Friday, December 25, 2009

Tang Soo Do

Ok, I got this link in my email First I want to say, that I'm only an 8th gup, so I could not do better, however, in the first sparring match here between a kung foo practitioner and a Tang Soo Do practitioner, I am certain that if he (the kung foo guy) were to come to World Tang soo Do Association District 7, he would meet much stiffer competition. I KNOW that if he came to Scota Karate that he would find himeself having to wrk much harder.

That being said, Merry Christmas to all! It's another beautiful Christmas day for us to remember that Jesus came for us, so we can come before the God of heaven as His children.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Through a rough spot...

Well, we, I should say I made it through a rough spot. I had come to a flat spot in my learning, a small one, but felt despair at not being able to accomplish anything in my Tang Soo Do classes. I knew that I didn't want to give up, yet I felt like I was ready to.

Fortunately I pressed on, our master, Master Joseph Scota encouraged me, or maybe it was a threat! He said, "If you really want to quit lets get our gear on and go out on the floor, that way you will have an excuse!" He wasn't serious, completely, but he was trying to tell me that he would rather fight me to stay than to let me leave.

Of course I wasn't going to take him up on THAT offer, thought as I think about it, he would probably have spent as much time explaining to me how to do better as picking me up off the floor. At any rate, this past Saturday we, Kenny, Riley, Jesse, and I all tested for 8th Gup, Orange belt, and we passed.

this was our first official test, we arrived a little early to stretch and try to prepare our mind and then starting right on time, punctuality is important!, at 1:!5 Master Scota, Mrs. Pruit, and Miss Scully started us through our paces. We did some calethstenics, some sit ups, some push ups, (ugh) and jumping jacks (argh) then walking techniques, punches, kicks, self defense, jumping kicks, some kick combinations, I didn't remember doing THAT one!" all the forms we know, for the boys and I that's 2 we got to watch the higher belts go through the additional forms, up and down in and out.

then they had us gear up to spar. Point Sparring as is common to the World Tang Soo Do association. and before we knew it, 2 hours had passed. I was tired, but felt that other than a few bobbles I had at least not been too much of a disappointment.

On Monday evening I kept checking my email, hoping to know if we had passed. I didn't get the email, until AFTER I had left for class. Mrs Scota told us that she had sent the emails out, we had all passed.

We will be promoted on Monday evening, and then I have so much more to learn it's not even funny. My oldest son is already looking to his 7th gup, but I'm thinking I have so much to learn that I want to progress just fast enough to keep learning, but I really want to get better on the rest of this stuff!

One thing that Master Scota told me, I think the night before we tested, was that my side kicks are getting higher. I can't really tell, but I'm glad he sees them improving!

I have to remember sometimes others can see improvement that I can't, and I'm going to do my best as a new 8th gup to learn everything that my teachers show me... and keep going no matter what!

I'll post pictures if I can next week.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Quit or not to Quit, that is the question... NOT!

Master Scota has told me that there are plateaus we reach in training. I have reached one, and even descended a little.

Two weeks ago I pulled a ham-string. Not seriously, but enough that it was reminiscent of the time I accidentally made contact with 220v AC current. It was not exactly painful, but it didn't feel good, the muscle hurt more, but the electric jolt was similar.

Since that time I have been in a slump. I couldn't go to class the next session, and then I have felt a nagging twinge in that muscle every time I try to do a side or round-house kick.

Add that to the fact that my wife, due to a condition in her feet which coudn't get better while she was coming to class, had to quit, and I have felt like quitting.

I don't want to! I see so many benefits. My muscles are stronger, my blood-pressure is lower. I am actually learning some things.

I wish we could go to the regional championships in Myrtle Beach, but it won't work out this year. Maybe next year. We'll see.

I told Master Scota, that I'm not going to quit, I'm just at that point where I feel like quitting. However, I'll press on, and I'll try to be more elaborate in my posts here.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

forms, techniques, and stretches, kicks, arg... Keep a white-belt mentality!

With each new class I learn something new. Last night we went through the forms or Hyungs (my family and I only know the first two, Sae Kye Hyung Il Bu, and Sae Kye Hyung E bu).

Since we have promoted to Yellow Belt or 9th Gup we are in a class with other Yellow belts, orange belts, Orange with a stripe, Green, and green with a stripe belts. The class moves quickly, and it seems hard to concentrate.

However, I remember when we first started working as a class at the beginner level and they would move us through the various exercises, it all seemed very fast and difficult to pick up then as well.

I think that what Master Scota has said at almost every promotion fits so well. Keep a white belt attitude. In other words don't forget what you know but come into each class knowing that there is so much that you have to learn! That we are beginners, at least at that stage, and if we can maintain that level of humility, to remember that we are all Cho Bo Ja (beginners) then we can learn the most.

There are regional Championships in Myrtle Beach in November, unfortunately I and my family won't be able to attend.

I'm certain it would be embarrassing on some levels, but then if I remember that I am Cho Bo Ja, there can be no embarrassment. My boys would really enjoy it, unfortunately due to work issues we won't be able to go.

I will plan for the competitions next year!

Ko Map Sum Ni Da

Jonathan Wagner
Cho Bo Ja

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Rolls, Stop-Falls, and Pain

Well, tonight, we learned how to do front rolls and back rolls. And even worked on stop-falls. Very fun, but wow it's hard.
I have spent the last 30+ years (I'm 41) trying NOT to fall on the ground and here I am having to do it on purpose! ACK!!

Ah well, I'll learn I'll do it. It's sort of fun. But Wow it's hard to overcome years of self conditioning to NOT fall down. So, we will have to find out what it takes to learn how to fall down on purpose. Maybe if someone were to push me it would help...

I don't know.

I'm writing short blog entries on classes now so I can remember when we learned various things.

We are going to the makeup class on Saturday morning... that should be fun. Master Scota suggested we stay for the sparring class as well... YIKES!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

9th Gup... or maybe just 10th - .5

Tonight at class we tested for the Yellow Belt or, 9th gup. There were several of us going through the forms and process, but I believe only 7 of us were actually testing.

We started with the basic walking kicks, I still have so much trouble with my side and round-house kicks, but I decided that if I at least took my time and showed that I know HOW they are to be executed, even if my body isn't cooperating, that it would be good.

The one kick I'm fairly good at is the front kick. I like that kick! ;) I know I know the side kick is the power-house... I'll get it once my hips decide that it's not instant pain time when I try to execute a side kick! (still looking for any stretches that will help with this. I have done several variations that help some but any suggestions are appreciated!)

After we did the walking kicks we went through the 3 hand forms that we have learned, not perfect but sound enough to pass muster!

The Shim Sa Kwan Nim (Test administrator) was master Scota, he has a very high level of expectation, and I was hopeful that we would be able to meet it. I think we did. One thing he said when speaking to my youngest son (9) was, "a test isn't anything to be nervous about it just testifies what you already know." I like that because tests always make me nervous.

We then moved into the Sae Kye Hyung Il Bu (Worlds wide first form - as I understand the translation) First Master Scota had 4 of us step out in the middle of the floor and do the form, then he had the other 5, and then he had us all go through the form again.

While Master Scota has very high expectations, he also is very supportive and realistic, at least as long as you are working and trying to get it. I have a feeling that if he thinks you are slacking that the level of understanding will deteriorate rapidly. I have no evidence of that, but I suspect that his requirements are, rightly so, that his students do their best, and anything less is unacceptable.

I agree, what is the point of going to class twice a week if you are simply not going to try. If you never work on what we learned in class, while at home, never consider what the mechanics involved are, or the why of a particular movement.

For example, when performing the third hand technique (forgive me I don't recall the Korean name) you first step to the left in a horse stance, using your right hand, in a knife edge form, to block the incoming punch. At this point you could simply step to the right and chop the side of your opponents neck with your knife edge hand, but if you do the move correctly, there is more power. As you step to the right (or left depending) fold your arms with the knife hand folded across your chest to the left, and the lower, right hand folded across your ribs to the right. As you step pull the left arm back with as much force as you apply to the knife hand moving forward to the side of your opponents neck.

This will do two things, provide exceptional backwards power to your left elbow, in case there is another opponent there, and the equal and opposite reaction flows to the knife hand, moving power and strength releasing an arrow.

This technique provides times more power to the move than a simple chop. Why? it's simple mechanics. When you fold your arms you are stretching the muscles int eh opposite directions of where you are moving them, and then releasing them quickly has the effect of releasing the stretched bands of muscle with increased force. Of course an appropriately times Ki hap (yell) will add greater force and impact.

I don't know if that makes sense, it's how I think. I have a goal to make Tang Soo Do a part of my life. I don't know that sparring and competitions will be crucial to me, personally, but I will increase my skills and work as hard at this as I work on other things in life, as a bonus, since my entire family is doing this, there is motivation and encouragement not to give up.

It would be easy to say I don't feel like it. I just found out that I have high blood pressure. Ugh! However, while I have to monitor myself till I adjust to the medicine I firmly believe that practicing Tand Soo Do will help me lose weight and lower my blood pressure. Not feeling like it isn't much of an option when you have 3 boys and a wife all taking class with you. It's really cool.

Once I get some pictures form our promotion I'll post them here for everyone to see.

I step into the 9th gup knowing that there is so much more to learn between this point and the next that it makes what I have already learned look like nothing. But I'm ready to start.

When we first started I didn't feel like I would ever get the basics down. I can do about 20 push ups now(I know that's not much but before I had a hard time with 5) I can get about 45-50 crunches out before I have to stop as opposed to 20-30. I can keep up with the jumping jacks (unless Miss Skulley is leading her infamous hyper-time jumps) and while I can't do a full split very well, yet, I can do a side split that is much closer to the floor than when I started!

Long story short(er) I have progressed further than I thought I could. I was watching some new students tonight as we were going through the form and various exercises. Not that long ago I was ore lost than they are, wondering how those folks over there were able to keep in sync and do what the instructors asked.

It was amazing and is amazing. I'll let you know what else happens!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sae Kye Hyung Il Bu - World Form #1 - Tang Soo Do

We have been studying the First form. Here is a video I found that's pretty good. I don't understand why some people do the form with punches down the center instead of kicks.

At any rate. Classes have been progressing. Moving has been progressing, life has been progressing!

I actually look forward to class because when I'm inside the four walls of the dojang I don't have to consider anything else. That's my whole world.
I can focus on what the master is telling us to do and doing it correctly.

We are soon to be yellow belts, I can't hardly believe it, but it's happening none-the less. I look at where we are now after just a few short months and see where we are, and I'm surprised. I see the new-comers working to get the basics that we take for granted and I'm amazed at where we now are.

I'm not sure about the test... I have never tested well.. I'll just have to remember that I'm doing this for health and fun and it doesn't matter about anything else.

I can also take courage in those four walls. The dojang is a safe place. it's not a church but it reminds me of how I feel when I am in church, safe and ready to do whatever I'm asked to do.

Some folks might take offense to that, I don't intend any. I am a pastor and I compare most things to church, and the fact that when I'm at the dojang I feel about the same way I feel at church says a lot about the respect and honor everyone has for Master Scota.

I'll let you know about the test. We have class tonight I don't know if we will be tested tonight or next Tuesday.

I'll keep you informed.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Kee Cho Hyung Il Boo

Tonight in class we spent almost the whole class working on the first form, Kee Cho Hyung Il Boo.

Master Scota explains the visualizations with excellence. envision an enemy attacking you and block then attack, see another coming from behind, turn and block low then attack to the middle. Wait! there is a third opponent up the middle, hide your knuckles turn to your fighting stance and then Ahp Chagi three times and Ki Hap on the third kick.

It sounds easy enough when you describe it, but it gets wearing after a few times. no, Wearing is the wrong word weary is. I got weary doing it over and over. I do my best to do each movement with as much strength as possible. I want the movement to be as real as possible.

All the time trying to remember the proper width and length in my stance, the right place to punch from and to, which arm moves up and which over keeping my head on an even keel while moving, there is a LOT to remember. the fun part is that I'm only on the first form and there are 29 more...

I'll keep you apprised,

Cho Bo Ja

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Skipped entries, but not class!

I have been lax in updating my blogs this past week or two! My apologies. We found a house to rent and as a result have been busy getting stuff packed! that's a workout in and of itself!

Last Thursday, Master Scota was out of the area so Ms. Scully and Mr. Henderson taught the class. It was fun, they about killed us, but it was fun!

they started teaching us the first form the "World Form number 1" I don't recall the Korean for it. it's not difficult, but I think to truely appreciate the form you have to work hard to master it... and I think that mastering it is much more than simply learnign the movements. I'm looking forward to mastering that form!

as well as all of them. there are a LOT fo forms to becoming a black-belt...

Heads off to practice.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Two for the price of one!

Saturday we went to the area tournament, and while we were there we watched the blackbelts form Scota Karte and other schools compete. 

We watched two of our instructors compete, in the ring for over 40! It was spectacular. There were not a large number of competitors in that class, however what they lacked in numbers they made up in impressive skills.
the weapon demonstrations were particularly impressive. Both Miss Skully and Mr. Henderson use the bo staff and their demonstration for the judges was enough to let me know I don't want to be on the other end of an attack from either one of those two!

Mr. Henderson took the gold, and Miss Skully took the silver. In the other compettions they were divided male / female.  Everything that Mr Henderosn competed in he took a first place! I can only hope that my the time I'm 47 I'll be able to do the same!

Mr Henderson took the gold in sparring, as did Miss Skully. I got to see some of the younger blackblets demonstrating their skills, and again it was very impressive. 

I had been up all night the night before so we did not get to stay and watch the lower belts competition, though I'm sure it would have been awesome!

Tonight we went to class, and Master Scota informed us that he is not happy with the number of first places they brougt home refering to the fact that he felt that all in the forms we should have  some nive faink

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Will post about the part we were there for later tonight. It was really fun!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Stretching more, kicking higher

First of all I want to thank whoever sent me the suggestion on stretching against a wall. That really works! I'm trying to stretch some everyday, and now I'm also going to attempt to practice my kicks every day.

The size of our class has decreased because a large number of folks that had been in class before we started have now moved on to their yellow belts, and a different class night. So we have more room for walking kicks and larger exercises it's fun.

I have not bad at the Chun Gul Chase, the front stance, and since I started focusing on keeping my knees bent I can actually do it fairly consistently.

I'm not bad at the Ahp Cha Ki, the front kick, because it doesn't' involve opening my hips up. I'm uncertain if the problem I have with both the Yup Cha Ki (Side Kick) and the Tollyo Ahp Cha Ki (roundhouse kick) is simply because I'm fat and my hips wont move that way, or is affected by lower back injuries I had when I was about 14. (fell down flat on my back on concrete stairs (well as flat as you can get when you are accordianed on the steps...) I wonder if that is part of what's making it so difficult for me to stretch.

Regardless, I'm going to stretch to the point where I can't stretch anymore and then a Little bit further and hopefully eventually I'll be able to get a descend kick off! :)

This evening as we were stretching one of the kids in the class, a young man about 12, said to me, "It's ok you'll get it eventually." that sounds nice but he was being sort of condescending , My response was, "Someday, you'll be 40!" LOL He said that was mean!

Anyhow close to the end of class Master Scota had us kicking bags held by a partner, and I happened to get this young man as a partner. I can kick pretty hard doing a front kick! ;)

Anyhow, I'm looking forward to Saturday morning the area tournament. I'll be watching and will, of course, blog about the competition!.

I'm off for now, have a great day!

Jonathan Wagner
Cho Bo Ja

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fast Stretches, and Combinations

Mr Rovner, led the stretches tonight. This young guy is really talented. He's also a high-school junior. He goes through the stretches so fast... I think it's because he is so limber that he doesn't need to stretch... those of us who are old... well that's another story. but it was OK.

Then Master Scota had us start doing some very interesting combination punch/kicks. For example a front jab followed by a back-hand punch, then a front kick, or a sidekick, a center punch, and then a back leg front-kick. All various combinations that in some ways make it easier to get the individual parts. I think that Master Scota was teaching us some of these things because on May 16 there is an area competition.

As a family we are going to watch and try to learn what we can. I'm really looking forward to it.

We are preparing to move in the next few weeks I'll keep going to Tang Soo Do class but my blogs may be short for a while.

Oh I have a question for anyone out there. I am really having difficulty with roundhouse and side kicks due to my groin being stiff and sore. I have been trying to stretch those muscles. Does anyone have any suggestions?

thank you!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Dobak- a lesson in unity

Last week we purchased our dobaks, Uniforms. My wife and I worked to get the pants shortened as needed. I take the prize as having to have my pants shortened 8 inches! I have short legs, what can I say?

Tonight as we were leaving for class my 8 year old, almost 9, said, "Now we will fit in." I thought about that statement, does the uniform really make us fit in any more than not having it? The answer is yes.

It's not that we were treated any differently by the instructors or by Master Scota, We were not treated differently by our fellow classmates. The dobak gives a sens of unity with the class, and yes that you fit in with Tang Soo Do, I can't really explain it, but somehow the uniform does make a difference!

Tonight Instructor Scully tried to kill me, not specifically, just as part of the whole class. She had us start out with 15 or 20 jumping jacks, no biggie, then immediately 10 or 15 push ups, then 15 or 20 crunches, and right back for another round... three times!

I know it's really good it got my heart rate up, everything that those types of exercise are for it did.. but oh oh oh... I think I'm too old for that! Somehow I'll make it! I'll push on and on.

We also worked a lot on the walking Chun Gul Chase and the correct form for the Tora (turn) when you are moving forward. Instructor Rovner worked with us on this, sometimes I think I honestly forget my left from my right, how is that possible?

Like the movements of the walking front stance, and then the turn. I finally caught on when Instructor Sculley said that it's always the back foot that moves. much less confusing now! ;)

So when you have walked as far as you are going to in the Chun Gul Chase and need to turn depending on which leg is in back you draw that leg forward (turn about 90 degrees to the direction you were facing left for left leg right for right leg) then step out on the angle with the same leg once you have planted that foot swivel and Ki Hap. This is also when you we do a HaDan Mahk Ki ( low block) because we have either been walking forward with the low block or with a Chun Dan Kyuk (Middle punch). When turning if we have been doing Chun Dan Kyuk we always perform a Ha Dan Mahk Ki.

By the way, I'm not trying to sound like I know what I'm doing with all the Korean terms, I'm simply trying to utilize them in normal English so that I can get a better grasp on the terms for class.

I hope that this log is being read by at least a few and that it's able to help, and encourage anyone who is working in Tang Soo Do or other martial arts. We can do it! it's not easy, but we can do it!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lesson Yol (10) Practice Practice Practice

Well today I officially became a 10th Gup, i.e. a White-belt.

I honestly feel that even as I progress through the gups I'll always be a white-belt. Don't take that to mean that I don't feel like I'll really be able to proceed in Tang Soo Do. Presently whenever I start to learn something I see, more and more clearly with each lesson, that I only know a very little bit.

I think that no matter how far I progress, I will always have more to learn, and I will always approach life and Tang Soo Do as a Cho Bo Ja, a beginner.

We got our dobaks today. I have very short legs and a not so small middle (not yet anyhow) it's rather laughable... going to have to hem about 12 inches off my pants! The boys aren't in too bad of shape and neither is Yvonne!

Master Scota taught the whole class he went over many of the terms I have previously mentioned like:

Chase (Cha - Say) - A Stance
Cha Ki (Chau-gi) - A kick
Kyuk - A Punch

Just to name a few.

Master Scota also had us work through kicks, I have got to figure out a way to get my groin to stretch.. probably if I would exercise a little in between classes it would help! My wife is going to make me walk everyday with her... no not make me she is going to ask me to walk with her every day and I will because I want to.

Maybe I'll be able to accomplish a roundhouse kick... someday.

Does anyone who is taking Tang Soo Do or any other martial art with their children have a tendency to want to help them in class? I want to point out what they aren't doing right, or how to do it better. Imaging that I am trying to help them and they are better at most of this than I am just because they are young and flexible!

I do tell them how well they are doing, my oldest son has always been very graceful, the middle one 14 is tall and big, and surprising fluid in his movements. My youngest is the most flexible. he can do a full front split almost to the ground, he is almost 9 and has a tendency to over-concentrate so he misses instructions but Master Scota realizes he is trying. I overheard Master Scota telling my youngest, "Right now you are learning and I'll keep helping you, when I think you aren't paying attention, then I'll give you push-ups. " I almost asked if I could do that at home, of course the answer is "Darn right I can!"

Class was good. My legs felt like jello noodles when we got done, and I have a feeling I'll be sore tomorrow... but that's OK. It means that I'm progressing, I'm getting stronger, and hopefully I'm learning.

Jonathan Wagner
Cho Bo Ja

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lesson Ahop (9) - It's a commitment

Tonight we went and had our 9th class. Normal stretches, punches kicks, etc. Boy do I need to work on my round-house kick!

Apparently the first time I did the roundhouse kick I pulled something in my groin... as a result my body now says, "mmm uh huh not doing THAT again!" and I just can't get a decent roundhouse kick... I'll keep working on it.. Does anyone have a suggestions for a good way to improve kicking form?

I find it interesting to watch how various instructors and Master Scota, deal with folks of different skills, ability, and understanding. As I would expect, since Master Scota taught them, the instructors all teach in much the same way that Master Scota does, each having their own best form or move which you can see when observing them. They all treat the students with patients and don't seem to mind explaining the same thing to my 8 year old more than once. That may have to do with the fact that he is really trying to "get it" and just needs assistance.

As an aside, since we home school, I wonder if that impacts my children's ability to learn from someone else? I don't think it's a negative impact if any, just uncertain. if you have any opinions on that, I would like to hear them.

Anyhow We have been attending the Dojang for the last month at Master Scota's gracious invitation. Today I told him that we are signing up for the next year and that we feel that if we are going to do it... we may as well do it right! :)

IT's a commitment, just like many things in life, and even though I am just a beginner, I know that Tang Soo Do, takes commitment and determination like so many other parts of life. Marriage takes commitment, a job is a commitment, church and ministry all take commitment.

I think that Tang Soo Do will teach me and my family the benefit of commitment, and perseverance. These are things we know in our heads. But Tang Soo Do will teach us the reward of commitment and perseverance in the body. I can already tell a difference in my muscle tone, particularly in my legs. (Practicing stepping from right to left front-stance, while concentrating on form, and placement and all the other things there are to remember, will do that for you! Oh my legs feel like Jell-o sometimes!)

It's a reward that the commitment itself will turn into. I know that we will come to a point where we don't go to class because we know we have to. (I don't really think we do that now) but because we love to be there. Honestly I can say it's almost like that now.

It's not unlike going to church, it's a wonderful place to go and see people of a like mind. The lesson may be rough, feeling like it's killing us, it never will, but in the end will make us stronger and more prepared for both, the next lesson and life in general.

I leave you with this quote from "A Spiritual Man" - Watchman Nee
In this conflict the child of God must exercise his mind. He must take the initiative in each action and not depend on anyone else. If possible he must make his own decision, not waiting passively for other people or for more conducive environment. He must not glance back at the past nor worry concerning the future but learn to live just for this moment.

I find myself there physically in Tand Soo Do and working to this point in my spiritual life as well.

Jonathan Wagner
Cho Bo Ja

Friday, April 24, 2009

Lesson yuh-deol (8) - You want me to do WHAT?

My two oldest boys and I went to class tonight, we did those wonderful painful, yet somehow satisfying stretches. I am learning more how it's possible to both love and hate something at the same time. Now obviously this isn't me, but there are both boys and girls in our class that can do a full split... I can get my legs further than a 90 degree spilt... maybe 96 degrees! ;)

Anyhow I don't know that I'll ever be able to do a full split like this... but hey, you never can tell, I might get limber enough in my old age (I'll be 41 in 8 days) to do a full split.

Ok, so after stretches we went through some basic punches then Master Scota broke us into two groups those who are moving along nicely, and those of us who are hopefully not too hopeless! ;) ok ok we just don't know enough yet.. Ms. Scully worked with us on the first parts of the first form. That's really cool, and boy am I glad that I am aware of keeping on a level plane when moving. It would look pretty funny to be bouncing up and down like a yo-yo while moving through the form.

I guess being a programmer I like forms. I have noticed as I get older that when I am working on something which can be repeated over and over I can focus both on the physical activity I'm doing and on issues that I need to resolve. As we were learning the form , well the first couple of parts of the first form, I was actually getting it. While we were barely touching the surface of the form, I could feel how the power of the movements will transfer to punches or blocks.

Well at least I THINK I can see how it will. I probably have that part all wrong, but it just felt right.

Then we moved into practicing some kicks. I can do front kicks fairly well, but those side kicks and round-house kicks just make me hurt! However, Mr. Henderson did have us do something a little different We just set up the roundhouse kick, got our leg up where it was supposed to be and chambered the foot, pointing the toes etc, so we could get a feel for where it has to go. There may be hope for me yet! But I'll leave that to Master Scota and the instructors to decide!

I really can't wait to learn the whole form, I don't know what it's called. I'll have to find out and share that with you all.




Beginner Cho Bo Ja
Gup Holder Yu Gup Ja
Dan Holder Yu Dan Ja
Senior Dan Holder Ko Dan Ja
1st Dan Certified Instructor Bo KyoSa Nim
2nd, 3rd Dan Certified Instructor Kyo Sa Nim
Master Instructor 4th Dan & Up Sah Bum Nim
Grand Master Kwan Jang Nim
Belt Dee
Color Belt Gup
Black Belt Dan
Uniform Do Bahk
Training Hall Do Jang

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lesson Ilgop (7) - Back from vacation

Believe it or not I found myself looking forward to class tonight. I can barely believe it. but even in the stretches and laughable attempts to kick higher than my kneecap, (OK, I can make it just above the belt on an average person if I really try and concentrate and it's a front kick! forget it with a side kick or a roundhouse!... I'm working on it though!

When we got to the dojang tonight I was actually looking forward to the workout. The stretches are just as hard, and I still don't have a hinge in the middle! Reading on another blog that the middle, the way you twist your waist gives you power... right now... I don't have much of a twist. but I'm working on it!

We worked as a large group doing punches and blocks and walking punches and blocks, turning from front to back, the economy of motion in a simple turn is one of the things I really love about Tang Soo Do. Just turn from front to back... it's awesome!

Master Scota walked us through lots of punches kicks and blocks. I know that I'm a long way off, but I'm at least starting to see the symmetry.

I mentioned before that I stumbled upon a bad habit before it became a habit. Now when we move forward I concentrate on keeping my knees bent and "TRYING" to keep my head on a level plain. I did find that when I am doing these types of repetitions if I can focus both my inner man and focus my gaze on a fixed point, that's PAST the wall I'm looking at, I can move much more smoothly than otherwise.

The inner focus is more important I think than the outer. It is more important in many ways in life. If I can find a my inner focus then I can remain in that place of calm peace that is only found there. I know there are many words and terms for this centering, but being a christian, I find my center in Jesus. Other find their center in themselves or in other teaching. It's not my place to tell someone else that they are wring, though I do have a question particularly for those who find an inner focus in your own self, how can you bring balance to your self when you can't control anything other than yourself? It's just something to consider.

Anyhow, I am working on that movement and maintaining (Ha that's a laugh, let's say GAINING) a fluid graceful motion.

I know that no matter how far I progress there will always be room to learn and grow, and I will always approach Tang Soo do as a beginner. Someday I hope to have a good grasp on the basics so I can be prepared to move further. In the meantime, I'm trying to get stronger, pushups stink! oh and don't forget crunches! ARGH!!!

Standing in a deep horse-stance for long periods of time, making my legs quake and quiver, it hurts.. but wow... Even after just a few lessons my legs are starting to get the muscle definition that I had when I was younger and rode my bicycle 20 to 30 miles a day.

So I am looking forward to class on Thursday. I'll let you know what happens!

Here is some more commands and their meanings.

Romanization Word Meaning
Charyeot 차렷 Attention
Gyeong rye 경례 Bow
Baro 바로 Return
Shwieo 쉬어 At ease, relax
Kihap 기합 Yell
Junbi 준비 Ready
Sijak 시작 Begin, start
Gallyeo 갈려 Break (separate)
Gyesok 계속 Continue
Guman 그만 Finish (stop)
Dwiro dora 뒤로 돌아 Turn around (about turn)
Haesan 해산 Dismiss

Monday, April 20, 2009

Missed classes last week

Due to a family emergency and having to go out of state for a few days we didnt' get to go to class last week. I really missed it. 

I did notice that since I started taking classes, I have lost at least 10 pounds. I don't know exactly because the last scales I was on prior to taking class, didn't go past...  (gulp) 300  I weighed myself this past weekend and I am at 296 and falling.... I hope.

We'll keep track of that too.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lesson Yoset - Good habits not bad!

It seems that the more I attend class the more I realize that I'm still not getting the basics right. Doing a simple front stance forward step. You go from a ready stance ( Jhoon Bee Ja Seh) to a front stance (Chun Kul Ja Seh), one leg out in front your knee bent so you can't see your toes, the back leg locked out, foot turned at about a 45 degree angle, then you come to a duck stance, by moving your back leg forward beside your front foot, keeping the knees bent and then stepping out to the front so you are in your front stance again, only with the other leg forward.

We have been doing this lots in each class. Tonight I asked Instructor Henderson if something I was doing was ok or if it was a bad habit... no sense forming bad habits.

Anyhow, when I was in the duck stance I was locking the knee of the leg that was going to be my back leg, so I wouldn't forget etc.

Well that has a tendency to make you move up and down as you do the forward step. Which is not whats supposed to happen, you are supposed to keep your head on a level plane while moving... so I averted (hopefully) a bad habit, and will be certain to do it right from now on.

I'll tell you when I watch Master Scota or the instructors do these moves it's like watching dancers, they are so graceful, I can only hope that someday I'll be close to as graceful! I know they have been doing this for years an I am only just finishing my third week, but I can dream can't I?

Ten Articles of Faith
  • Be loyal to ones country.
  • Be obedient to parents & elders.
  • Be loving between husband & wife.
  • Be cooperative between brothers.
  • Be respectful to elders.
  • Be faithful to your teacher.
  • Be faithful to your friends.
  • Distinguish the difference between good and evil.
  • Never retreat in battle.
  • In fighting, choose with sense & honor...always finish what you start.
Tenets of Tang Soo do
  • Integrity
  • Concentration
  • Perseverance
  • Respect & Obediance
  • Self control
  • Humility
  • Indominable Spirit

Jonathan Wagner
Cho Bo Ja

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Lesson Taset (5) - Got to watch a promotion Ceremony

Tonight we went to class, and Instructor Sculley took us through our stretches. I have decided that Since Instructor Henderson is a little older than me, I prefer his stretches to Instructor Sculley, as she is younger than I am and MUCH more flexible than I, her stretches hurt much worse! I suppose that means they are better for me, but... I have decided that I can do it no matter what.

After our stretches, we saluted the flag, the grand master, and Master Scota, as well as the instructors. (Found a good explanation of all of this here. )

Master Scota introduced us to the promotion ceremony. There were 7 10th gup students (white belt) that were being promoted to Yellow Belt. Something he said really caught my attention, "Approach each class with a white-belt mentality. Realizing that you have much to learn." That is a philosophy which helps us in life. If we approach every situation recognizing that we have much to learn then we will be much better off than if we approached it as thought we already know the answers.

There were Ilgot (7) promotions. two married couples and 3 individuals. I am still intrigued by the fact that students of all ages can be promoted to whatever level they can achieve. It's inspiring.

After the promotions Master Socta had us do some basic punches: a jab which I think is a Sang Dan Kyuk, performed from a front stance, Chun Gul Chase, with your hands up, the jab uses the front hand in a quick rotating punch, in and out.
We also did a reverse punch (?) I don't remember exactly what it's called, performed from the same stance as the jab, but with the back hand punching out, driven from the hip on the side where the punch comes from. We followed that punch with a Kap Kwan, or back hand punch, aimed at the temple area or to the side of the head.

After the punches we did some low blocks, HaDan Mahk Ki , working in either direction. I find that I have a slightly harder time remembering to setup for a block to the right side than to the left, I don't know why for sure, but I'm certain that this is normal as many things are easier for one side of the brain than the other.

Then we did something which I can see will really help with form, but really hurt too! Master Scota had us get on all fours, and then we practiced our kicking from a crawling position. Leg up, looking over the shoulder we were kicking to and then chambering the leg and kick, er kick, 10 times each, we did Yup Cha Ki (Side Kick) and then Tollyo Moo Roop Cha Ki ( Roundhouse Knee Kick) and then Dui Cha Ki (Back Kick), doing ten of each of these on each side about killed me. Master Scota had us stand up and do a set of front kicks ( Ahp Cha Ki ) while not putting the front leg down (Well I tried to not put it down, again it was easier on one side than the other).

By that time class was done, and it was time to go home. While I was tired I was not nearly as sore and worn out as previously... so it must be doing some good! :)

some useful terms:
0ne - Hana
Two - Tul
Three - Set
Four - Net
Five - Taset
Six - Yoset
Seven - Ilgot
Eight - Yodol
Nine - Ahop
Ten - Yol

Jonathan Wagner
Cho Bo Ja

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Just a short Blurb

This evening before I came to work I went on a walk with my wife. It's a little over a mile around our neighborhood, with flat stretches and up and down hills. The direction we walk there is a long flat and then a fairly steep hill. the kids call it tiger hill, because if you fall down it on your bike, you look like a tiger got you! Anyhow, walking up tiger hill is normally not too hard for me, but I am winded (more often than not) and my knees and or hips and lower back usually hurt once I finally reach the top.

Today when we walked I was only slightly winded and no pain in my knees ( by the time I got home one knee was bothering me but not too badly) If I am noticeably better off from only 4 Tang Soo Do lessons... how will I be after 40?

I'll keep you informed!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Class 4 - I wonder if they have a pre-beginner class?

Tonight the 2 older boys and I went to class. My wife stayed home with my youngest because he is still recovering from the stomach virus. Hopefully by Tuesday they will be able to attend.

Each class we have different ways of learning the same things with a slight variety. I think it has to do with the fact that various instructors help teach the classes. Tonight, Mr Henderson took the whole class through stretches.

These stretches while very beneficial, are some of the most painful parts of class. Mr. Henderson says it's not supposed to hurt just stretch. Easy to say, but that's ok.

I almost forgot, the first thing we do is jumping-jacks, I had forgotten how to do jumping-jacks, OK not really, I just don't do them, until now of course. When I do jumping-jacks now, I realize why I didn't do them for so long. I am very overweight, mostly in my stomach, so, as a result, when I jump and come down, my stomach is a half-beat behind me. I'm sure it's a very sad thing to watch... I'm glad I don't have to. Surprisingly, I can keep up with the jumping jacks. We normally do about 40-50. However, I think Mr Henderson had us do about 100 tonight. He was having conversations while we were trying to do jumping jacks! Then we did the stretches. I used to be able to touch my toes, but not at the present, (Some day!)

Once we finished the stretches Master Scota had us do some basic stances, kicks, blocks, punches. The basics.

Mr Henderson then took the beginners, my two older sons, myself, and a young boy about 9. Other than this other boy we are all gupless (Is that a word) He is 10th gup. A GUP is a belt in Tang Soo Do the basic belts start at 10 and go up to 1 then the Dan belts, etc.
So the 10th Gup is the white belt. Since we, my family, don't have and gups, I guess we are gupless!

Mr. Henderson had us go through basic stances:

  • Jhoon Bee Ja Seh - Ready Stance

  • Charyut - Attention

  • Hu Kul Ja Seh - Fighting Stance

  • Chun Kul Ja Seh - Front Stance

  • Kee Ma Ja Seh - Horse Riding Stance

We also did a block: Ha Dan Mahk Ki - Low Block

In some ways at the end of class, which seems to come faster and faster each time, I am not quite as sore as last time, and I don't hurt quite all over tonight. Maybe I can be a beginner. I think I can even learn how to kick.

I'll post more as classes progress.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

So you want to take Karate?

Several months ago, almost a year really, my oldest son, He will be 17 in September, told me he would really enjoy taking some form of martial art. I have no problem with that, in fact I thought It might be a good idea for me to join him. I can't let him learn how to kick my backside without at least knowing how to defend myself!

(Disclaimer: My boys all love me, and even though we have typical issues at times, I would never worry about any of them intentionally hurting me or my wife, or anyone for that matter.)

We started looking at various Martial Arts schools in the area, Greenville, SC. I dropped into a couple to get a feel for what they were like, talked to the instructors, etc. While there are many good schools in the area I didn't get that "Just-Right" feeling from any of them.

My Wife, used her unfathomable internet location ability and found several schools on the net one which she really liked.

I called Scota Karate Academy and spoke to Master Scota. I was very impressed. As with most schools they offer a couple of free classes, and then you can decide what you want to do.
I was particularly happy when Master Scota told me that he attends the Taylors First Baptist Church. I was happy, because while I appreciate a broad spectrum of ideology and philosophy, I am careful how I introduce my children to views which are alternative to my own. I like for them to be able to judge for themselves. As a result I don't want to put them, or myself, into the hands of a teacher who is goign to push those philosophys. Master Scota told me that he believes in the discipline and the way of Tang Soo Do but doens't teach the eastern philosohy. the other reason I was happy after I spoke to him, is that he told me we salute the Flag of the United States of America, I love many nations, but I only wnat to salute my allegiance to the United States.

We arranged to attend our first trial class on the following Tuesday. My children were stoked at the idea and I was cautiously optimistic.

We live, literally 1.7 miles from the academy.

this is where I was supposed to go:

View Larger Map

I didn't check the address and tried to remember what Master Scota had told me about where the academy is located. this is the route we took:

View Larger Map

As you can see, I really messed up. Fortunatly I had left plenty of time to get there. I finally sent Google a TXT Message: (Send txt to 466453) in the form of locate: Scota Karate, Less than 30 seconds later, I got reply with the address. I turned around and drove back. We walked through the door at 6:00pm the class doesn't start till 6:15.

OK Now I didn't realize this at the time I started but Scota Karate Academy Teaches Tang Soo Do I'll just link to the wikipedia article on that.

the history of Tang Soo Do is very cool. I particularly like this quote from the Scota Karate Academy webpage:

We, as World Tang Soo Do practitioners are striving to maintain traditional values of respect, discipline, self control, self improvement, etiquette and ultimately live a healthy and harmonious life, physically and mentally.
We attended the first class, met some great people, and as I attempted not to die right there on the spot I decided I can do this!

That was Lesson 1.

Wednesday, OUCH!!!! I think that says it all.

Thuresday, Talked my wife into coming with us. It will cost the same for five of us as it does for four. They have great family plans!

Friday - OOOOUUUUUUCCCCCCCHHHHHHHHHHH but maybe not so bad...

the next class was Yesterday, unfortunatly my youngest, almost 9, was sick with stomach virus (YUCK!) and my wife had to stay home with him... Class wasn't too bad, till I tried to do a roundhouse kick.. I hurt something where it's not supposed to hurt... Still hurts today... but I'm stretching in hopes that by Thuresday all will be good again!

I'll post after class on Thuresday to let you know how we are doing.

the purpose of this blog is to document my, and my families progress in Tang Soo Do, please comment and add your own thoughts or suggestions to this.