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!