't done this in like six months, but I was excited and anxious to try my new kicks and was pleased that they came more naturally than I thought, but at one one point Joe and me got too close and tangled up and I ended up kneeing him in the groin when I tried set up for a kick.  Whoops!  He was okay, but I was pretty red-faced.

That got me a sparring basics talk which I totally deserved.  Out of practice and wires crossed.  Hopefully tomorrow will go better.  


Working on the open book test for the belt has been eye-opening.  I've got a lot to remember.  I feel good about the 8 main principles and getting better about the 10 rules, but there are reams of things to get under my belt.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Eyes On Me

In order for me to increase my instructional time I went to the Monday evening class for Dan candidates.  I was told that it could have anywhere from three to ten people depending on if people wanted practice or were in the middle of prepping for the upcoming exam.  

Mr. Moore was there working on his 2nd degree basics, so I had fairly uninterrupted attention from Colette and Andy.  This was also a longer class than I normally get in the morning.  I made this longer by showing up earlier and riding along in a beginner's class for a few minutes.  I got to run through the first form a few times which is like a small warm up.  Before I got there, I spent 20 or 30 minutes trying to warm up, because the weekend of sitting and socializing made me stiff.  Strangely warming up in the afternoon was more difficult than the morning.  

They ran me through the basics and for whatever reason I was off my game.  They found four big errors I need to clean up.  I don't normally make them, but I couldn't clear my brain.  I'm starting to think a full day of life really is tough.  Morning has strangely become a good time for me.  Starting with a clean slate

I'd mentioned to Colette that Keith had me using the dummy during kicking drills and how it really caused me a problem, so she dragged out "Bob" the dummy and made me work on distance and targeting.  Again, the mistakes started showing up pretty quickly, but she has a relaxed pace and allowed me to stick to it until the technique improved.  There are two kicks that are really frustrating to me. Jumping side kick and jumping, turning crescent.  The crescent has come along, but I think at that point I was experiencing a lot of embarrassment stress and things naturally fell apart.  

That consumed all the class time and we ended up chatting about upcoming events.  On the 8th we'll have a Saturday training/testing event for a half day, so I'm looking forward to that.  

Friday, December 17, 2021

Paper Prep And Missing Spots

Sa Bom Nim (Colette) got ahold of me last night and started going over the paperwork with me. There is a disturbingly large amount, and I was fairly overwhelmed right away.  I have to turn in several forms and then an open book test (I think).  Copies of old certs and masses of questions to address.  The complexity added comes from me being a Tang Soo Do transfer.  Ugh.  Nothing fits in the right box.

Colette asked me all sorts of questions and definitely hit a lot of my weak spots.  I'd made flash cards on a lot of areas but hadn't studied them in months.  So it's back to that and more.  Thankfully she's given me all sorts of materials to help deal with it all, but it sure does create a lot of tension in me.  If I do a tiny bit each day, it's a bit easier to deal with.  

One of the recently belted guys in the school, Bill, has reached out and offered to work with me once he's on his feet.  I hope sooner than later because I need to get as much one-on-one help with some things as I can.  Many the wrist grabs and locks (ho shin sul) because I do them so rarely and don't have a frame of reference.  Hopefully Keith can send me some notes.  


Today I ran through Bassai for a half hour and continued to work on refinements.  Even Keith said that he's nit-picking, but I don't mind.  I love getting into the nitty gritty that shows the judging panel that I've got that level of nuance.  

The second half of the class was dedicated to ho shin sul.  I've only got the first two of 14 memorized.  I can do the others if I'm prompted or shown.  About four of them I needed to completely be retaught because I simply do know them well enough.  Definitely a weak spot.

Next week will be focused on Il so sik.  I can kind of practice those on my own, but I need my cheat sheets to help me with the order.  To that end I was trying to learn to count in Sino-korean while did my warmup laps.  I need to know them so I can announce correctly.  I'm getting there.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

The Schedule Is Set!

I received an email from the school yesterday afternoon listed requirements for testing in April.  Me and another student were listed for the upcoming belt exam.  Pretty tense stuff for me.  If I didn't test in April, I'd have to wait till next October and that would be a long stretch to work on the same content, but I'd know it pretty darn good.

Andy asked me at the end of class if I was ready and I pointed him to Keith.  Keith said no problem.  Andy pointed at the board.  

The board is a whiteboard that has all the people who are going to be testing and their due dates.  It was a bit of shock to see my name up there.  My testing partner is ten, I think.  He knows it all of course.

So now I have 120 days to learn everything else.  In my mind I have to learn the wrist stuff almost in its entirety and the get freshened up on the rest of the one-step sparring.  I'm good up to 12, but not the ones beyond that (there's about four more, I think). 

The requirements are stressing me a bit.  There is an open book test, a closed book test and an oral exam.  I also have to write an essay which is probably my favorite thing.  It's only about four pages though.  Open book isn't too bad, but there is some digging involved.  However, the closed book is pretty frightening to me.  I might be able to pull out some of the Korean words, but definitely not all at this point.  Much to do in the intervening months.


Today was basics again following by kicking drills.  Another weak point for me.  I can physically do them, but to remember them is another issue.  If no one is calling them then I would have to guess.  Yuck.  

To spice things up Keith placed a water dummy between me and Joe.  This gives a target and helps with distancing, power and targeting.  I was absolutely surprised how much this threw me off.  Joe, who is forty years my junior may look a bit floppy at times brings a huge amount of power.  He regularly moved the dummy a foot in my direction.  I was never able to move it back all the way.  I took a small amount of satisfaction that I was able to do a few fairly well, but it didn't mean much when I started considering the exam again.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Sleep Makes The Focus On What's In Front Of You

I was putting myself through some paces during my weekend practice.  I wanted to see how long it took to go through basics, forms, breaking and Ill Soo Sik if I went without breaks. I also wanted to see what my fitness was by seeing if I was going to be out of breath.

It took me about 20 minutes, and I was only mildly exercised.  However, I was missing Ho shin sul, endurance and kicking drills, but I felt a bit better.  I don't think I'm much fitter, but I'm using less effort to do the basics so I'm doing much better overall when I consider the tests.  

Today was basics, but I wasn't really awake.  I keep waking up during the night figuring it was time to get up, so when I really did get up, I was fairly out of it.  I made a lot of small errors, or I got a lot of corrections that may or may not have been around before but being sleepy didn't help me at all.

That burned through most of the class, so I only got about ten minutes to work on forms.  I got a couple of good notes for Chil Sung, but most of the troubles were really centered around Nihanshi.  My height weighs against me.  I usually have a wide stance, but they want me to get my feet closer together and really bend my knees.  That's not too bad, but my balance starts to go.  Something to really work on and I thought I was doing so well on that.  Sigh.

I will say that my basics went a tiny bit easier for me because I was able to pick up more language queues.  I only needed one hint.  That was pretty big for me.  I also did my jumping outside/inside kicks a little better than usual. Whoop!  No comments from Keith!

Friday, December 10, 2021

One Step Cold Work

Another cold day this morning, but my home warm-up left me sweating so the five-minute drive wasn't too bad.  I just ran around until Keith showed up.  I was trying to practice the jumping outside crescent kick when he came.  So embarrassing.  

Today was all Il Soo Sik, or aka one-step sparring.  I can remember the first four, but after that I need a lot of prompting to remember the sequences.  There isn't any cute names to help me remember what's next, but it's getting there slowly.  There is fourteen of them and we got to eleven today.  

One thing that I struggle with is to keep my eyes on his face.  I usually watch my hands and feet to make sure I have good distance, but that's a no-no in SBD.  It's a strangely intimate feeling to be doing strikes on someone all the while staring them directly.  In my old school we kind of focused around the neck and shoulders to give us a body view.  Old dog, new tricks.

The video below shows them all in sequence.  A helpful tool for me at any rate.

My side lesson was how deep to bow.  I've been bending to 90 degrees and since Keith can't bend over to far because of his back he saw how far I was going and corrected to me about 50 degrees.  That was a lot easier on the hamstrings.  hah!


Thursday, December 09, 2021

Jumping Like Something

We seem to be finding a groove at the early O'clock class.  The lady on Zoom is signing on regularly now, Keith is doing a good job working with her and Keith's son is my partner for things.  

We ran through the basics which felt like it was going long because of all the corrections for everyone. We then moved on to kicking drills.  I've been fighting a bit of a balance issue due to congestion in my ears so turning is a bit of a challenge, but today I appeared to be fine.  

Joe and I went slowly through the kicking drills because we'd run into some where we couldn't remember the latest changes.  After the big regional conference, the TAC (technical committee) changed two of the kicks.  Making us concentrate on the preparatory stance on the jumping round house and sidekicks makes it easier, but neither of us could remember the details.

The first five of the kicks are non-jumping but difficulty ramps up quickly.  One I enjoy is the back spinning kick.  It's like it's designed to clean a table.  I'm not fast or accurate, but it's hilariously fun.  Complexity hits at number six when jumping is required.  I know I look shabby, but seeing Joe do some that he's not good at makes me feel a bit better, but I'd dread to see myself from another point of view.  All flapping arms and looking goofy.

Not Joe and me

We finished trying to do wrist releases, but neither Joe nor I could remember more than four of our own requirements.  He's up a belt level so he's does different ones.  Keith would come over to give us a hint but classed ended pretty quick.  

Hopefully Joe will be back tomorrow so I can work on those more.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Slowly Means Questions

Keith got back from his house buying trip and somehow managed to tweak his back.  He was walking very gingerly into the school this morning and couldn't bend over.  While I was warming up a bit, our Zoom student popped up. I groaned a bit because it meant that I wasn't going to get my private lesson time, but that rotated a bit.  Because Keith couldn't do much, he would call me over to demonstrate moves.   

My vanity got the better part of me.  Imagine me doing demos in my new school!  However, while I was doing some of the different kicks, he had to remind me in English and then correct bits and pieces.  Giant head deflated.

The theme of the week was Wan Gup which usually means speed control, but this time it meant slow fast.  To demonstrate this, I was asked to do my forms tai chi slow.  For any of you who go through this exercise on occasion will recognize my problem with this.  The more you can concentrate on details the more corrections you have to go through.  For me it started at the initial stance and pretty much went downhill.  There wasn't much that wasn't pointed out in my forms.  Too many questions and corrections.  

My bassai got the worst drubbings, but nothing horrible.  Easily corrected, but lots to remember.  

At the end of class I was to lead the ceremony!  My Korean is deplorable, so Keith and Andy were mumbling in the background so I could get it right.  I wondered when that would happen to me.  I usual mumble along in the beginning of class so I can get the words.  Thankfully I've been working on that a bit.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Change Up

I'm going to guess that instructors of any ilk have to change things up to make the learning experience interesting for themselves and the student in the long run.  

After only 7 months I'm not really feeling the need to mix things up since I'm just struggling to learn the basics.  In this case the wrist lock escapes and one-step sparring routines.  Whereas in Shudokan and Tang Soo Do the wrist work was really focused on a quick release, SBD is really into some snazzy techniques.  It starts the same as the other schools.  Grabs in every direction and then you move your arm to exploit the weakness in the grip.  SBD adds another layer by using twists and strikes as a follow up.

Today Andy decided to mix things up by blending the ho sin sul (wrist stuff) with the il soo sik (one step sparring).  We'd start the grab but throw in the second half of one step work.  We honestly didn't get very in terms of the number of techniques, but Andy figures we squeezed in a bunch of basic technique refinement that had value beyond the basic physical work.  Either way, it was fairly fun.

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Old Man Strong

Now that Keith is off on his house hunting tour, Andy is back to teaching me.  Our additional zoom student disappeared so I've got Andy all to myself.  Since I did the hardcore run through of basics and kicking drills yesterday, we went straight to forms.

Using the whole hour on forms means that I have to remember a lot of corrections.  I've only got three, but my head can get filled pretty quick especially if they are small things.  I got a lot of compliments on improvement, but I was still mumbling the fixes out loud in attempt to remember.  

At one point Andy was trying to get me to understand a movement out of bassai and demoed on me.  It was a throw!  Oh man I thought that was going to hurt, but I ended up being suspended from the floor.  For 70 years of age, Andy is incredibly strong.  He then picked me up from the suspended state.  I couldn't help but laugh.

The weekly lesson is Soo Gi/Wah Gi.  Fire and water.

The block is water, but the chamber is fire.  The metaphor extends from there, but I can see myself in the test going slack jawed trying to remember.

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Two In One Class

With Keith leaving I'm trying to get as much time with him as I can.  Andy and Keith have different emphasizes and I like the contrast, so it's going to hurt when he's gone.  He's very into kicks and I'm digging that because I need so much help there.  Andy is an overall teacher and it's great, but he's not much into the kicks due to age (70!).   

Keith and his family are leaving for the Texas to look for a house so he'll be back, but the morning session is going to be run by Andy for at least the next two days.  The lady who was attending early wasn't on Zoom today so it was just Keith, his son and me.  Which is fine because his attention is only split 50/50.  As more people are in class, the less individual time you get.  

Wednesday means that the week starts for me so it's basics.  Keith's son is up a rank so his basics are pretty intense.  So I start with a down block and he starts with a jumping kick, a block and a strike.  Gads.  Talk about warming up early!

The gist of today was that we go through the basics and then did kicking drills.  We finished right on the end of class.  Tremendous progress for me especially missing two days last week, but I've been practicing diligently on my own time and not feeling great about it.  I got a few compliments and that'll keep me happy for the next few days.

It was a big accomplishment for the start of the day and I wasn't even sure that I'd make it.  I finally got a booster yesterday and wasn't sure how my body would respond to it all.  I tossed and turned a bit last night, but other than that I was good.  We'll see how it goes tonight.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Shock And Sadness

I got to class a bit early and Colette was outside walking her dog.  As we went through our pleasantries she stumbled over "the news".  Keith and his family are moving to Texas in a few months!  What!?  He's off to another job, but I thought he was going to be taking over the school at some point!  

I mean I was shocked, but I kept wondering how much it would affect the school.  Keith teaches several classes a day and his wife has been the stalwart teaching the tiny tigers class for years.  I can only imagine what Andy and Colette must be thinking.  Or they just go along with it and sort out what to do next.  Hard to say; they can be very inscrutable.  

The class was very interesting in that we had a new member via Zoom and Keith brought his son.  So the biggest morning class ever for me.  Hah.  But, as I guessed, because there is more than one person I don't get that private lesson attention that I love so much now.  

I also just realized that Andy might not want to do the early class either.  So many questions!

Class today was basics and forms.  Standard but with a lot less corrections because Keith had to pay attention to the new student.  

Sigh, still processing all this.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Deep Sleep To Kicks In A Half Hour

What a start to the day. For the first time ever I slept through my alarm, I slept through my coffee maker starting and was only starting to wake up when the cat was scratching at the litter box.  My wife finally nudged me and told me to get up.  Let's just say I was disoriented.  At least I didn't fall over while trying to get my underwear on and take the rest of the time just trying to get my knots tied on my gi.

My wife told me later she was worried about me driving over to the school.  Thankfully no one is on the streets, but I managed to do a late break so I wouldn't run over an early morning runner.  Figures.

I did my normally but abbreviated warm up this morning at the school.  I run around the room counting in Korean to get my legs moving better.  I start with very modest exercise at the house just wake everything up.  

Andy wanted to complete our work from yesterday.  We had four more wrist grabs/escapes to complete.  I didn't recall these, but apparently I'd done them with Keith awhile back, so it took a bit to remember them.  These four consist of two side wrist grabs and two back wrist grabs.

The back grabs consist of the bad guy holding your arms behind your by your wrists.  In the two different variations, one pulls down and one pushes up.  The push up one we lean over and give a back kick and then step back and switch grips and cycle your arms into a double arm bar.  Once I relaxed it worked fine, but thinking of two wrist releases at the same made my head ache.  

After than we move to Il soo sik. Il soo sik is one step sparring.  That means your partner, the shoe, throws a punch and you do three or four moves against them. For instance, I front kick into an attack, side kick, knock arm out of the way and then do a spinning inside/outside kick, followed by a punch to the gut.

The ones I can remember:

- Sudo the punch, punch the gut, punch the face, round house the stomach
    - Then do it from the left

- Inside block to block the punch, punch the gut, punch the face and then side kick the body.
    - Then do it to from the left

That's four of them and then the ones I did above.  Boy I need a better memory.


On one of the techniques we bring down the edge of the hand on the cheek bone.  It's a unique overhand kinda thing.  Andy got a piece of breaking wood out and held it out approximately in the place where we I would hit during the Il so sik.  Boom first try.  There is something other worldly about breaking wood with a hand.  Very reaffirming.  

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Eleven Wrists

After the vigorousness of the day yesterday, Andy moved to something a little less strenuous to start us off.  Wrist locks!  Hin So Shul for the rest of us.  I have eleven learned, but unable to recall fully them. In my case Andy goes first and I can do them with less and less prompting, but can't start them by myself.  

Me and Andy were talking about testing in April after I asked if I would get partnered with a more advanced student as a standard.  I was thinking I could handle it if the other guy went first.  No such luck.  You can never tell who your partner might be.  So I have to learn these inside and out.  

As we got further through the techniques Andy said that speed isn't the essence in the exam.  Showing the technique is what is important.  That helps me slow my horses down.  

My recollection, even after two weeks off, wasn't horrible.  Out of the eleven that I know, I think there was about two that needed a complete relearn. Generally, shown once I could reproduce things fairly well.  I'm trying to give them nicknames so I can remember the first move.  That usually helps me to a degree.  


As we talked about testing, Andy bought up the April session.  I thought I was going to be in the October group.  I missed the pretest this last testing and thought that had something to do with to process, but Andy went saying that he was going to rely on Keith's report in the next couple of months.  Eek!  

Wednesday, November 17, 2021


Our school got shut down for two weeks due to a Covid outbreak.  Four kids and two adults.  Today was my first day back and I had hoped for a better practice regimen during the off time, but it was about every two days on average.  Good enough that I didn't look like a complete nincompoop, but it could have been better I think.  

Andy is running the classes this week.  He just got back from an eight day test for his 6th degree belt.  It sounded grueling.  7 am to 11 pm for eight days straight.  The cool thing was that Hwang Jang Nim was there and oversees most of the review.  Forty people were testing for high ranks.  One was going for their eight degree.  Impressive.  Andy and Colette won't know about the results for six months.  Huh.

My practice space is in our downstairs family room, which as carpet.  So my practice area is a bit nicer on the feet.  Going back today, and on the hardwood, has left my feet fairly tender.  Ouch.  

I did get a nice compliment from Andy.  He said, "the basics are looking better".  I'll take that!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Popping and Cracking

Just some observations.  

I notice that my ten minute warm up is fairly helpful to prep for class.  SBD uses these stiff legged movements to loosen up the hip joints.  I didn't care for them at first, but now I see they can be used to judge how flexible I actually am.  I notice that when I wake up the popping in my hips can be fairly alarming, but as I warm up I notice that goes away and I can test the range of motion without fearing that I might hurt myself.  

I gather when we sleep, fluids and gases accumulate around joints.  An example is cracking one's knuckles.  Hip joints are just bigger pops; at least on me.

Keith and I worked on wrist grabs for most of the day and then finished up with some one step sparring.  It's getting a little bit more fluid, but I can't remember them very well.  I have to have Keith give me a prompt.  He pointed out that a regular student would have had plenty of practice learning a few at a time over the course of their career.  By the time they get to my "level" they should have most of it memorized to the core.  For me I'm learning everything all at once.  Ugh.  

Just working on push-ups.  I forced 40 this morning which required two stops (I just downward dog for a rest).  Only 15 to go this morning.  

Looking forward to a weekend of possible sleeping in.  Hah!

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Kicks And Throws

I feel like I should be sitting on an icepack while I type this.  My back is fairly sore, but I'm able to bend pretty well.  Today was was basics and kicking drills.  Since Keith is slightly out of commission due to a pulled back muscle (not from beatings) he brought his son in to act as my partner.

First we did the basics.  I'm getting better, but the Korean is still tough on me on three or four of the techniques and I have some skill issues of course, but none of this contends with what the son has to go through.  He starts out where my mine is getting challenging.  I feel for the guy.  They are tough.  He starts out at jumping kicks.  

After that, which felt like a lot more work than I remember, and only doing three or four of each, we moved over to the kicking drills.  Now that I've done this a bit more I was excited to see what I could remember and/or do well/or not.  Although there were plenty of corrections I have one that really frustrates me.  The jumping inside to outside kick.  You have to jump with both feet at the same time, swing the kick to the outside and then back straight down and then land carefully.  Both the son and me weren't landing our kicks very gracefully.  Thankfully Keith didn't grimace.  There was probably too much to correct, hah.  

One kick that worked out better was the jumping roundhouse.  Today was the first time it actually looked a bit better.  No compliments, but no corrections, so I count that as a positive.  

After we finished the kicking portion we moved to one-step sparring.  We picked up where we left off - today was 13 and 14.  Back up with a knife hand (back stance), and then grab hand.  Round house kick, let go and outside to inside kick to shoulder.  Jump to the side of baddie and sweep the leg and press back with arm and Shoe goes down.  

It sounded pretty good, but the son and me managed to have all sorts of problems.  Including our falls.  I'm usually good with that, but haven't had to go down in years.  Thus my back feeling it.  And, as per usual, Andy and the others start showing for class and get to see us in all of our uncoordinated glory.  No one makes fun, but we are a mess.  

Nothing vaguely this cool.


Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Pushing Through

As I'd like to be better at the techniques, I practiced Saturday, Monday and Tuesday so I wouldn't look too shabby today.  I think this pays off, but I should probably be practicing Saturday and Sunday regularly.  Somehow the weekends get away from me.  

I turned 55 this Monday and as I mentioned, progress is pleasing at this point in my life.  As part of this progress I set up a deal with my self to do 55 push ups a day for 55 days.  I'd done something like this in my late 30s with 100 push ups for 100.  That was a tough start, but this seems tougher.  I'm only a few days at this point, but my chest is telling me I've got some growth to go.  

In class, I somehow thought I was going to rip right through the basics, but we ended up working on them for 45 minutes.  As usual the kicks present an issue for me, but as we progress Keith has been able to diagnose a lot of the reasons why one side is better than the other and then help me fix that pretty quickly.  That is super fun.  

A case in point was my spinning back kick.  One side is good and other, not so much.  Meaning I'm kicking low and losing my balance after the fact. 

The corrections:

  • moving my non-kicking foot into proper location
  • bending my weight supporting knee significantly and keeping it that way
  • depending on the kick; I need to twist up tight to spot correctly
  • keep the torso pointing downward, ahead of the spotting
  • and so on
I'm sure I'll be revisiting this quite a bit, but today felt like I had two big fixes and they felt great.

Friday, October 15, 2021

No Youth And Some Vigor

Kicking drills.  I'm not sure why I'm so excited by them, but in the course of talking about class to anyone that would listen to me blather on, I found that my new found enthusiasm seems to be based on the fact that I'm turning 55 in a few days and I'm not stressing about getting older for the first time in a long time.  Why you ask? I'm mentally in a good space, I don't have any florid physical problems, and then there is the martial arts.  

SDB is turning out to be just what I needed when I need it.  Even though my growth in this style is modest, I'm able to see it.  So, although I'm getting older I'm able get feedback that I'm getting better at something.  And it's a physical thing!  We're supposed be getting slower and smaller and all that.  And I'm avoiding that for a little bit longer!  

Today's positive feedback was actually after we did the kicking drills.  I was asking about breaking and how frequently we practice that.  Quick answer - not that often, but as I get closer to testing I'll practice with wood, but in the mean time it's pads.  

Keith pulled out the the water dummy and explained the set up of the kick (jumping, turning back kick) a bit better.  Jumping kicks are set up in a corner stance and offset from the target.  So when I turn and duck down for the jump, I'm able to spot the target and the kick lands easily.

I was able to repeat this three times in a row at the appropriate height!  He then set the dummy on a line and and wanted me to put force into the kick.  If I can move it back two inches then that equates to two boards.  

I smashed it and it moved back the requisite two inches!  Whoop!  I just have to keep that up!  I was floating by the time I got home.  Too much adrenaline.


Note - It would appear that if you concentrate on where you place your feet following the execution is as important as the kick itself.  It turns you in the air better, etc.  

Soon baby!

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Robot Kick

We started the day with Ho Sin Sul, (wrist locks and escapes) which is interesting, but I wasn't totally awake yet.  I would say that by halfway through the class I was able to keep up and do a reasonable job, but by that time we'd gone through so much material I not actually sure what I was able to retain. 

There are thirteen wrist locks and escapes (I think) which are done in succession from one side and then the other.  We do cross hand grabs, same side grabs, two on one and two on two.  I still have to so sides and the rear, but the learning curve is significant.  Back in my old TSD school we went through this so I'm fairly aware of the ideas, but these are all slightly different.  

After getting through the two on two grabs we moved over to Il Soo Sik (one step sparring).  I think there are eighteen of these.  We were focusing on where we left off (maybe number 12?) and jumped into some complicated ones.  The last one we worked on was a front kicked followed by a turn and back kick, a big block and then a punch.  I was starting to not look like a robot and then Keith had me to do the technique on the other side.  Back to robot.  

I never thought I would say that I was happy to go to kicking drills, but that's tomorrow.  Gotta stretch out fully tonight and tomorrow.

Just like that

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Japanese Or Korean Accent

I miss going to beatings on my off days, but by the end of the week I'm fairly exhausted and I experience some dread getting up and working as hard as we do. This comes from my light sleeping and waking up early.  I love sleeping in when I can and it's become very hard to do over the years.  Since I get up at five for beatings, I need to get to bed fairly early to be fresh.  I doesn't always work as the week goes by.  

The belt exams were during the weekend and we could sign in and watch via Zoom.  This was a unique method and I loved it because I could sit at home and enjoy the process in my sweats, drinking coffee.  I was able to watch a few fellows from my school go for their first (cho) and then watch Keith go for his (Ee).  The format had changed a bit so instead of rest breaks between skills they had to go all the way through.  So exhaustion was a big issue.  

I also found out that the exam is not strictly pass or fail.  Well maybe if you blow enough of the sections it's a fail, but of my three, two folks have to go back in a few weeks to redo a section.  Once your cohort completes the redos all the testers get their belt.  

Since I opted not to do the pre-evaluation I won't be able to test in April which might have been a possibility, but I'll end up testing next October and I "should" be squared away by then.  My pre-evaluation will occur in April.  


Today was basics and forms.  What I found in the test was basics are performed in threes.  So it's pretty fast.  I finally figured out that was what Keith was running me through.  He would add one or two more for techniques that needed a lot of love.  Out of the thirteen basics I have, about three or four that really need fine tuning.  I'd like to see those improve for sure, but I understand that in any martial art I'm always going to get a lot of finer and finer detail to address things.  

After we finished going through the forms a few times Keith collected his thoughts. I can't give you the verbatim, but this is my best recollection.

"I can see when you do Nihanshi and Passai, that you are bringing your history with you.  When you do Chil Sung - since you learned it here - that you are doing as we would do the form.  You still are showing your Karate roots in the other forms.  All the pieces are in place but we need to you move over to the Korean side of the house.  It's like speaking with an accent.  We want to you to develop a Korean accent."  

Gotta work on that accent!

Friday, October 08, 2021

Ookie Shoe

 As per usual, Keith and me were twisting and kicking all through the class.  We went through all the wrist grabs (14?) and then moved on to one step sparring.  I think we got to seven.  While I did my elementary moves in a halted, uncoordinated fashion, Keith would do his more complicated higher stuff - practicing a bit for his test tomorrow.  This ended up being a bit jarring from time to time as the impact was a reminder to loosen up instead of eating kicks and grabs.  

Talk about a flashback.  I remember the shoulder discomfort from this stuff from back in my TSD days.  I'm going to be so sore.  Ugh.  

Andy asked me if I was going to do the pre-eval at the end of class.  There wasn't any pressure, but I realized as I was driving home that I didn't want to do it where I wasn't with other people around.  Weird.  It wasn't like anyone was going to feed me the lines anyway, but I can imagine flailing around in my basement trying to guess at what Korean was being said on a zoom call.  Somehow that was more embarrassing?

I'll watch Keith and Bill test tomorrow to get an idea of what the test looks like in action.  

In Japanese styles the guy that throws the punch and gets tossed around in tests (and practice) is called an Uke.  It's pronounced "Oo-kay".  In Korean the term is Shoe.  I have no idea how it's spelled yet.  Keith has a sizable volume of partners work for his test and Andy is going to be his Shoe.  Hah!  

Aww Yeah!  Bill should walking away with the Midnight Blue!

Thursday, October 07, 2021

Fitness Alert!

I got another message from class - My fitness extends to kicking drills and then I'm starting to tap out.  I was told today by Keith that the process goes Basics then kicking drills, then self defense, then breaking, then endurance (120 punches in 30 seconds) and then forms.  Holy cow!  I was gassing at the end of the kicks.  Granted I'm not great at them which means that I'm working harder than necessary, but over all pretty tiring.   

Colette sent me a message yesterday asking if I was going to participate in the Friday evening pre-evaluation for potential black-belts.  I didn't even know what it was.  As far as I can tell, they run through the test to see what areas to work on.  On top of that I'm not sure if they wanted to me to show up at the school or do something via zoom.  I'm really not great at interpreting stuff via text or email apparently.  In the end I don't think I'm even ready to do the eval because I can't understand the words for stuff just yet.  Keith said I should be ready by March.  I'll take him on his word there.  

He and a couple of others will travel down to Camus tomorrow evening and take their tests while we can watch via zoom!  Pretty exciting stuff.  At least I can see the protocol and all that.  

I've come to find that being the morning zombie class of one is rewarding, but keeping up with the school is tough.  I feel like I'm missing a lot.  

Not me.  Photostock man is way more handsome

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Testing, But Not Me Thankfully

The Dan test weekend is coming up so my teacher, Keith is going to be heading off with a few others to show their stuff.  He's got a tremendous heel bruise, that looks horrific, from some hard practice.  He was a bit ginger during class, but ended up doing jumping axe kicks without any problem.  If he was having a problem it didn't seem so from my point of view.  

To prep for this week I made sure I practiced the last two days and sorted out a few more of the errors I've been making.  Namely a jumping side kick followed by a punch.  I'd been leaping incorrectly - I should have been turning in the air to use the rear foot as the kicking foot.  And I totally forgot the lead foot pumping to get me more height.  Ah well, that's sorted out now and looks a bit better.

Today's class was basics and we ran through that fairly quickly with corrections on only a few items.  Better?  Maybe.  

We ended up on forms where there was a plethora of corrections.  I'm good about remembered a third at best.  You skip a couple of days and it's all down hill I swear.


I'm coming up on my 55th birthday and have meditated on it a bit.  The only real question is how long can I be this active doing this kind of thing?  I would like to be able to keep doing this with the assumption that I'll get better, but I think the consensus is that you don't get better as you get older.  That doesn't appear to be true though, at least not in my case.  I'm getting more comfortable with the kicks and jumps and even a little bit with the Korean.  

So I'll update my profile in a couple of weeks and keep moving forward with the thought that I'll get better.  

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

One Day Week

My wife has been gone most of the month so I've had some difficulty stabilizing my life. Trying to get to bed on time and eat right; stuff like that.  Last week I did pretty good and, as always, it makes going to beatings so much easier.  

I've only got space in my schedule for one class this week and that was this morning.  And as usual, my enthusiasm wakes me up at least an hour before my alarm.  To my knowledge I've only slept to the alarm once.  So I started waking around 4 and tried to force myself back to sleep.  That didn't work.  So I tossed and turned for 40 minutes and finally got up.

I had plenty of time to warm up at the house and practice forms so when I got to the school I didn't have too much to do to get ready, which is nice!  More stretching and practicing roundhouses.

Because it's a one day week Keith and I decided to focus on Ho shin sul.  This is the self-defense/one-step sparring.  There are ten (I think!) and we got up to nine.  It's really five techniques, but you have to mirror the technique.  So the attacker delivers a right punch and you either attack or defend from the right side and then the left.  

I started out with the basics to get warmed up. I can tell that my technique is good enough when he doesn't make a comment. I can track some progress in this fashion.  Of the 13 basics I have four or five that still need tons of work, but each time they are getting better.  


I finally got to have lunch with another student this weekend.  Bill is going to be testing for this BB in a couple of weeks.  He said that I might be getting a pre-eval myself.  No one has mentioned that, but I can't imagine that'd it would go well.  He said it was a modest skill check and the big heads give you feedback.  That sounds reasonable.  

Friday, September 24, 2021

Clear-headed Beatings

Almost looks like a prep for a Peet Chai Kick

I hit the ground running this morning.  I went to bed at the correct time and slept through to the alarm (7.5 hours!), woke up refreshed and alert.  Did my light warm up and petted the cats.

Got to the school early as usual and started my newish routine.  I run counter clockwise while counting in Korean for three or four laps and then switch direction and do the same again.  Then I do a bunch of chair height squats and then start stretching again.  If I have time before Keith comes in, I do roundhouse kick preps. Not actually a full kick, but bringing my leg up and making sure my ground leg is bent.  It's just a way to check my balance and get hips a bit warmer.  

Since the schedule was bit off today, Keith had me run through a few basics to warmup and then move on to Forms.  I finally had a thing sink in today!  Defensive use of hip versus offensive.  In defensive use, the hip follows the block and the Offensive hip rotates back very far to match the striking arm or leg.  

After going through a lot of nitty-gritty we worked on my three forms, Chil sung ee ro, Nihanshi and Passai.  Each one got a lot corrections and review which ate up the whole class time, but what I drew of the work today was running the form like it was Tai Chi.  It forces use of slow twitch muscles instead of the fast twitch and causes me to think which completely unravels the form.  

My prescription is to do the form fast and then slow and then try to find the speed somewhere in between.  Weeee.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Modest Day

I made sure I went to bed right on time last night because I wanted to be well-rested and squared away this morning.  Unfortunately, my excitement about getting to beatings meant that I got up earlier than I hoped.  I think I was up at four thirty.  I just spend the time lightly warming up here at home and having some coffee for a few minutes. 

I thought my second day of the week was forms, but because Keith's son came to class again he wanted to get partner drill time in.  I was only familiar with the first four partner drills.  They are based on a single attack (punch) from the partner and then you, as the defender, respond in a pattern of moves.  It's usually a block, punch to stomach, punch to face and then a kick to body or face.  These change slightly in the beginning and get more complicated as we progress.  I was able to get to seven today.   

Due to my general lack of coordination that burnt the whole day.  I'm sure Keith was hoping to get farther, but there was a lot of attention on the details.  

Andy saw me struggling with the jump kicks yesterday and said, "since you're over 50 you don't need to do those.  You can replace them with a hand technique".  Figures.  I'm sticking with jumping since I can do it and I'm getting slightly better as time goes on.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Sweating, Spinning, and Jumping

I took a week off to go back East to visit my Dad.  I had only intended to miss a few days of class, but ended up taking all of last week off due to jetlag.  Apparently it's getting harder for me to recover from flying West than it used to.  Anyway, it was great to get back to class today, but my practice was intermittent so I wasn't feeling confident.  

My practice consists of doing the three kata and the thirteen basics and maybe a few hand techniques if I can remember them.  This takes about a half hour and it leaves me completely drawn.  I talked with Keith about it and he explained the exam is broken up so there are some rest breaks involved.  But to improve my anaerobic conditioning he suggested doing two hundred punches a day.  Gads.  My practice for the 120 in 30 seconds has left my rear delts completely torn up.  I'll have to go slow to do his recommended work.  

Today was basics and kicking drills.  Even with inconsistent practice I was able to forget certain pieces that I thought were really good and in place. I also had to correct three or four that I'd been practicing incorrectly altogether.  Yeah Korean.  

After sweating through the basics, which includes three jumping kicks, it was on to the kicking drills.  I generally like this kind of thing, but I was in rough shape.  It starts pretty simple, and gradually gets more and more complicated.  We go to the last three which require a spin and jump.  I'd soaked my gi (dobok) at that point and never so thankful that the time ran out.  

Incremental improvement!       

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Quick Note Before Vacay

It's day two in my sequence of training and that means forms! I generally love doing them and corrections are usually easy to put into place, but today there was a few too many to absorb.  

I've been practicing once a day and have been trying to knock off the errors that I can see.  Today I found that I'd been practicing a few things incorrectly - as per usual.  It's a standard for me.  Since we are doing three forms and there was multiple fixes I need to right things down pretty quick to remember stuff.


  • first U punch is a slide over
  • first crescent kick after the ball grab, stand up straight first before kick
  • stomp louder
  • at stomps at blocks before elbow fist strikes
  • get low and stay that way
  • more hips!
Chil Sung
  • get low
  • timing is an issue.  I keep thinking about what the next move is, but forget there is timing in every form.
I'm going on vacation tomorrow and won't get a class in till next Friday.  Lots of practice at my Dad's house I'm guessing.  

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Finally, Some Height

Make no mistake, at fifty-four (for another month) Soo Bahk Do is challenging.  I'm pretty sure I made it abundantly clear that the hand stuff isn't too bad, but the kicks and jumps are really difficult for me.  As a result I've been practicing every day to see if I can find the right dynamic to get me to where I need to be going.

Due to the four stretch between classes I have ample opportunity to work at all the notes I'm collecting.  As I slowly incorporate them into regular practice, the focus has moved to my more advanced techniques.  One of the hand techniques I'm trying to get used to is the Jang Kap Kwon Kong Kyuk (say that three times fast).  

I can't even describe this very well, but it's a strike to the front and the rear.  The front is a jab, while the back swings around in a 270 degree backfist.  If it connects it cleans the clock.  It's like nothing I've ever done before, but done right feels awesome and looks cool.  I can't say that it would be any use in a fight, but if you have someone behind you, it might work out.  It's all timing and hips of course.

But mostly my learning curve is all about the kicks.  As I've mentioned before neither of my previous schools really focused a great deal on kicks.  Here, the most basic levels have a good deal of kicks under their belt.  So their foundation pretty solid by the time to they get to BB level.  Jumping isn't too much of stretch.

Currently my jump related kicks are a jumping front, a jumping side and a jumping inside out. I'm now trying to learn the jumping back with a turn.  I'd been working with kicking at low pillows, but distance and height have been the enemy, to say nothing of targeting.  

Today there was a bit of sunshine; my practice was incorrect, but it gave me slightly better footing in our work today.  We first saw improvement on the jumping inside/out.  By moving my stance to be perpendicular and launching on both legs at the same time I was able to give a reasonable facsimile of a decent kick.  But we both saw the height go way up. 

We moved on to the turning, jumping, back kick.  I'm going to say that my improvement is measured on increments.  Today I got maybe two increments.  We pulled out the water dummy and set a mark on the floor.  Based on the movement back, we can loosely assume that one inch is about one board broken.  Each inch is another board, etc.

I finally started to see some height here.  I'm hitting about belt level, but I'm supposed to be about six inches higher.  Still, it was miraculous to me.  Targeting was crap though.  I've got a micro second to check the target before it's lost under all the body movement.  

I went home completely ragged out, but pleased about the slight improvement.


Friday, September 03, 2021

Kicking To Happiness

Il so sik and Ho sin sul

Part of the Soo Bahk Do curriculum is self-defense (Il So Sik), but based around wrist and elbow locks.  There is eighteen of them and I'm supposed to be demonstrating proficiency in them at some point. I made it to nine today so I'm half way as it were.  Thankfully many of them are one side and then the other so it cuts down on remembering something super new.  

The second area is Ho Sin Sul which is one-step sparring. Your training partner initiates action with a single punch and you do two to four response moves.  The standard response it do block, do two strikes and end with a kick, but there is a bunch of these to explore.  I'm not sure where I'm at with these, but they are fun and engaging.  

I was doing well today and this could be attributed to a few things.  My work week has been horrible this week.  10 hour days and unendurable stress.  So bad that I can't sleep.  However the magic of beatings is that you go in and for an hour you can't think about anything else and you can come out whistling or singing until the world catches up to bite you on the ass.  

I worry that I'm too tired to do the class, but yesterday Keith worked me so hard that I thought I wasn't going to walk right ever again and today Andy kept me going straight through.  

The benefit of sleeplessness is that you can get up early and spend a lot of extra time getting warmed up.  When I left the house this morning I was already sweating.  I had two cups of coffee and was ready to go.  I got to the school early and ran while counting in Korean.  Pretty good start!  

Not me at all

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Getting My Weird Kicks On

 My second day of the martial week is supposed to be forms, but Keith wanted to finish up the last couple of kicks from the 18 skills we were working through yesterday.  As a warm up he had me go through the 15 from yesterday very quickly.  In this case, I did three of each on both sides instead of five plus.  I was able to get through that in thirty-five minutes.  I also looked a bit better.  More stable, less hurky-jerkiness.

Then we worked on the last three kicks.  The first is Peet Cha Gi.  This is an inverted roundhouse.  It is bizarre, but very cool.  It's the signature kick of SBD and is featured on all their documents.  For instance a regular roundhouse uses the backleg to swing around hit the target on the side or head.  Peet Cha uses the opposing side foot to hit in the same spots.  

watch out for no face!

The next two burned so much time I don't even want to talk about it.  The first is a jumping, turning, crescent kick and the second is the opposite.  Ghastly.


Just add a spin and jump!

At some point I imagine those will look better, but boy do I have a lot of work to do.  

After that introduction to complete humiliation we worked on Chil Sung till the end of class.  I thought I looked somewhat better, but he targeted all kinds of issues, but the big one was the way the hips move in a regular punch.  Super weird dynamics, but I need to get them down because they can see every time I don't do them. Hah.  

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Kicking My Way Downtown

It felt like the worst class I've attended so far.  I was wide awake and feeling fairly limber, but it was basics day and that meant at some point I would be jumping.  

To warm up Keith started running me through the 18 combos I apparently need to know for either my test or just in general.  We got through 15 of them, to which I would say none of them looked very good.  It's not like they were overly difficult, but they were new to me and consequently the details were shabby.  Also trying to understand the long sentences turned out to be next to impossible.  

After forty minutes of that mess, Keith switched to kicks.  I'm not going to go into detail about what I did and didn't get accomplished, but it was horrifying in my minds eye.  We got up to spinning, jumping kicks.  The horror.  

Since last week I've been trying to practice the spinning, jumping back kick (E dan dwi cha gi). To get used to the dynamic of it, I set a pillow on the back of a low chair so I could target and force my foot up farther.  In this case, thigh height.   I was hoping to look smoother and was rewarded with bad balance and bad targeting combined with no height.  Sigh.  This was repeated through most of the kicks.  I saw a little light in a few spots, but not much else.  

A moment of note - when we were doing the kicking drills I suddenly didn't feel good.  I had to ask to stop for a moment.  I'd completely gassed myself.  I actually felt faint, but didn't necessarily need air.  I mean, I wasn't huffing and puffing and gulping air.  So who knows.  I might not have had enough food yesterday?  

Friday, August 27, 2021

E Dan Spells Trouble

Keith came back from his vacation and this is the last day of my martial class week which means work on Il Soo Sik (one-step sparring).  Before we got started he thought I ought to do some basics to warm up.  For once my concern for flexibility and injury has dropped because I've been getting up early (instead of by the alarm) and lightly working out until it's time to go the the school.  

One kick that really tells me my hamstring or glute is tight is the outside to inside crescent kick.  Designed to break collar bones, it requires the kicker to get the foot/leg straight up and then down with a straight leg.  Imagine doing a split in the air.  Never my best anyway, but the warm up really helped me.  I didn't feel any noticeable tugs in tendons and muscles.  

And then he said the words "E dan".  I'm not saying I dread it, but it means second level and that means jumping.  In all the martial arts I've studied, there hasn't been much jumping.  So I'm like a giant gangly goober when it comes to this stuff.  I think my jumping front kick is passible, but that's about it.  Today we hit on the one I must know very well since it's part of the blackbelt exam; E dan dwi cha gi.  Cha gi mean kick and dwi means turning and e dan, of course, means jumping.  In this case it all comes together as a jumping, spinning back kick.  When I finally got one that looked vaguely correct, my kick was just north of ankle height.  Wow, do I have a long way to go.  

Now just add a jump to that.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Straight Up Bassai

Second day of my training week is forms, but since Andy worked me on Bassai yesterday, I just assumed we'd work on something else.  We started with a few one-step combos to warm up, but he pointed out these are no long in circulation. He likes to revisit them on occasion to remember and help work on basics.

Then we jumped into Bassai and made it all the way to the end of the form.  Here's the rushed video I did as soon as I got home.

don't look too close

I am clearly not going to win any prizes with this, but I'm just doing reference videos so see where I need to work or just check progress.  Honestly I just don't want to forget stuff.  I have a lot of work to do.  

I'm glad that I was able to get through the whole thing.  During the learning I kept doing moves from the past.  Forgetting the past is tough some days.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Bassai and Breaking

Normally my first day of the training week is dedicated to basics, but Andy took a slight turn so we could continue working on the form, Bassai.  

We started out by doing a few basics, but to spice it up I was instructed to do combos.  Kick to block or kick to strike.  That was fun and definitely warmed me up.  For once I was looking pretty comfortable and managed to keep my balance most of the time.  By the end I was getting shaky and I'm not totally sure why.  I wasn't tired, but my balance was giving up and causing a cascade of errors.  

We spend the rest of the class on Bassai.  I imagine I'm over half way complete, but we went over my progress and cleaned up a few items and added a lot more steps.  I'm remembering a lot more from the past which surprised me.  It's probably been eight plus years since I did the TSD version and I only did a few times at Shudokan.  

Since I've started with SBD, I've been commiserating with my old web cohort Bob Patterson.  He's retired from Martial stuff for the time being, but remains a great source when referring from jumping from art to art.  We have been going back and forth about requirements and I was expressing concern with breaking due to my lack of experience.  I knew he did complicated kicks at one point and while we were talking about the different things he pointed out that he had to do a brick break!  What!?  They had concrete bricks and he went through it in one, but he said afterwards his forearm hurt for a week.  I guess we  know where the stress goes!

He said practice impact as much as you can.  I got figure out how to do that!

Friday, August 20, 2021

The Talk

pretty much like this

There comes a time in every martial artists life where the teacher casually brings up testing.  This is my second transfer to a new art and the conversation really didn't come up in the beginning of my work at this school.  I believe the prevailing thought was that I needed to work on a transfer of belt status so they needed to see what I remembered.  

As per usual I'm pretty much focused on just trying to do what's in front of me and really don't think too much about testing.  If you've read this blog long you'll know how focused I was on the tests at my old school.  The count of years disappeared quickly when you have to learn so much in a relatively short time.  

In this school I've been keeping my eye on learning.  Redoing basics, learning language and figuring out protocol.  Time has been passing and my process has accelerated because I'm basically taking private lessons three times a week.  So I'm starting to see progress in skills and so are my teachers.  

At the end of class today Andy asked if I'd be interested in testing in the Spring or another year (October).  I honestly hadn't thought about it.  After mulling it over in my head for a few moments I said that my kicks/foot work were probably pretty behind and my ability with the language was poor.  Andy's response was to tell me that my kicks were probably better than his.  That seemed like a trick.  Was this exam one of those things that seems easier than the work sheets and skills indicate?  I doubt it.  Was this misplaced confidence in my basic skills?  Probably.  

In the end I chatted with him about reviewing my progress mid-fall to see where I was.  April might be realistic, but I have no idea at this point.  

While I was leaving I ran into Mr. Holman (another student) and he asked about my testing in April.  How many people talk about me?  Very weird.  

Third day schedule is wrist locks and one-step sparring.  My learning rate is slow to me, so we don't often cover a lot of ground, but I was able to get through the six wrist locks to some degree of satisfaction.  We didn't make it to any one-step stuff, but I'm not complaining as what I'm learning seems to be sticking now.  

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...