Thursday, June 30, 2022

Headless Style New Heights

I'd forgotten that I was supposed to put a little effort into writing these entries.  It's usually time that prevents me from really thinking about what was going on in class.  Honestly, it's a fertile ground for all kinds of writing nuggets, but it takes time for something to come up.  

I took a run this afternoon and chatting about class with my running buddy made something surface.  But first the setup.

I'd forgotten that class wasn't going to have a leader for a week and half.  Andy and Colette are out of town for a couple weeks, so we were left to our own devices.  When this happens, the senior student runs the class.  Mr. Moore is still recovering from his knee surgery, so I thought Mr. Rome would take over, but he wasn't here today.  In the end our most senior was Mr. Jacot who has his third and is working on his fourth.  He's so focused on learning forms that we just went about business as usual.  

Business on Thursday is partner drills.  Since we did three-step sparring yesterday we did sleeve grabs today.  Mr. Amigud, Bill and I got through about six of them with varying degrees of success.  

Before class I was working on my double kicks again and I had a slight revelation.  To improve my jump height, I've been doing box jumps when I get to class early and now, I'm setting up targets to kick around that height.  

There is a slight flashback here.  

When I was in Tang Soo Do, fifteen years ago or more there was a guy from the high school.  When he jump kicked he would appear to float in the air.  I'm not sure what the dynamic was that made it look like his hang time was so long, but I stopped what I was doing whenever he did that.  I wish we had cell phones more prevalent back then, because I would have got as much video as I could.  

Back to the present.

I warm up at home so my legs are flexible and have plenty of blood in them.  When I get to the school, I stretch a tiny bit and then do about three to six jumps.  After that I jump in front of the "box" (stacked mats) and try the double kick.  So I know I can clear that height and some.  At best, it's about three feet.  Definitely not what I'm shooting for, but small steps and all that.  

While I'm doing just the jumps, I noticed that a few of them seem to put me into the state where I feel like I'm floating for just a second.  I say to myself, "wait a sec..." I immediately think of the floating kid.  Have I tapped into something here?  It definitely has something to do with bending my legs deeper than usual, but that additional half second allows me to target better.  So I set up pads and used those as targets and built a bit more.  I'm terrible at hitting both but I was comfortable with the height.  Now I have to work on more height.  I'm hoping forty inches will be enough in the end, but that's still a long way off.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Swamp Style

The humidity this morning is 95%.  I started warming up at six am and soaked my uniform through.  The rain just seems like it was going to start at any minute, but it never comes.  You can see your breath and it's almost 60 degrees out.  Gag.

After taking several days off it was great to be at class.  I showed early to work on box jumps and ended up being the only person there for about ten minutes.  I love being in the school when no one is around.  I can make as much noise as I want.

Or so I thought.  My jumps brought Andy around so setting up targets didn't happen.  I'm anxious to try my kicks out, but I can't do it at home in the morning due to the noise and then I'm at class and the same thing brings Andy out of his house.  I must sound like a pack of elephants.  

Today was partner work and I worked with Bill doing the five Sam Soo Sik (three step sparring).  I'm still learning the patterns but getting about five turns on each of the five helps towards learning them.  

Notes --

Mr. Moore is still out after knee replacement.  Apparently doing well.

Ms. Cary is still out after Covid.  She'd just passed her test and Andy is waiting to give her the next belt.  Orange I think?

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Chicken Style Kung Fu

As I sit here watching my pet chicken dolefully pick at my blood pressure cuff while occasionally preening a feather or two, I can't help but think about the life I'm providing for her.  As a flock animal my wife, me and the cats are her flock, and it doesn't always go well.

Wait.  This is a martial arts blog.  Where was I going with this?  

Anyhoo, class was all Sam So Sik (three step sparring).  We got through the first three of five technique groups before I had to duck out.  

The repetition is great for me.  Andy had us stand in a line and attacked us one at a time.  While one person was getting attacked the rest of us would practice the moves.  That way it would finally sink in.  Then we could work on our technique.  

One of the kicks that we use is the yup huri gi.  I would say that it's a wheel kick in the start and then turns into a flat kick.  They call it the table cleaner.  It's aimed at the waste level and designed to hit the kidneys/liver/pancreas depending on your orientation to the attacker.  

It's good to be back to be honest.  My last class was Monday and that seemed like a million years ago.  And thankfully consistent negative covid test.

Thursday, June 16, 2022


There is a movie with Jason Statham, called Crank, where he is poisoned.  The only way he can stay alive is continuously give himself jolts of adrenaline to keep his heart pumping. He gets into fights, shocks himself, etc.  He should have gone to a karate school.  On wrist lock day.  Oh the pain.  

Wednesday and Thursday are partner days.  Since we did 3 step work yesterday, we went to wrist locks today.  It normally doesn't bother me, but today was a clinic in pain management.  To get your partner to stop the lock (and pain), you tap your free hand again your thigh. The idea is before you get a broken joint you tap.  Easy enough.  Pain dials up and when you think you'd like the other person to stop you tap.  

Somewhere along the way we are taught that you want the person who is applying the pressure to understand how much force to use without causing damage.  After years of doing this kind of thing it's all automatic.  As soon as you see the wince, or other tells, you let off and continue the technique.  However, there is always a moment where you don't get it just right and you end up grimacing in pain a bit longer than you'd like.  I was way into that today.  I couldn't tap fast enough for all the demonstrations we did.  Bill and I just couldn't hit the correct grips and positions so Andy would come over and show us.  By that, I mean we'd be tapping pretty quick!

I think we got through four cross and four same side sleeve grabs.  I'm not sure how much I learned though.  Pain has a way of doing that.  Either you learn or you don't.  Nothing in between.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Confusion With No Contusion

I'm getting up early because of the summer light which is slowly chewing away at the hours of sleep I'm getting.  My average is seven and half hours which is probably a lot for some, but I'm not quite clear as I'd like to be. It's not always restful sleep either.  I'd like to see more deep sleep, but four hours is about the best I can pull.  The rest tends to be more toss and turn.  

What does all that complaining mean?  My ability to focus is limited and retention is less.  But I'm getting exercise and possibly learning a bit.  

Today's example was when Bill and I were working on three step sparring.  I was trying to remember when I had worked on them last (no idea). And then while we were doing them, I realized I'd possibly never done them as the attacker.  I'd been the attacker for Bill while he worked on them for the last several months and it felt like I'd been the defender, but never did it.  Was today my first day as defender?  Things get muddy with the overlap.

Maybe a better night of sleep will fix that.  

I did ten box jumps this morning at mid-thigh height.  I tried a few kicks, but I'm not impressing myself at all.  


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Basics Review

Friday Andy let me know that we would spend some extra attention on the more advanced basics.  We do basics off and on during the week to warm up and hit stuff that shows up in our forms more often now.  

One of the techniques, Hwak Kuk Jang Kap Kwon, isn't necessarily hard, but getting my feet and shoulders to work together is proving very difficult to me.

It's a weird technique in that the front is a punch and the rear swings around to clock anyone in your back 120 degrees. This is followed by your torso twisting while your feet are still planted.  I guess it would be a clean sweep of the area around you. And you can keep doing it across the floor, but that part stills confuses me.  I'll get there, but it's going to take a bit.

For the rest of the class, I worked on Jin Do.  I've adopted a slower learning curve with the new forms.  I'm used to the patterns that resemble he capital "I" or other standard formats, but Jindo doesn't feel that way at all.  No primary orientation and weighted towards one position over others.  

In other news, we got a new guy, Mr. Rome, who apparently got his Midnight Blue years ago and has taken a very extended break.  He's in the same boat/level as me so that's nice.  He could be another possible training partner.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Weekly Wrap Up

I don't know what it was, but today was full of Joy.  We started with basics and due to the level diversity of the group, Andy was trying to consolidate technique groups. He made it equally tough and confusing for everyone.  In my case one out of three techniques would end up incorrectly footed.  For whatever reason that made Andy laugh and it became infectious.  Everyone started giggling.  

Before class started, I worked on box jumps.  I wanted to get working on height.  The idea is that I need to work on my height and then add the double kick.  It feels good, but the kick looks crap from my perspective.  Definitely not above waist level.  So, I'll keep working on that.

Stolen from interwebz and not me.  

I asked Andy if he was aware of anyone executing this kick for their test who happened to be around my age group.  The answer - none.  I'll give it a year to see if this going to happen.  If it's not happening, I'll do the kick/punch breaks.  I hate embracing aging.

I have an old Karate gi that I wear during the morning classes.  This was my most expensive purchase for my martial arts to date.  Super heavy canvas.  It makes sounds every time you move.  Kicks and punches crack!  The only problem is that it's very heavy.  It's like ten pounds.  So jumping is very challenging.  Doing the same jumps later without the gi make me feel like I'm being shot into the air.   

Belt report - The last guy finally completed the jump kick breaks so we can all move forward with the belting process.  However, a new problem came up. We have our new numbers and certificates, but we can't have them until we get the belts in and embroidered. The problem is supply chain.  Apparently, martial art clothes and such are stuck overseas.  Of course.     

Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Knives Out

 It's hard to predict how things are going to go in class.  Content by the day is pretty much dead on.  After that things can get a bit shaky depending on who's there. 

Today Bill and I got to partner which is pleasing because we are about the same height and weight.  It's a bonus for me because he's ahead of my by six months and can show me all kinds of stuff.  The downside is that we both forget all the things at the same time.  

Today was knife attacks and Bill had brought in his cheat sheet.  We had four of the five and and managed to mangle each one of the techniques some form or fashion.  Nothing to brag about. When we got introduced to number five both of us realized that neither of us had seen this one.  

The attacker is "gut the fish".  The knife is supposed to come up and hit gut and move upward.  We side step that arm make a "rainbow" with our other arm and the attackers are until we can get into position to lock the wrist and take away the knife.  We follow everything with a kick.  Weeee.  

We reviewed the other four with barely enough time for me to get out the door.  I might have mentioned that the school near by is started at that point and the traffic gets me in some trouble. I have to be at work by eight for my first meeting.  

Alas the city has decided to put in a traffic circle right in my driving route.  So I have to remember to get my act together before I leave so I won't get stuck.  Again.

Latest Belt News - I found out Monday night the hold up is one of our 2nd degree testees.  He needs to his double kick before we can get our belts.  Sigh.  Who knows how long that'll be.       

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Red Heat

My wife took a look at my blog a few days ago and gave me an editorial review.  It would appear that I need to make things a bit more interesting than what I've been doing. 

I got the feeling that my extemporaneous comments about my classes have a very limited audience.  I tried to explain that it was just like a diary that I happen to share. I think she said I could probably still try to write better.  

I'll try to punch up the writing.  


There is a scene in the movie, "Red Sonja" (1985) where Ernie Reyes Jr., a very young man, copies the actions of Arnold Schwarzenegger while he is in a fight with Red Sonja.  

Fast forward to 3:30 to see reference.

I got a taste of this while going over the basics with my classmate.  He's ten years old and it way more physically adept than I am.  However once in a while we get in sync and it's glorious.  

I referenced the new basics a few times and I want to point out that the level of complexity has gone way up.  For instance, the first one is three moves (block, punch, kick).  The idea being that even at the very start, the new basics are more physically demanding.  The one-time Jack and me were in sync were a shay-han move.  

This the lowest of low blocks.  It's a signature move for Soo Bahk Do.  
Knees screaming on me.

We do this and then do a jumping front kick. Please remember I'm twice his height and possibly one and half times his weight.  So, when we do something with the same timing and with the same force we look like a ballet.  This happens about three times during our fifteen techniques.  

The other highlight from the evening was our box jumps.  To prep for the double kick, which will be our next break, I need to be able to jump from one spot and kick out with both legs and break two boards with each foot.  Not easy.

The highlight was in the practice.  Usually when I jump up on the stack it's very nerve racking because I can barely make it.  Last night I had no trouble hitting leap on the first try.  Whoop!

Friday, June 03, 2022

Chilly Song

I finally got all the way through Chil Sung Il Ro.  This is a standard form from the seven stars group.  I'm going to need to practice that several times today to make sure I have it somewhat memorized.  

Friday is Forms!  I look forward to each day for the content but learning the first of my four forms has been a bit of a challenge.  I get pieces, but never the whole thing.  We'll see how that goes for me.

I just gave it a test run to see if I could remember it.  Two possible areas of mistake, but I generally have it all down.  Whoop!  There is hope afterall.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Partner Triangle

With my Mother-in-law in town and the summer finally arriving in the far North I can finally leave the house in just my Gi/Dobok.  That's a sure sign summer is here.  Unfortunately, we are doing a lot of activities, so beatings got put to the side on Monday.  It was also a holiday, so I erroneously thought we wouldn't have class.  Wrong.  

I find that one week off means that I can't remember crap.  Of course, I'm not practicing every day so it's not like I'm helping myself.  I usually wake up before the alarm and get warmed up at home.  Class has a tendency to jump into things, so I want a little time to get blood flowing.  It's then when I try to go through the basics at least.  I definitely don't have those down (memorized), but I could see if I practiced more, it'd be easier to bring up without a cheat sheet.  

Wednesday is partner day, so the warmup was probably a bit overkill, but at least I was awake.  Bill was working on a new form, but I not allowed to learn that one until I get my belt.  That's going to be a bit since the other folks in our cohort haven't completed their breaks yet.  I hadn't realized that we were all lumped together.  I assumed it was cho dan then ee dan, etc.  Nope.  Until the cool kids finish their double kicks nothing gets sent to headquarters.  Sigh.  

I got through the first four of the sleeve grabs before I had to go.  I was partnered with Mr. Moore and Ms. Chambers.  With three people of varying skills things slow way down.  Hah!  

Note to self:  Don't kick Mr. Moore in the head.  Hah!  

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  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...