Friday, January 21, 2022

Class Before Break

For the first time in what feels like ages, I'm going on vacation.  I'm going to be gone from home for three weeks and it although I'm looking forward to the change in location and possible warm weather, I'm bummed because beatings won't be close up during that time.  I have the option for Zoom, but that's just painful to me.  I'm also not sure what space I'm going to have to move around.

I'm still getting used to this schedule as well.  Seven AM class butts up against my first meeting of my workday, so my morning tasks have moved around a bit. I'm still getting used to that and consequently end up running around in circles.  

This morning was like a straight up Dan class.  Everybody but Ms. B was a blackbelt or above.  We did basics and then on to forms.  Not as exciting as I hoped for, but my forms got a few fixes and as small as that is, it's nice to have something to look on as progress.  

It's my last day of work so I'm just trying collect everything for the trip and help my wife get things in order before we head South to the city.  We'll overnight there and then catch a flight to Florida.  The weather won't be warm, but it'll be warmer than here.  I can't wait for that part, but I'll be staying with in-laws the whole time and I'll be hoping for an absence of inter-family conflict.  I guess it's time to pick up drinking again.  

My goals for the next three weeks are to have the Il soo sik and Ho shin sul memorized thoroughly.  Fingers crossed everyone!    


Thursday, January 20, 2022

Cartilage Grinding

If I was still in the Thorn city, I would have said the title of the post was the name of my new death metal band; you probably never heard of them. That joke never gets old to me.

This was the second 7 am class for me.  I got up a bit early and found that I'd lost more weight than I anticipated.  I have a sweet spot at 185 (84 Kilos) but going down from there makes me look unhealthy, but it's nice at the same time because I can bend at the waste without having pants cut into me.  Hah. 

Since I did Il so sik yesterday it was ho shin sul today (wrist grabs, releases and locks).  I was pleasantly surprised that I can remember all my moves but can't remember the order.  After we completed a run through, I ran to the white board to write down notes to try to sort out some kind of order.  Nothing is sticking too well, but while on vacation maybe I can sort something out.  

I was partnered with Bill and Mr. A, the Russian.  Mr. A would do a technique on me, Bill would do one on Mr. A and then I would do one on Bill.  They were repeating their techniques since it was new to them.  They are both working on their second-degree requirements.  So, I was able get through all my moves with a prompt as too which one I was supposed to do next.

Mr. A is a diminutive man.  I think may be five feet tall and very fit.  He's also 70 something.  After a lifetime of physical work his wrists and hands are very strong.  A big piece of ho shin sul is that you bend the wrist of your opponent in various directions to encourage compliance.  His wrists are so strong that you cannot manually put them into position.  It takes absolutely proper technique to submit him.  While he was learning his new moves on me my thin wrists cracked and popped in a sickening way at the submission point.  Thankfully tapping out was expeditious on my part and no damage occurred.  The sounds were horrible though.  

The class went by very fast.  I realized too late that I was way past my departure time.  At ten to eight I sprinted out the door and got to my first meeting a little after eight.  Tomorrow I'll need to keep my eyes open to make sure that doesn't happen again.  That was noticed at work.  Whoops!


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Post Catch Up

I've missed a couple of posts due to the shift in schedule.  I went to Monday night Dan class a few days ago which left a bit of a dry taste in my mouth.  As I've mentioned before I'm a bit spoiled by the private lesson feeling of the 5:45 class. There were four of us at the Monday night class.   Colette handled things very well, but it meant that some of the lessons stretched out a bit longer than I would have hoped, but it was material I needed to know.

Part of the problem is that we sit crossed legged.  Hardwood isn't my friend.  Ten minutes of presentation gets tough on me pretty quick.  I spent the first five minutes trying to find a position where my ankle wasn't grinding into the hardwood.  Wee fun.  My squirming was noticed, and I was told that this was the position we had to wait in during tests.  Get used to it baby!

Colette tried to run us through all the forms real quick and then try to invent combos based on the moves.  Usually a fun exercise, but my ability to remember anything beyond what I'm learning at the moment falls pretty fast.  Ugh.  We all bogged down after the second or third form.  Hah.


This morning was my shift to the 7 am class.  I thought I'd be better off today, but I started working on Il Soo Sik with a red belt and I managed to forget everything all at once.  Duh!  I was the advanced student, so I was to start off first.  That didn't help either of us, hah!

We didn't get through all ten, but we answered a lot of questions and did a lot of fine tuning.  Then I forgot I had to leave a bit early to get to work on time.  I got caught in a few minutes of traffic on the way back and then couldn't find my phone, so there was a lot of running around in circles this morning.   


Friday, January 14, 2022

Goodbye Sir

I'm generally a sappy guy anyway but saying bye to Keith this morning was just tough. In sorting through my feelings, I realized that I thought that he'd always be there, and we'd actually have a close relationship at some point. I actually got him and his wife over to our house for my birthday party before we went into partial lockdown.  He was closest in age to me in the school and has always been decent and fun in class.  

I kind of made a few attempts to talk right after we bowed in, but it didn't seem to fit at the moment.  He asked me what I wanted to work on (for our last class, boo hoo) and I needed to review my third Il soo sik.  We got that sorted out fairly quickly and went on to Hin so shul.  

There are fifteen techniques I need to know for hin so shul.  These are wrist grab escapes and locks.  For once it went fairly well.  I could vaguely remember what to do and not mess up too much, but it's been two weeks since I did them last.  I guess I got a good night's sleep for once. 

We finished the day out with kicking drills.  I was worried about remembering the sequence, but it turned out to be pretty easy.  A, D, A, Y.  This means Ahp (front kick), Dollyo (roundhouse), Anheso/Pakaro (cresent), and Yup (side).  Then comes a dwi huri and it repeats over again with a jump.  The last three are spinning, jumping kicks.  

We finished right at time.  It felt like a moment of synchrony.  Finishing up on the dime was a good way to finish our time together, but when I got home, I still ended up borking out some tears while trying to talk to my wife.  It seems strange to be so affected by such things at this age, but I know this was a good relationship it hurts like hell to see it go.  Keith made it good and sad at the same time by saying, "every word that you've ever heard come out of my mouth came out of his first," as he pointed to Andy.  I know that, but every teacher is different, and I'll miss Keith's take on things. 


Thursday, January 13, 2022

More Like Fist In The Face


I absolutely love this photo.  It's shopped but brilliant all the same.

As Keith's knuckles bounced painfully across my orbital bone, I realized I was entering with the wrong side, thus my block was totally wrong.  

I've been trying very hard to remember the ten sets of moves that make up our one-step sparring.  I'm going over them in the morning, afternoon and the evening. I've been testing myself and felt like I was finally getting somewhere.  

I have to think about what I'm doing but the stop time is getting less and less.  And then the problem began.  I might have some things down generally, but I've been confused about my opponents footing.  This led to bad starts and general confusion in my moves.  Not smooth.

We got through them once and started from the bottom again.  Endless corrections cause me some issues, but Keith said he might have made a mistake in trying new warmups based on the moves.  That went poorly for me.  I couldn't get anything right, so confidence was at a minimum.

On our second go through I miscalculated on the last set of moves.  I entered on the wrong side and ended up wearing knuckle glasses.  Thankfully he was aware enough not to put a full punch into that.  Still ran my bell a tiny bit.  


Had "the chat" with Andy. Now that Keith is moving away, and we were the only early squirrels, it would be up to him to make that class happen. I asked if he was still down with 5:45am classes.  I know he gets up at 5, but I also know that's when he reads/studies.  In the end he said he rather I attend the 7 am class instead.  The best part of this is not waking up at 5 am to get to school.  And I'll get to see a few other people.  I can even go to class five times a week is if can manage it.  Lots of "we shall sees" when I get back from vacation.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Back To The Grind

It finally dawned upon me that I'm trying to remember too many things at once, so I'm trying my hardest to focus on a few things.  Physical practice seems to be nicely compartmentalized, so that leaves three areas: concepts, one step sparring and wrist locks.  

I decided on one-step sparring was the easiest to embrace at the moment.  There are eighteen sets of movements, but they are all mirrors.  This means that I do the movements to the left and then to the right.  That means that I really only need to know nine sets.  With that in mind I've set myself to the task to remember a little of these at a time.  

Here's what I've got so far:

  1. Start one - Sudo block ~ round house
  2. Start two - Inside block ~ side kick
  3. The standard - kick, block, punch, crescent kick
  4. Knee in the gut - crescent, side kick, face punch, yank to knee
  5. Twister - fake kick, twist protection, back kick, sudo, punch, chop to the cheek
  6. We three kicks - front kick, switch feet to roundhouse, spinning back kick, punch.  
That's all that's committed to memory.  I need to get those last three set to memory and then jump back to wrist locks.  

I had a run in with Covid on Saturday night!  I was the only guy with a mask on because I was worried about spreading anything from the morning training with all those people. The guy I was sitting next to all evening pinged me the next day and told me he got a positive and was definitely not feeling well.  

I tested and got a negative, but I wasn't sure about incubation times, so I skipped my Monday evening class.  So far, I'm doing good with no symptoms, but I was told incubation could be five days.  Both Keith and I wore masks this morning and no one else was there so hopefully I'm not causing problems.  

Monday, January 10, 2022

Of Hips And Breaks

This Saturday our school had a double clinic.  Trying to ignore the fact that we'd be an awesome covid spreading event (we were all masked and I think all of us are up to boosted at this point) we gathered nice and early at the school.  There was about twenty of us, and I think, a great cross-section of the school.  The place has fifty active members at any given time.

The first clinic was one of our current black belts getting her JKN (Jo Kyo - instructors tag) before moving.  It was all about putting more hips into everything we do.  I was trying to pay attention to this because I'm about a 75% person.  Everyone can tell the second that I forget to do it.  The crudy video clip below will show you when I do it right.  

This dovetailed with the second clinic on breaking.  I was super stoked to be part of this because I don't have a lot of experience.  After a half hour introduction about the math behind a good break (F=M*A) we got going.  Organizing that was a challenge.  Advance students went to the front so they could go first and then were to hold the boards for the gup ranks.  It was me and guy, who I think was twelve, in the front.  He's already knee deep working on he's second degree, so he got to go first.  We were just doing open hand chops and it just wasn't going his way.  We grabbed a different piece, and he did fine.  

It was my turn next, and it was the same thing.  Twice and no cigar. Andy came over and held it thinking it might be my partner causing the issue and blamo, it worked out great.

Super low quality from cellphone. And I'm not fat.  I swear the camera added like 20 pounds!  

That was a sweet feeling.  And look at that body wind up.  I got a few good compliments on that.

Next was the kick.  I haven't tested my roundhouse since Keith had me try months ago.  That one I got in the first try (I think.  Things were exciting).  Hopefully someone captured that on video.

The rest of the time me and the young fellow were holding boards for the white belts.  It was incredibly gratifying to see everyone's look on their face as they broke a board.  Such empowerment.  

Friday, January 07, 2022

98 Days

Just a quick review of forms and a bit of Il soo sik today.  The snow all melted so Keith didn't have any problems with getting to class.  I'm really going to miss all his details. And how to deal with the possibility that my O dark thirty class might go away.  I'm not in love with getting up at five, but I'm not sure about how to deal with a progress slow down due to being in a larger class.

As usual, we ran through the forms and dug into finer details in hopes that some of the changes might stick. Keith calls it nit-picking, but I know as much as anyone that if you're killing the form during a test, every little boo-boo has a tendency to stand out. 

The stuff that actually confuses me is when he gives me a compliment and then says use that in other spots.  I guess I'm failure driven, hah!

We ran through some Il Soo Sik.  It still provides me with some challenges.  I'm in the struggle mode to remember names and then what moves.  So frustrating.  The pieces are there in my brain, but not coming together as I need them.  

Before Keith got in this morning, I notice a counter on the wall next to my name.  Great.  Now I know how many days there are until testing.  Ugh.


Thursday, January 06, 2022

Surprises And Mnemonics

We had another surprise snowstorm last night, so Keith wasn't able to get out of his driveway again.  I didn't have a prior arrangement with Andy, so I was hoping his doorbell was working.  

For a place that rarely gets snow at all, this winter has been filled with continuous surprises.  Thankfully my house is located on a flat spot, and I have a truck so getting to school isn't a big deal to me. I'm deeply looking forward to spring and some warmth.  

I got to the school and rang Andy's doorbell, but the lights were off, and I couldn't hear anything.  The school lights were on, and the door was unlocked so that was a good sign.  I started warming up and heard Andy heading down to the school a few minutes later.

He asked what I'd like to work on, which is a great sign of respect, I think.  I see it as him valuing my own insights.  He knows I can identify my own weak spots and knows I want to attack them.  

Thankfully I'm not as sore as I thought I was going to be from yesterday's faux exam but warming up was a bit of a challenge this morning.  My cat, Louie, decided that he wanted to be held while I was till rubbing the sleep out of my eyes.  I did my forms while holding him.  I figured that I was getting extra leg work with him purring loudly in my ear.

So, when Andy asked me what I wanted to work on I was glad to leave the kicks behind for a day.  I was getting frustrated by my inability to remember what the next technique in Ho Shin Shul (wrist locks/self-defense).  This time I ran over to the white board to write a mnemonic for each one hoping to learn something.  

This dazzling photo is my notes from this morning.  I'm hoping to sort a pattern I can remember.  For instance:
- I can remember the first two cross grips.  They are deeply imbedded, but then we get to three and four.
- Three is the "legal" because we cross the T and dot the Eye.  Humor for the elbow work.  
- Four is called the "baseball bat" because of the grip.  This one ends in a head butt.  So the mnemonic is, first you use legal means then you take a baseball bat to them and finally a head butt.  

As you can see, I'll use anything to remember this stuff.  My favorites are the last couple.  The "neutered chicken" and the "double Losers".  Hah.

The class went by at horrific speed, and I came out feeling way better than yesterday.  

Side note - I've done the second draft of my essay.  I want to hold a day or two on that one before submitting just to make sure it makes sense.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

Surprise Test

I was just trying to shake off my lack of sleep when I realized early on that we were going through the order of the exam.  

We started with basics and then kicking drills, which is the norm for first day of the week.  Then we went right into one-step sparring and then wrist locks.  I figured at this point that he was going through the test.  I had some slowdowns near the end of the techniques since they weren't something I had a lot of experience with, but generally it went well.  Next the breaking, but we used the water dummy.  He had me try twice due to the height of my kick. Just before we finished, he had me do the endurance round.  I did 130 punches in 30 seconds.  A record for me, but he noted I needed to focus where the punches were "landing" and, of course, add more hips. At the end he asked me to the eight articles of faith, I did it in Korean and English, but slightly out of order.  

Honestly, I was surprised I could do the whole thing.  There were two points where I was completely gassed, and he had me breath a bit before moving on.  Now that I've been sitting for a few hours I'm really starting to feel pretty sore.  Ouch.  I'm trying periodic stretching in hopes that'll keep me from really locking up.

Tomorrow promises to be forms refinement.  


Tuesday, January 04, 2022

BB Requirement One

I've missed a few posts over the last week due to being focused on completing at least one piece of my black belt paperwork.  Whenever I've had time, I've been editing my responses on my open book exam and sending them in to Colette for notes and corrections.  Yesterday was my fourth submission and she accepted it.  Now I need to work on my essays.  One is what SBD means to me and another one about the president's tour several years ago.  

I'd glossed through the requirements for the personal essay and thought I saw 2000 to 4000 words.  I mean I love to type, but I wasn't sure if I could stretch myself to get something that large done without really getting boring and using a lot of filler.  I'd mentioned that last night and both instructors laughed and said that I need to stop at a thousand words.  Whew.  I'm already at a thousand, but now I need to go back and tighten up what I've written.  And then it'll be on to writing about the Presidential vision tour. 

Back in 2011, the president visited our school, but he'd begun regional tours back in 2003.  After his father died, he decided he needed to get out and see how to draw things together and really solidify the organization.  I need to write about that and thankfully that'll just be a page.  


Other than an endless list of Korean words and protocol I've been struggling to remember, my focus has been to address weak spots in my requirements and really lean into them to get them more comfortable.  To that end I've been adding one-step sparring to my regular practice.  Unfortunately, the moves haven't really set in my mind, so I need to refer to my notes regularly.  I'm now adding in the wrist grabs, but documentation to actual movement is horrible.  So, I'll try to get my instructors to focus on that as much as possible.  

Last night I worked on one-steps, but Andy decided to break it up by going in reverse.  That provided a challenge and really threw me off.  I barely remember any of it and that made me seem even more fractured.  Colette was my partner for most of it.  I was so confused by the backward countdown of techniques that I couldn't keep anything straight.  I really felt bad for her because I needed constant hints to get through the techniques.  

An additional excitement is that we are having a big clinic this weekend, where we'll learn about use of hips and then, possibly, learning about breaking from the regional examiner.  Pretty heady stuff after the endless memorizations.  

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...