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.

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...