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?  

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...