Saturday, December 05, 2009


I have been given a challenge by my karate instructor to learn a new weapon that is "out of the box" for me.  As such, he has given me a really unique experience.  It's not a bo, bokken, sai, meechi kaibo, tonfa or anything else.  I have a unique weapon which I would *never* have thought of in a million years.   It is a thought provoking weapon and one that I am going to have a lot of fun learning.
It's Japanese in origin. I really should talk to one of my friends who is a new Shodan and see if she's heard of it.  It makes me want to get it out and work with it.  I have some additional research to do because I feel that it will benefit me to know all there is to know about this wonderful weapon.

I don't know if anyone from my school reads my blog, but until I have clearance to talk about my weapon with others in the school, I have to work on learning the weapon and practice, practice, practice.

I'm excited!  I think it's an interesting choice.  I have several things I need to think about as my Master and I will sit down and discuss this weapon with him sometime soon.  He wants me to think of the reason he picked this particular weapon for me.  I can see at least one reason.   It's a weapon that you wouldn't expect to be a weapon.  It's a bit of a surprise, more of the "unknown quantity".  Since I'm fairly new to the school as well, it suits me because I'm the unknown factor as well.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Remembering the fun

Today was Open Training.  I went to it because I'd promised a friend (and myself) that I'd be there.  I gave myself no excuses to not to attend.  I am glad I went.  I got the opportunity to work on my forms--the ones I thought I'd forgotten.  

I remember vividly the lower forms: Keecho Hyung Il Bu, Ee Bu and Sam Bu.  
I remember Pyung Ahn Cho Dan (just a few things to tweak on that one!), but for some unknown reason, Pyung Ahn Ee Dan and Sam Dan were attempting an escape from my mind, so I made sure I practiced them multiple times.  
Pyung Ahn Sah Dan ("Superman"), I know fairly well.  It's a short form and I'd really insult myself if I didn't remember that one!  
Pyung Ahn Oh Dan also was easier to work on , despite it being months since I'd worked on it last.  Bassai was a little more challenging, as was Nahainchi Cho Dan.  I just decided that I'm going to work on my forms a little at a time, and a little every day.  Practice makes perfect.  Funakoshi #11--Karate is like boiling water.  If not heated constantly, it will cool.

While I was in training today, I set myself two goals.  They're not huge ones, but they're attainable.  One goal is to go in to have fun.  The other goal is to perfect my kicks and forms.  No more am I going to have that "I can't" mentality.  It's a defeatist attitude and I don't need it in my life.    I'm going to focus on the FUN part of martial arts.   I love to learn and i love to work hard at something that is fun.  I will get myself to a better mental state.   I won't get discouraged or frustrated anymore.  I'm working on that.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Martial arts musing

When I started back to martial arts this month, I decided that come hell or high water, I was NOT going to make any excuses for not going.  I've made two classes so far and feel pretty good about it.  I have class twice a week.  Last week we worked on the elements of Tang Soo Do and the animals of Tang Soo Do.  It was fascinating to think of the forms in terms of an element or of an animal.  I hadn't ever learned to do that before!!  Let me tell you, I found myself thinking about class a lot more than I have been in the past.
I had to take notes instead of practicing the falls on Thursday because
I'm still fighting with this stupid pinched nerve in my neck/shoulder.  It's driving me nuts because I'll think I can do something and then I stress it out again.  I'm not the best patient.  I'm IMpatient and want to be able to do what I've been doing.

I have a sheet of the terminology used in class that I am now studying so that I can become more familiar with the Korean.  I find it interesting that I've already integrated some of the terms into my thought processes.  I may not be an expert, but repetition is a good thing.  I need to have more confidence in myself though.  When an instructor calls a technique, I should be confident that I know it instead of panicking and thinking "I don't know that".  I've got a goal to learn terminology by the end of this year.  I think it's highly do-able.  I just need to sit down and study like my do.  I have homework too.  In fact, today, I'm going to sit down and study.  It's on my agenda!!

This is the start of another busy week.  I'm going to attend both of my classes this week and throw myself into learning.  There is no reason for me not to.  I enjoy taking classes and I truly enjoy learning.  I just need to put it all together and I'll be set.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Animal class

Tonight was another great class.  We went over the elements of Tang Soo Do on Tuesday, so tonight, we covered the animals of Tang Soo Do.  In Korea, there are five creatures: Snake, Leopard, Tiger, Crane and Dragon.  Each of the forms that we do can be equated to one of these animals.  Similarly, each of the forms can be equated to Earth, Air (wind), Fire, Water or Metal, which was the subject of Tuesday's class.  

So, keeping that in mind, Ms. S tonight had us do Ahp Chagis (front snap kicks) and visualize specific animals.  When she told us to think of a Tiger, there was a noticeable change in the energy of the room.  It makes you think when you're performing the forms with an animal in mind.  

We also took the animal theme one step further and put them to use in forms.  We took our lowest form (Kichyo Hyung Il Bu) and performed it thinking of a snake, then a leopard, then a tiger, etc.  If you visualize the animal as you're doing the form, you start to feel more power/speed, etc.  When I did a form as a snake, I found myself improving my C-step and working harder to move as if I was truly a snake.  With the tiger, I found myself stepping out harder, trying to put more power into it, as if I was springing out on an unsuspecting prey.   A dragon was a bit harder to do, especially since nobody's really seen a dragon!

After forms, we moved on to the other room and worked on falls.  I didn't participate in that as I'm not cleared by my chiropractor yet.  I got a lot of good notes and pointers on falls from Master M and Ms. S.  Whenever my neck and shoulder are back to "normal", then I'll start working on falls agin.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

It's all about perception

Last night's class was an eye opener.  Master F ran us through our paces and had us practicing kicks.  He indicated that we should do low, medium and high kicks.  I found that I need to work on my perception of height.  My low kicks were, yes, low.  Mid-level, not so mid-level.  High?  NOT!!  This just tells me what I need to work on.  I have to work on the perception of level, plus I already knew I needed to work on my kicking skills. Now I have more incentive to work at it.  I am challenging myself to improve my kicks.  I have listened to what has been said in class and also at various tests, so I'm sure I can use that to my advantage.

I'm rather pleased with myself.  I didn't let myself make any excuses.  I know I'm not the best at what I do.  I can do it though.  I have much to improve, but that is the way of a student.  You strive to constantly better yourself.  I'm thinking it goes along with the perception of think you're doing something really well and just sail along, but really, it could possibly stand improvement.  

I told one of my instructors what this month's goal is.  I'm striving to make all the classes this month, *NO EXCUSES!*  That's my first goal.  It's attainable because we have classes up until Thanksgiving.  I plan on making all of my classes.  I'll only be out if I'm sick.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A whole lot of learning

I started back into martial arts after speaking with my instructor at the picnic earlier this month.  He told me to get myself into class, which I did.  I've had a few minor details that have kept me out of attending classes twice a week for the past few weeks (prior commitments) but as of this month, I will be there for two classes a week

I've had to lead the class commands, which is, in and of itself, a somewhat daunting task at times.  If red belts can do it, then I know that I too can do it. I do find myself feeling much like a deer in the headlights, afraid to move.  I know that's a minor thing and I need to work past it.  I shall.  I just need to practice.  I also need to practice my forms, plus my techniques.  I have to learn the names of the techniques in Korean.  I have to know them now is as good a time as any to learn.  I feel really good that Master M explained the one steps we were supposed to be doing on Thursday in English in addition to giving the Korean commands for them.  I just need to commit them to memory as it's an important thing to know.

I learned much by attending the Dan test on October 24th.  It was an eye opener.  The test is strictly by invitation only, so I'm "safe".  Nobody is going to invite me to test.  I'm actually relieved.  I don't have the fitness requirement to pass, nor am I ready with my second Dan form.  I have issues with the forms I'm already supposed to know.  The problem is not that I don't know the forms.  The problem is, I learned them a different way.  I didn't learn the bunkai of the forms.  I didn't learn WHY you do something.  I just learned to do it by rote.  In this school, it's a requirement to know the form forwards, backwards, sideways and then some.  You have to be able to perform a form blindfolded and on a hill if they require it.  You have to know how to start from a specific technique and finish a form, then explain WHAT you're doing.    

In other words, I have to re-start my learning.  I just happen to be ahead of the curve as I know the technique.  I just don't know how to speak the language and I don't have the fitness yet.  I may never advance.  I just know that I HAVE to do something.

Friday, October 16, 2009

This is a quick fly-by post...I have a lot more in my head that I want to put to "paper", so to speak, but it'll have to wait until I have the time to write more.   Tomorrow is a Cub Scout commitment that I need to fulfill.
Sunday, I'm getting up and going to the track or else just downstairs at the apartment complex to do some walking. 

I just got in from a football game with my daughter.  2 1/2 hours of standing at a football game is a long time.  I didn't notice my feet were hurting until I actually sat down!

I may have to take my bong outside and work with it.  I think I need to practice something martial arts related so as to work on my self talk and discipline.  

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Taking that first step

I kept part one of a promise to myself tonight.  I went to class tonight.  It was a Q and A session, but still, it was a class.  I'm already planning on returning on Thursday night.

I had a nice chat with one of my instructors after the meeting tonight and he told me that the biggest thing I could do to get myself back on the right track was to get to class.  I started tonight by getting off my butt and going to this meeting.  It was an important bit of background on my school.  I like it.

So, as of right now, I'm re-committing myself to working hard.  I've had it pointed out to me at work that I've ballooned up in my weight, so that's something I'll work on.  Hard work never hurt anyone.   Sa Bu Nim pointed out that I DO know my forms and techniques, even if I'm a little rusty, so I shouldn't let that hold me back.  He's right.  I do know a lot, even if I try to tell myself I don't know it.  I am always hardest on myself, which is another observation Sa Bu Nim had for me tonight.  We agreed that I should just work on getting over that nasty little voice in my head that says I don't know it and work on my self confidence.    I know the forms and techniques and as I'm just about starting over, I have a lot of things I can improve.

I'm glad I went.  I will be back on Thursday.  With figurative bells on, not literal bells.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back to work

I'm officially ending my hiatus from martial arts as of tomorrow.  I go to my first class in over a month.  I"m really looking forward to it.  I need it.  You never know how much you've missed something until you have the opportunity to think about it.

I'm ready.  I've been doing nothing but complaining about my fate. Well, this isn't happening anymore.  I'm happy that my instructor is allowing me to come back, so I am going to throw myself into it whole heartedly.
Tomorrow we have a parents' meeting in place of our normal classes, but on Thursday, there's going to be a lot of hard, HARD work to do.  This I will enjoy!! 

On Saturday, I talked to my instructor.  He told me, "No more excuses."  He's right.  No more.  I'm completely ready for it.  I'm already mentally reviewing my forms and thinking about what I know. I'm going to start pushing myself a little harder than I had been.  I have a lot of things to get caught up on.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


What makes a black belt? Is it the fabric that just happens to be black or blue? No. It’s a manner of carrying yourself, your comportment. It’s whether you take the time to show a little bit of courtesy to the rest of the people you come into contact with. A black belt is all of these things and more.

A black belt internalizes the teachings of his or her Masters. He or she must learn to give up the ego that plagues most of us. (Having an ego is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does affect your dealings with people.) A black belt truly BECOMES that which he or she embodies.

As a black belt, you represent not only your dojang, but also your history, your founders. You represent yourself as an ambassador. You’re part of a greater whole. It’s a collective. Martial arts has a long history. It’s one that we all represent in many ways. The history of your art, for yes, it IS an art form, is written in the sweat and blood of those who precede you. You may *think* you’re working very hard to earn something, but there are those for whom the challenge has been infinitely harder. The challenge is there for all, but only a few will ever truly embrace being a black belt.

When you test, it’s not just an ending point. It’s a stepping off point, a door is opening to continue to grow and expand. The target, while having been met once, now must be re-met in all that you do. You must decide if you are going to share your knowledge with your fellow students. The Gups will look up to you. Overnight, it seems, your status is changed from being “one of them” to being one of an elite group.

Being a black belt isn’t just “Look! I have a belt!” It’s your actions, ultimately, that define you as a black belt. If you take the time to help out in class, to lead warm ups, for example, you’re embodying what those who have come before you have taught you. If you step up and demonstrate a form or technique incorrectly, you must take the critique of that form or technique. You can’t expect to do something incorrectly and not have people notice. You actually have a spotlight on you, almost as if “black belt” is tattooed to your forehead.

Being a black belt is a mental thing. Any person can have a black belt. Some people truly LIVE as black belts. There is a difference. Those who just have the belt are more likely to be the swaggering type. The people I have met, as an example, embody the spirit of black belt. In my dojang, the people who I train with are working towards improvement daily. They are willing to answer questions and never treat you like you’re asking “stupid” questions. When I came into this dojang, I came in with the idea that I was going to advance my ranks on the same “schedule” that I had been on at my old school. What I had not counted on was the fact that I have to learn to become a black belt. I may have the belt, yes, but it means nothing if I don’t understand WHY I have the belt. It’s not all about the training. The training goes beyond the physical in the dojang (Funakoshi #8–”Do not think that your karate training happens only in the dojang.”)

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I’m taking that step. I want to learn, therefore, I attend classes (intermittently, but that *will* change!). I have found my niche. There is another saying that bears repeating…that is, “When the student is ready, the teacher will come.”

Monday, September 07, 2009

Training benefits and values

Being a martial artist, sometimes it is important to step back and think about why you do things. If you've been a martial artist for a long time, it's something that is pretty well customary. If you're a "new" or "young" martial artist (as in, less than ten years into the practice), it helps to periodically look back at things.
I've been going through one of those phases again. It's helping me to redefine myself.

So, here is what I have come up with:

The Benefit of training in Tang Soo Do:

1. Self Discipline
2. Integrity
3. Self Confidence
4. Strength
5. Physical Fitness

The values to training in martial arts are:

1. Integrity-honesty. Winners don't lie. Integrity instills honesty which instills integrity. It's a circle.

2. Self discipline-Not being lazy. You can't say you have "self discipline" if you're avoiding any sort of workout.

3. Self confidence-belief in oneself. Being able to achieve the impossible.

4. Strength--Mental as well as physical. Make your own decisions.

5. Physical Fitness--Physical fitness leads to improved health, being healthy.

This all ties together. You have to have self discipline in order to follow through with your physical fitness, for example. If you are lazy, you don't allow yourself to workout or train, which in turn leads to sloppy martial arts.
When you're physically fit, you'll feel more self confidence. Self confidence allows you to have the fortitude to continue down the path you've chosen.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Absence of workouts...

I haven't been doing anything lately. NO push ups. NO crunches. I just fizzled out. I need to follow what a new friend has recommended and keep an actual physical journal of my workouts. That way I have something I can pull out and say, "I DID do what I was supposed to do on this date." Plus, I need to set a realistic goal or three. I need to get off my duff and re-vitalize myself to doing what I like to do. I'm not afraid of hard work. I just have to actually DO it.

Go read this blog for a good note on incentive. It's well worth it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quick workout update

9 push ups today. No crunches. I did spar at the dojang today for about a minute. I was part of a two on one sparring with a young lady testing for her first gup. That was fun! I had to be cautious because I wasn't wearing sparring gear. I had it with me, just wasn't wearing it. I take it as a compliment to my self control that they let me spar without it. (even better note, after watching the kids in the gup tests spar...I wasn't leaning in toward my opponent as I was sparring her!)

I'm exhausted. Running on fumes, literally. I know it affects my thinking and it also affects my response times. I got up at 3:15 am yesterday. I didn't get back to sleep, so I stayed up until after the kids were off at school. Tried to sleep, didn't work out. Went out and had lunch with a friend, chatted and enjoyed myself. Got to bed too late and up at 1:15 am to get oldest child from school. (She was away on a band trip.) I got up at 8:00 am after going back to bed at 2:30 this morning, so I picked up a couple of hours of sleep. I still feel like my response times are off. I'll see what happens tomorrow when I drag the hubby and a kicking shield outside. I'm going to start working on kicks now. I watched the tests today and figured out a few things to improve in my own workouts.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Push ups and crunches

Five push ups tonight. 7 crunches. I probably could have done MORE crunches, but I wasn't about to risk good form. I found myself sagging on the push ups. I have to remember that a push up still requires good form. I'm not beating myself up, but I know that there's room for improvement. I have to work on my core strength. To that extent, I think I may put in some more isolation exercises tonight. When I belly danced, years ago, I was able to isolate certain muscles. I still have some control over various muscles, so I may go ahead and start working on that more. I should also look up some exercises for abs, plus lift some weights.

I have plans. Lots of plans. I will implement them a little at a time.

I might...

I might just add crunches to the mix tonight, when I do my push ups. I was talking to my daughter and told her that if I work hard at it, I can build up to 100 push ups in 100 days. That's a reasonable goal, I think. I know I'm feeling MUCH better about myself just for having completed 4 push ups that I can't imagine that I'll be less happy with completing 100!! I like that thought.

If I'm 100 percent honest about how many crunches I can do REALLY well, I think I'm starting small and saying *maybe* ten. If I can push out ten crunches tonight and then add one a day, I'll be up to my number in no time. That's worth a happy thought for me!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Two plus two equals

Push ups.

I skipped my push ups yesterday, so I made up for it tonight. 4 push ups. I'm on schedule. Tomorrow should be 5. I've actually been listening to people!! I can't say anything negative about the push ups. I do have to say that *I* think they were okay. I did them and that's the important thing. One small step at a time.

A new friend I've been talking to has recommended that I write out my goals, not just in the blog, but in a notebook, so I may suddenly sprout a notebook. It won't be any different from when I was following Weight Watchers. In fact, as long as I'm using notebooks for things, I'll just start out with a 3-subject notebook and do some goal setting in it...that way I have short term, medium term and long term goals all in one place.

Nahainchi Ee Dan

I was thinking about forms this morning after dropping my daughter off at the track for band practice. I have decided that I am going to start working on Nahainchi Ee Dan, at least the very beginning of the form. I have seen it, at my old school, and was supposed to be learning it before I left. Master P told me that I needed to start learning it a month ago, so I think I'm going to get off my rear and start. I know the first four movements, I think. I have resources. My friend, S, knows it and can show me what I might need, plus, if I ask nicely, another friend, DB, knows it and IF we can ever get together, he could show me things too. I'd love to go back into class knowing this form. It would do wonders for my feeling toward myself. I'm also going to go back and practice a form that I know that maybe I'm not SUPPOSED to know yet (Sip Soo). I haven't done that one in a year or more. I still have it simmering in the recesses of my brain. It'll help me to keep active if I work on the forms I am supposed to know, to firm them up. I don't want to show up and have to demonstrate something and freeze. That's one of my biggest fears.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Starting small

Small steps. I did two *really good* push ups tonight. My son counted for me.
I started with just two because my friend, S, told me that if I add just one a day, I'll build up my strength and can improve my numbers. Therefore, I started out with two really good push ups. That was a start. I'm not allowed to say anything negative about myself and my push ups, so I am instead, going to pat myself on the back and cheer. I did it! It was "one small push up for me, one giant push up for my goals." Okay, so that's badly paraphrasing, but it's a start.

I'm NOT complaining.

Temporarily sidelined

Not much is going on with my training these days. I've been working (a lot), doing Band related things (eldest is in Marching Band now) and of course, Cub Scouts. Did I mention that I'm neglecting my own training?
I haven't really thought of why, I just haven't shown much initiative. I know I need to work out. I just haven't.

I was talking to a friend this afternoon and we decided that I've got to get off my duff and at the very least, do my crunches and push ups. I am highly below average at both of those. I need to get with the program, to work harder and push myself to get to the "average" rating. I am going to aim for at least 5 push ups a day to start, then work on building on that. The number I need to get to is a multiple of 9. (note: I'm NOT going to do 9 right out of the box! I need to get the arms strengthened first...but soon I shall be doing my number.) Same with crunches. Those, I can do probably about 20, if I'm honest with myself. Do I do them correctly? Nope...but I do 20 crunches. I'm going to work on improving those too. That number is a multiple of 8. If you email me, I'll tell you the numbers. Otherwise, cryptic it is.

I talked to a friend last week about some goals that I had. He said to put them down, but that setting a goal of "to lose weight" was not an option. I had to be specific. He wasn't being ugly, he wanted me to actually THINK about what I want. Believe me when I say, that was a difficult thing to think about and even more difficult to do. I'm still working on revamping those goals, but I do have them out there to look at.


1. To be able to run a mile by December.
My friend reminded me that trying to set a short term goal of 4 months might be a tad bit unreasonable, especially as I've had issues with keeping on task in the future. His recommendation was to strive for a six month time frame. Then he told me, "Leave the stopwatch at home. Don't even look at it for now."
This takes the stress off having to run. He said not to focus on the fact that I'm not a gazelle, but that I'm an average woman who is just starting out on a new fitness path.

2. To learn the forms correctly, to perform up to the standards I see everyone else performing at.

THIS is a most realistic goal. Practice makes perfect. 'Nuff said.

3. To make time for myself.

This is an attainable goal. Even if I can't go to martial arts every week, I should be able to go home from work, go into a quiet room and just BE for a few. It's highly recommended, as a matter of fact. It'll help me keep from panicking about things. I can just let it all slip away, like water over a rock.

So these are some things I can work on. My friend in Houston is giving me encouragement on his end. My Masters here are giving me encouragement. They know I have other things going and I'm not getting docked for not attending classes. I can work through the temporary sidelining and come out on the other end ahead of the game.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A confession

I seem to be finding myself in a rut. I'm having an issue finding my motivation and sticking to it. Mentally, I know I need to work out in order to be healthy, but it feels like extreme torture at times. I have a hard time pushing myself to workout on my own. I tried working out with my family, but that didn't pan out because they weren't interested or found fault with the way I was walking/running.
I need to make up my mind and get with the program. I'm either going to commit myself to becoming healthier, or I'm going to settle for being un-fit and unhealthy.
Only I can make that decision, nobody else.

Unfortunately, I do have a tendency to lose my focus. I'll have focus as long as I see a goal in sight, but if I don't have an actual goal that I know I can work for, I seem to allow myself to slack off. My training is virtually non-existent. That is something that I know I need to work on.

So what I'm working on is getting more motivation. I need to find what works for me and use it to my advantage. What I think I need to do is to sit down with someone and give them my goals. Then I need to get serious and do something. It doesn't have to be much, as long as it's some form of activity that is related to what I want/need to do to get myself fitter.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Second mile.

I must have mis-timed myself yesterday. I went out and walked the track at the high school again today. Today's time was 19 minutes, 21 seconds. I didn't take my son with me today, so that might have something to do with it. I also worked on my breathing. I walked most of that first lap fairly slowly, but then started walking faster by the last end of the track. My husband was with me and all I heard was "goodbye" as I pulled away from him. I wasn't out to race him, I was out to walk. I didn't have my MP3 player with me, so I wasn't regulating my steps to music. I was just out to walk. I did work on my breathing. I tried to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth as I was walking. It seemed to be the thing to do. That is something I can do on a regular basis. You THINK you know how to breathe, but sometimes it turns out, you don't really know.

Anyway, I feel successful, so I'll be working on maintaining this time at the recommendation of a couple of friends. As long as I hold this pace for the next few weeks, I'll be in good shape. I can then strive to decrease the time by a minute or two. By the end of the month, I should be walking a mile in 17 minutes. By the end of September, I can aim for 15 minutes and by the end of October, I can aim for 13 minutes. My goal will be to strengthen myself to the point where I'm shaving off a few minutes every two weeks. I think it's a reachable goal.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Run number 1

Well, I actually did it this morning. I got up and went out to the track with my husband and son. Four laps is a mile on this track, so that's what I went for. I'm seriously disappointed by my performance. I made my mile in 25 minutes. I was aiming for at least 15, knowing that I haven't run recently. I wasn't expecting the slow result. Here's what I did:

Lap #1. Walked. It was a slow walk until almost at the second end of the track, when I tried to speed up my walk.

Laps #2, 3 and 4. These were walk/run laps. I walked all the way around the end of the track and ran the back straightaway. I stopped when I got to the other end of the track and walked, then ran the front straightaway.

I noticed that I was severely huffing and puffing by the end of the run cycle. That is NOT good, so I asked a friend, who is a runner about it. She said that I was breathing too shallowly, which meant I was not inflating my lungs fully and caused me to fatigue and run more slowly. I asked for a way to train myself to breathe better and she gave me some pointers, so I'll work on that.

I'm probably going back out tomorrow, sans youngest child. I didn't feel that he was much help to me. I spent a lot of time trying to get him to walk faster, to actually RUN and try to keep me going. He's not interested at this point, so I'm leaving him out of MY training. I'll do my best to help him, but until he realizes that he won't be testing for any tests if he can't run a mile, there's not a lot I can do for him.

I'm treating this like a test preparation. I am not testing, but I may as well get serious enough to treat it like it is. This will help me focus and get myself to that "place" I need to be in order to work hard and see results.

Friday, July 31, 2009

July-August Fitness

"The best laid plans of mice and men..." have gone astray here. I had every intention of getting off my rear and working out every morning, despite loaning my Wii out to a friend. Did that work? No. So much for my public accountability, right??? I fell flat for 3 days. Oh well. If you fall down, get up, brush yourself off and get back to what you were doing.

So. My plan is this: I'm going to the track tomorrow morning. It's the first of the month, first workout of the month. I'm going to start trying to run. No more of this "I hate running" thing I've had going. NO MORE telling myself "I'm allergic to running." All that does is perpetuates the negativity about the act itself. If you tell yourself something often enough, you internalize it and that's the last thing I need. What I NEED to tell myself is "I can run that mile in ten minutes."

Now that I've let it slip, may as well come straight out. As an adult of "advancing years" (44), I need to aim to run a mile within ten minutes, thirty seconds. I am overweight by a good 100 pounds too, but I WILL get to that ten minute mark!! It'll be good for me to get out and run.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I didn't do any training today other than some standing crunches. I did twenty of them this morning. That's not a lot, I know, but I was trying to work on my balance. I have a real issue with my balance when I'm trying to do some kicks. My ahp chagis are okay, but my nakse chagis leave a lot to be desired. Master F pointed out that some of us were raising our legs up, then pulling our knees in. It's something I need to work on, which I understand.

So...that's not a lot, but there you have it. Day 1--no training.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Open Training recap

Yesterday was Open Training at the dojang. I took my son and we worked on what we needed to know. He worked on Kee Cho Hyung Il Bu while I worked on One Steps and Ho Sin Sul with one of my fellow adult students. My son also got the opportunity to work with Master G on his form and learned quite a bit. I had him write it down in a notebook when we got home so that he wouldn't forget it.

I worked on a hair grab defense with Mr. L. That was interesting because it starts from someone getting a chunk of your hair and you breaking past that. I was given pointers on using my last three fingers on my hand to break the grip (those have strength--the index finger doesn't have as much). The way it was described made a lot of sense to me. I'm sure I could get out of that type of a grab if it was absolutely necessary.

Another thing I came out of training with was falling. I worked with Ms. S on front falls and back falls. If executed properly, you will land on your forearms when you fall. You don't want to land on your wrists because you *will* break your wrists if you're falling on them. Think of the amount of force you're putting on your wrists! We practiced front falls, back falls and side falls. I don't feel TOO badly about the side falls and back falls. I need to work on releasing the energy from the fall, and the landing, but that's something I can do.

I'm looking forward to class on Tuesday now. I know it'll be another informative class.

Friday, July 24, 2009

One steps, Ho Sin Sul and Bunkai

Last night was a One Step, Ho Sin Sul and Bunkai night. The bunkai aspect I have never been exposed to before. The one steps were *slightly* intimidating, but mainly because they were "2 on 1" attacks, meaning that you had to deal with an attacker from front and back on one of the techniques and one on either side on the other. I had been concentrating on the lower one steps and had never even TRIED to get into the upper level ones, so this was really an experience. I worked with the Mr. L's and Master F. It was an eye opener. The one steps are designed to help you as if you were in a real life fight situation. I learned that I can NOT stand way back from a tall person as I'd seriously have to reach to get him or her in a fight. Not only that, but I'd also be knocked flat on my butt before that happened.

In the other one step we did (we were working on our highest ones for our testing cycle), it was an attack from the front with a person holding the defender on either side (by the arm). The attacker is throwing a kick, which the defender can use to his or her advantage. I thought about that one and am pretty sure I can duplicate it without TOO much trouble. The thing that worries me is the fall on the other one we did. I'll get to that one later.

The Bunkai aspect of class was really fun. We were to take our highest form, take a part of it and figure out the bunkai for it. I'd never thought of the forms as anything other than "forms"...they're pretty and you have to do them. I may have been taught what they meant, but I wasn't taught how to visualize and explain WHAT you are doing at any specific moment in the form. Last night opened my eyes in a totally different way.

I had to take Nahainchi Cho Dan and work on a part of that and *explain* the bunkai, what I was doing and why. Master F told all of us to remember to think it through. You can't just take a form and do the bunkai halfway. You have to mean what you're doing and use it to your advantage. If you are going to execute a block or a punch, you need to be able to explain yourself. It was that sort of thing that I don't remember doing in the past. I did enjoy the bunkai aspect of the class and will strive to remember it going forward.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Successful form!

After all the whining and moaning about how I had "forgotten" my forms, I wound up showing Master F my version of Bassai on Tuesday. I had an ear to ear grin on my face when I finished. I need to put myself into my own little world and just focus on me and not anyone else. If I don't, I will continue to mess up the forms. Another thing I need to remember is to relax. That will do wonders for my forms.

I feel like I've been re-earning my belts, if that makes sense. Being a Dan is not an isolated experience at BTK. You're part of a greater whole. If you need help, all you have to do is to ask and someone will help you. There is always room for improvement in anything you do. I've been trying to get my forms "fixed". I wasn't doing them wrong, just differently. Different schools have different styles. It's not "my school is right, yours is wrong."

One thing to work on is my push up requirement and my crunch requirement. We did pushups in class on Thursday. I HURT! My arms are so sore, it's not even funny! I gave myself two days off, but am going to attempt to do pushups today. I have to get my requirement in. I have to run too. I don't mind putting my running requirement on my's a mile in 10:30. My son, who is 9, has the same time requirement as me. Now if I could just get him to actually RUN around the track and not just goof off and try to roll around on the infield.

I've been doing some exercise with my Wii in an effort to work on muscle strength and toning. It's the EA Sports Active...there's a 30 Day Challenge on it. I hit 14 out of 20 workouts today. 6 more to go. There are a lot of lunges in it, which I think helps some. I hate the running part of it. If I was in a bottom floor apartment, I wouldn't have as many issues with it, but...oh well, I'm still doing it. Real life running is next on my list.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Years of training

I am truly humbled when I look at other people and see the results of the YEARS of training they've put in. Case in point was yesterday at Dan Training. We did several techniques (note to self: MUST LEARN KOREAN!!!) and I felt like I was just starting out with as well as some of these people were doing their techniques. It gives me something new to work on.

Another thing was forms. We practiced the Nahainchi forms yesterday. I only know Nahainchi Cho Dan, but even that felt like I was just a newbie when I saw how others were doing the form. I realize that I have to tweak my forms to catch up to the way my school does them, but this was a huge WOW to me. They did Nahainchi Ee Dan and I had to sit out because I don't have that particular skill...YET. I loved watching the way they did it, plus I picked up some pointers. Then they moved into Nahainchi Sam Dan and again, it was an eye opener! The Masters then did Sip Soo and Jin Do. I had learned Sip Soo at my old school, but I wouldn't have felt comfortable even ATTEMPTING it in the presence of Master M and Master A! They made it look *easy*!!

We worked on Ho Sin Sul and worked on ways to break out of an attack. Again, this was an eye opening experience. I have never before consciously thought about the ways to break out of an attack, but I was thinking about it yesterday. I like learning new things and I feel like I definitely learned something new.

I wrote down what I remembered from the training and will think about it as I attend my regular classes. When I came home from training, I told my husband that I felt like my fire was re-ignited. I am finding every day a new challenge. I love the fact that I learn, that there are new things to learn.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Choosing your weapons

I am getting together with my instructor and picking out a weapon to learn. I sent him a list of the weapons I currently own, that I'd be interested in. Ultimately, I think I'd like to learn the Bo, but mainly because I have two of them and I'm short...It gives me a reach on an opponent. I may not get that as a weapon of choice, but I've told him what I have at my disposal.
I also have a pair of (cheap) kamas, a pair of wooden tonfas and a pair of wooden kamas. I don't own a pair of sai (YET!), but that's also something that would be interesting to learn. Then there's the idea that a cane is also a weapon, along with the fan and other things....

As I was doing research, I found an interesting article by Scott Shaw about the Korean Long Staff. I'm interested in it and have a strong leaning toward either the bo or Haidong Gumdo (Korean sword). I should see if my brother would be interested in talking to MG about HG.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Today I got an email advising me that I need to get together with my instructors and decide on a weapon for weapons training. This will be cool! I'm excited about that. I have a Bo already, but learning more is going to be a great opportunity. I don't know if I want to continue with the bo or if I want to try my hand with kamas or with sais. I have a cheap pair of kamas, plus I 'inherited' some kamas from a girl I used to train with at the old dojang, which are wooden. I'm not sure I want to learn those or try something new.

That makes me wonder...just how many different weapons ARE there in martial arts???

Friday, June 19, 2009

6/19 Class

Last night in class, we had to run. Master M is starting to get us working on our conditioning, so we'll be running from here on out. One thing I realized fairly quickly...I'm NOT in the shape I thought I was in. (Wait...round is a shape, right?? I'm round!!)
I was the last one to finish running. Boo. That just means I have work to do. I will do it. Have to work up to that half mile, then it'll be a full mile before I know it. Master M told me after class to just keep after it. If I have to walk the ends and run the straights, that's acceptable--FOR NOW. Eventually I should be able to run a mile in ten minutes. Or less. My goal is the 'less' at some point in the future. DISTANT future. The short term goal is just to run. To quote Nike..."Just DO it."

After running, Master M had us work on technique with the weights again. I chose 3 pound weights this time instead of the 5 I'd used on Tuesday. For some reason, last night I felt wobbly. Was it because I snuck in some weight training for triceps, deltoids and the upper pecs beforehand? I don't know. If that's the case, I'm going to continue to do the pre-workout because I think it will help in the long run!!

I'm still using my Wii Fit in the morning to get in some cardio. That has been highly beneficial in my opinion because it gets me up and moving. I feel better in the morning when I've worked out. I LIKE working out now. I'm telling myself I am seeing changes. Yes, I know it's only been a week, but I'm telling myself I'm seeing changes anyway...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Weight class

During class last night, we did techniques and forms with weights. Master M had us pick a weight we thought we'd be able to handle comfortably. She led us through drills with the weights doing Sah Dan Mahkee (low block) and Ha Dan Mahkee (High blocks), along with side kicks, front kicks (sorry for not using the Korean on this). Then she had us move from the rubber room (called that for the floor, which is made of hard rubber) into the Wooden room (wood floor) and we got another set of weights. She gave us the option of going down to a lower weight or even up if we wanted to. (I stuck with 5 lbs) We started into forms, which was a bit more challenging.

Doing Keecho Hyung Il Bu with weights was not as difficult as it could have been. It wasn't too bad. It was harder to do than it normally is, but it wasn't horrible.
What was hard was when I was told to do Bassai and I lost it completely. It seemed that once the weights got into my hands, my brain leaked the form. As a result, I had to do 10 crunches. I had no problem with that. I didn't like the fact that I forgot my form. Oh well. I'll review it and fix it.

Master M had us do a form of our own chosing and do it with the weights. That was fun. Several of us picked out Pyung Ahn Sam Dan to do. THAT was challenging at the end because of the jump/simultaneous elbow strike, back punch.

After class, I got Ms. S and Master M to help me refine Pyung Ahn Ee Dan. I now know what I was doing wrong, so I need to practice it and improve it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Training tool

Last December, I bought the family a Wii Fit with the intention of all four of us using it. I used it a couple of times, then nothing happened. My son has used it intermittently on his breaks and hubby has used it. Until yesterday, I had not used it since the initial set up. That has changed. I don't know if it's the fact that I have a teenager who needs some extra motivation from me to get moving or if it's just the fact that I want to be more physically fit, but I'm not going to stop if I can help it. I'm working out at the "Y" twice a week for about 15 minutes before class while number one son is in class, but I haven't seen drastic results, soooo...Wii Fit, here I am. I plan on getting into shape one way or another!

My son actually got me hooked on it. He was playing the "Rhythmic Boxing"...I saw it and HAD to try it. Well, now I'm hooked. I think if I do this daily, I will build up endurance, plus it'll help me stay hooked on working out. It does but doesn't feel like a workout. One thing I've noticed is that I need to twist my hips more when we're working with the virtual bag, but that's something I KNOW I can overcome.

I have to work on my core that's another thing to focus on. I have to do a certain number of crunches and push ups, so I am GOING to work that core and get that into shape. Notice I'm not saying *how many* crunches and pushups I have to never know who is reading your blog and I learned a lesson from a friend about keeping goals under wraps. Not ALL goals, just ones with specific numbers attached to them.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Interesting quote

With the thought I've been putting into goal setting, it's appropriate that I found this quote on my Google home page today:

It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.
- Arnold Toynbee

Friday, April 17, 2009


1 hana
2 dul
3 set
4 net
5 daseot
6 yeoseot
7 ilgop
8 yeodeol
9 ahop
10 yeol

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Since I love to write, I'm trying something new as far as my personal training is concerned. I'm keeping a journal.

I hadn't ever thought of keeping a record of what I'm doing, exercise-wise, until recently. It helps me keep track of what I'm doing and will help me keep from slacking off. I'm not a strict disciplinarian, but I do find that writing things down helps me keep accountable for my actions.

That was one of the things the doctor told me about going back to WW--they have an accountability factor there with the journaling and writing things down. While I haven't stepped back into THAT arena yet, I am writing down my training for the sheer enjoyment of tracking myself. I promised someone that I would have it available to display, so that's what I'm doing. I can write down my thoughts on the forms as well. I may not put a huge effort into working out--but I can and I will write down what I've done as far as conditioning (i.e.-the squats I did yesterday, the lunges I despise but will do because it'll improve a form I like to do and need to practice...). It will also help me see where I need the most help.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hammer and Nail

The following parable is attributed to Master Ed Parker of Kenpo Karate.

A young carpenter with a few years experience in construction went to work for a new company to increase his knowledge and carpentry skills. The young carpenter’s hammering technique had been admired by carpenters at his old job but the new foreman told him his methods of pounding nails by striking them straight on while gripping the end of the hammer was flawed. The foreman said that, while he held the hammer correctly, he should be striking the nails with a circular motion rather than hitting them straight on. Wanting to please the well-known foreman, the young carpenter changed his hammering method to please the foreman and found the new way just as effective as his old way.

After a few years, the young carpenter went to work for a bigger company. The new foreman immediately told the young carpenter that his method of pounding nails in a circular motion was all wrong. The foreman told him to hold the hammer at the top of the handle and to strike the hammer head straight down onto the nail. Wanting to please the older, more experienced foreman, the young carpenter again changed his way of hammering and found the new way just as effective as the other two ways he had used.

The moral of this parable is not that each method of hammering was correct, but that each method was the appropriate choice under the given circumstances. The question is not whether circular motion is superior to linear motion or whether all methods are equally valid; it is a question of which method is most appropriate for the situation at hand. The young carpenter knew that under each set of circumstances, the best technique to use was the one one that got the job done and pleased the foreman.

A second moral is represented by the attitudes of the two foremen in contrast to the attitude of the young carpenter. The attitudes of the foremen could be considered rigid and close-minded. Rather than embracing the young carpenter’s ability to satisfactorily perform a task in a unique manner and taking the opportunity to absorb such knowledge, each of the foremen, being stuck in their own paradigm of what was correct, forced the young carpenter to conform to their methods, thereby losing the opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. In contrast, the young carpenter remained flexible and open-minded, and was able to adapt and succeed in each circumstance.

Unfortunately, many instructors have attitudes similar to those of the foremen. They think their style or curriculum is superior to all others. Such close-mindedness hampers their growth and the growth and potential of their students. Even though most instructors pride themselves on being adaptive and progressive, many may display much obstinacy and stagnation.

Even though the attitudes of the foremen at first appear rigid and shortsighted, they were not completely wrong in insisting that the young carpenter use their methods. A foreman’s job is to supervise workers and enforce standards and procedures. Having more knowledge and experience than the young carpenter, the foremen were correct in insisting that he use those methods that they knew from experience would produce the desired results. It is only by such insistence that the foremen could insure that the end product met the desired standard of quality since any deviation from standard procedures or methods might potentially effect the end result.

Instructors insist that their students perform a technique in a particular manner. It is not that there is no value in other variations in a technique; it is that, to insure student’s have a solid knowledge of the art being taught, instructors must insist on proper, proven techniques. There is a time to be open to the ideas of students or other instructors and to learn from them, but there is also a time to be insistent and to teach the art as it exists.

Even when instructors are open-minded, they must also understand that there are some absolutes. Sometimes techniques and theories are wrong. Instructors should not blindly accept everything as true, even when the information comes from their own masters.

What lessons may be learned from this parable:

  • My way or your way or his way may not be the only way or even the correct way. Only the unique circumstances of a particular moment in combat may determine which way is correct.

  • We should all try to stay inquisitive, adaptive, and open to new knowledge and new possibilities.

  • We should seek wisdom, learn to recognize it, and work to obtain it and impart it.

Remember that the nail, once set, will not move or adapt. The hammer, being mobile, may adjust and correct the course of the nail to ensure it holds true. There is a time to be a nail and a time to be a hammer; a time to be a student and a time to be a teacher.

Words of wisdom

A student came to a Master, full of himself and his potential. The Master invited him to share a cup of tea. As the Master poured the tea, it overflowed. The novice cried out to stop! The cup was already full. The Master replied that the student too, must empty himself in order to be filled with knowledge.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Challenges abound when you're taking martial arts. There are people who will ask you frequently (as happens at my office), "WHY are you taking martial arts?!" They obviously don't understand the passion there, or the reasons behind it.
I joined martial arts after taking my daughter to a class. She wasn't interested in the class at the time because she "felt funny with all the bowing", but I found myself drawn to it. I tried two classes and that was it. I found my niche.
That was back in 2004.

I was told that I had "tried to quit" a number of times, which I truly don't remember. I stuck it out, even after several people left. I thought I wanted to teach, to help people learn what I knew. I signed up for a "CIT" or Certified Instructor Training class when I reached Cho Dan Bo. I attended many classes, assisted with the Little Ninjas class and felt that I was doing okay.
I kept working toward my black belt, which I subsequently earned.
After my belt, things still were working out in my favor, or so I thought. I continued on my path toward "leadership". I helped out more with the LN class, until it was "mainstreamed" and became part of the "white belt class". I continued to try to maintain a positive attitude, despite all the changes that were taking place.

In July, 2008, I made a decision that was not easy. I left the school I'd been attending since 2004, the one I earned my belt in. I had suddenly felt that I was going nowhere...I wasn't teaching anything, I wasn't allowed to teach when I was supposed to teach. Classes weren't the same. I won't say they were bad, but they were different.

I wanted to continue taking martial arts. I felt that it was something I was drawn to. I looked into a Taekwondo school, but didn't feel it was for me. I didn't want to change my discipline. I wanted to stay with Tang Soo Do.
I spoke to the head of my then Federation, who gave me a recommendation of what to look for. Then I went to a school I'd been referred to. I communicated with the owner of that school, attended several trial classes and felt that I was where I needed to be.

I still feel that I need to be there, but now I'm questioning myself. I have this really bad habit of questioning what I'm doing and second guessing myself. When I was at the other place, I earned a belt. I second guess myself on whether or not the belt was deserved. I am working oh so much harder than I ever did and yet, I feel that I'm floundering. You can see the differences in the schools. The quality of instruction is extremely high. I need to stop comparing myself to the people I train with. I am me and not them. I came from a different tradition, even though it is still TSD. I know this and yet, in my own eyes, I am second guessing. I find myself questioning WHY I am doing things, but then I ask, "why am I still doing martial arts? I earned a black belt. Shouldn't I let that be an achievement in and of itself?" The answer to that question, in my heart, is NO. I love martial arts. I like the "high" I feel when I work out. I may not be the smallest person in my class. I'm like 75+ pounds overweight. I have to make concessions in my training. I just have to work out the self doubt and get my butt into each and every class and then just work as hard as I can.

Even if the people I work with don't understand WHY I am taking classes, I understand. Well, okay, I THINK I understand! I'm not out to be a grand champion cage fighter or anything like that. I'm just out to be the best I can be. I've seen my self esteem grow in the past four or five years. I'm now volunteering for extra responsibility at work and in my own personal life.
THAT is why I am taking classes. I'm doing it for me. There's a side effect and it's a positive one. I am learning self defense at the same time. It may not show, and just because one man in my company can reach out and intimidate me (he's bigger than me and uses that to his advantage), it doesn't mean that my classes are for nothing. I just have to address his sarcasm and his disbelief and then channel it to my advantage.

The question isn't "WHY are you taking it?" The question should be, "What are you taking out of it?"

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I need...

In order to move ahead with my plans, I need to get myself up to speed with my vocabulary, one steps and Ho Sin Sul. As of tonight, I made an agreement with one of my fellow students to practice my terminology. If I am supposed to know the Korean for things like two handed low x-blocks, etc, I need to get busy and practice. The best way to practice is to get together with another student who is near my level and practice. I SHOULD be working with the other Dans but I feel stupid for asking. There is no harm in asking, as I was reminded during class tonight. I didn't know a technique (gasp!!) and didn't ask, so I looked really stupid in my own eyes. I have an inflated sense of what level I should be working at. Granted, I'm not at that level, but I feel like I need to get off my butt and get to that level. I could be setting myself up for failure, but we shall see. At least I'm setting myself a goal that I think I can reach.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Gup test

I went to the first of several gup tests I plan on attending at the dojang yesterday. I really was impressed by the way the test was run. They didn't put everyone who was testing up on the floor all at once. Instead, they had the groups marked out into groups. They were either out running or they were in the room, waiting their turn to get out onto the floor and demonstrate their abilities to do the forms, one steps, Ho Sin Sul, etc. It was refreshing to see these people work because they were not automatically guaranteed a place in that test. They invite people who have demonstrated their abilities in class to the test.

It was a nice thing to see how they handled the examinations. Each of the Dans had a specific student in any given group to watch during the test. Each Dan called his or her student up and they lined up depending on where they were supposed to be. This was a big change from the last test I attended at the old school. There, there wasn't this separation. They had everyone in one room and the senior black belts were responsible for many students. It was a confusing (in my mind) thing. Here, it was good to see how they paid close attention to their student/examinee.

One of my friends has a son who is attending this school. We both came from the other place. She and I discussed it and we agreed that this was a testament to the quality of the instructors they have. Her son looked 300% better at this test than he did at this time last year, when he attended his Dan test. He decided to start over, but believe me, he's a smart kid and will pick up the Korean a whole lot faster than I will. I told him that I thought he'd done very well. I don't know who his examiner was, but I personally think he gave more to this test than he had given last year and it shows.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Changed mindset

I'm in a pretty good mood today. I went to class last night and worked really hard. We worked on technique, which I can appreciate because I can see what I need to do to improve myself. I've decided that I am going to class not to compare myself with anyone else but to compare myself to myself from a year ago. I'm the only one I can compare to because I know where I was this time last year and where I am now.
Physically, I'm in worse shape than I was, especially as I haven't really been working out. Mentally, probably about the same, but again, maybe slightly better. Not overly sure of that. I know I have to stop comparing myself to other people. I'm going to work on that. I am enjoying my classes for the first time in a long time. I haven't felt so positive about my martial arts since I was working toward my black belt. I'm not working as hard as I was then, but...I do feel that I'm getting somewhere because I can SEE the changes.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

One steps and Ho Sin Sul

I really am enjoying myself again.  I've made two classes this week and they were wonderful!
Tonight was a continuation of the One Steps and Ho Sin Sul we were working on Tuesday night.  Tonight we picked up with Ho Sin Sul 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and One Steps 4, 5, 6. It was an eye opening evening.  I got to work with Ms. Mad.  She taught me a lot of things.  One of the things we worked on was judging our distances.  For example...Ms. Mad is taller than me by several inches.  She has to scoot backwards to get a good range for a kick.  Otherwise, if she's close to me, she'll be able to throw a punch, but she'll be squished up if she tries to kick me at that distance.
I have to pivot in order to be able to execute a good back kick for one of the one steps.  
I found a lot of correlation between the one steps and some of the forms.  One of the Ho Sin Sul that we were doing involved a bear hug as an attack.  To get out of that, you do a quick backwards hip thrust, drop into a horseriding stance (straight down) and raise your arms to break the attacker's grasp.  Then you give the attacker an elbow to the ribs, shuffle to the side and perform another elbow to the ribs while simultaneously punching with the opposite hand on the same side.  If you think about the ending of Pyung ahn Sah Dan, where you simultaneously elbow and punch, then jump and reverse your elbow/punch combination, you'll see what I'm talking about.

I probably couldn't have picked a better time to return to classes.  I got a LOT out of them.  I'm still focusing on the "I will do my best" and "I will put forth 100% effort in my learning" during the Muk Nyum because it'll help me leave the chaff from my day behind.   I feel great for having gone to class.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One goal met 2/18

I'm happy. I made my very first mini-goal tonight. I went to class, as I said I would! I feel incredible right now. I'm going to be sore, but I don't care. It will be a grand sore! I feel like I haven't left. In fact, I think I actually opened my eyes, ears and mind! I paid attention to what was being taught. I made sure I attempted anything and everything that was requested of me. I didn't give up. YAY for that!!

Tonight's class was one steps and Ho Sin Sul. First thing was a really intense warm up by Ms. M. We did some lunges that were "wood choppers". You step out into a lunge, then make a "chopping" movement on either side of your body, very much like you're swinging an axe. We also did lunges and did twists from side to side as well. There was also a kicking drill where you did a front kick, side kick, back kick and a round house kick, without putting the kicking foot down. That will definitely work your balance! I didn't manage to keep my foot off the ground, but...I'll get there.

After the warm ups (there were more but I'll get that written down later), we progressed into our one steps and Ho Sin Sul. I don't know why I have let myself be intimidated by the one steps. It wasn't hard. It was a lot of fun and as long as you pay attention to the technique, it's easy to do. I got to work with my friend, Ms. S. She attacked, I attacked. The drills were to do each of the one steps three times on each side, alternating right side/left side. That way, you get a good feel for how different the movement is for either side. It also helps you master the technique on your "off" leg. We did 1-6, then switched to our Ho Sin Sul. We only made it up to #3, but thanks to my working with the L's, I feel like I had a decent idea of how those worked. I just have to remember to move my hand out of the way on #2 or it WILL get kicked! (big grin and laugh!)

Notes from class: front kicks are good. Roundhouse kicks are NOT done with the top of the foot. Instead, if the kick lands on the ball of the foot and you pull your toes back, you will get your kick landed properly and you'll not break a toe or catch it on an opponent.

Looking forward to Thursday.

Happy Happy!

I am extremely excited today. I have been sitting here, annoying my co-workers, talking about class. I'm really happy that I'm going to class tonight. I may have forgotten a lot, but I'm not going to let that stop me. I have been reviewing my book (Tang Soo Do by Grandmaster Kang Uk Lee) and am going to make the best out of whatever happens tonight. I'm really excited. I haven't felt this "bouncy" in a while now.
I showed the guy on the other side of the wall bits of two forms, so they're kind of still in my head (yay!!). I just have to keep myself focused on the fact that I AM going to do this. I will do well, regardless of what happens tonight. They'll either have mercy on me or they'll work me over. Either way, it's a win-win situation!

I haven't done my Ho Sin Sul and I haven't done anything with the one steps in forever, so I have to re-learn those.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

New goals

I'm a whiner. I have been whining and wailing and lamenting my weight gain, my lack of training, etc. I am tired of whining. I've talked to two people I greatly respect and am going to get off my rear and do something about it. I was talking to one friend about being bummed that I wasn't where I thought I should be. We've already established that I'm not ready to test for any sort of a belt. I am going to have to stop comparing myself to people I know who are testing or who have tested. They're at different levels of fitness than I am. I have to get myself into some semblence of shape and strengthen myself up and THEN I'll get to the point where I can go up before the heads of our school and if they think I'm good enough, they'll pre-test me. Instead of setting a date for that, I'm going to let the chips fall as they will.

I have set a new goal. I'm going to set myself the goal of getting fitter and healthier. I'm going to get myself into better shape by my birthday. A short-term goal is in order too, and I'm writing it down now. I plan on attending at least 11 classes by April. I say 11 because I have to attend meetings for Cub Scouts and they take place on the first Thursday of the month and the third or last Tuesday of the month. Cubs will be at a down-swing by May and I WILL be making more classes by then. I am a den leader, which my instructor knows. It's my responsibility to get the notes from class from people in class. It's my responsibility to train when I'm not in class. Obviously I am NOT doing that very well (not if I've gained 20 pounds, but that'll be changing soon!).

My first, very short term goal is February 17. I am going to walk into class and I'm going to participate in that class. On February 19th, I will walk into my second class and I will participate. I will most likely leave both of those classes wringing wet, tired and feeling either elated or discouraged. I can't let myself get discouraged by it. I know that I have to work harder than ever because I've gotten soft and "saggy". I have a LOT of re-conditioning to do.

I need to start today.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Karate pick me up

I received a lovely email today, encouraging me to stay the course. I had sent a rather whiny email to her and she responded by telling me not to give up, to get together with my instructor and let him know what was going on. In other words, she gave me another kick in the butt. I got one earlier in the week from yet another friend, who told me to make the commitment and stick with it. I'd been whining to (at?!) him about feeling like a loser with a capital L and he said pretty much, "YOU are the only one who can do anything about what you want to do. You can't expect other people to do what only you can do. Don't sit and cry into your drink because you're not living up to your expectations. Either lower your expectations or get off your behind and get on with your life." Pretty uplifting, both of them. Add that to another email from someone keeping me in the loop when she doesn't necessarily have to and I'm feeling better about things.

All of these things have one major thing in common...the emails are all from people at BTK. They care. That says a whole lot for my choice of schools.
Now all I have to do is to get my rear in gear and get to classes. Ms. M told me NOT to give up, Mr. L has told me not to give up and Ms. S also has said so.

Why am I such a hard headed person? I've been staying out of classes because of finances, because I've gained weight and because I feel inadequate. Nobody there is making me feel bad about that. They're all encouraging and are telling me to get to class. Mr. L went so far as to loan me a book and will answer my emails with a no-nonsense, "stop your whining!" email. I feel very encouraged.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Attitude and Action

Attitude Drives Action-Action Drives Results
Great Attitude=>Great Action=>Great Results=>Great Lifestyle!

If you want to lead a great life, you have to be ready to take great actions.
The best way to prepare yourself to take great actions is to practice having a great attitude. Say "YES" everyday to prepare yourself for Victory!
Imagine that every time you prepared for class or your workout, you said "YES" with an eager and enthusiastic attitude. Every time you enter the dojang, you said "YES, I love my Martial Arts." You would soon develop a habit that would lead to you becoming a highly conditioned Black Belt Leader & Champion...
...Habits we train are habits we gain!
Anything you do repeatedly becomes habit. Good or bad.
Here are some simple daily Black Belt Leadership Practice Tips for daily development of your positive attitude in and out of the dojang:
  • Wake up every day and say "YES", it's going to be a great day!
  • Be the first to offer a positive and polite greeting, even in the morning
  • Look for the good in yourself and and ye shall find.
  • Praise and compliment your team mates and loved ones.
  • Think of what you DO want in your life, not what you DON'T want.
  • Be happy with what you DO have, instead of with what you DON'T have.
Simple doesn't always mean easy. However, if you give these simple suggestions a try, you may begin to see that your new attitude influences others as well. YES!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

About Commitment

This was sent to me to remind me to stay committed.

How Committed Are You?
by: Curt Fletcher (The Likeability Guy)

As I think about the different choices we make and how we decide what fork to take on the road of life, Robert Frost’s “Road Less Traveled” keeps popping up in my mind. I can't seem to shake his title. And in thinking about the meaning behind his words, I began to reflect on my life.

Life is full of so many choices and so many opportunities. You hold the key to each door that you choose to open. Throughout your life, you will face with many challenges, choices, opportunities, and hardships. It’s in those moments of decision that you define your future.

When faced with a challenge, how do you respond? Do you step up, get focused and meet the challenge head on with confidence and excitement? Or do you grow cautious with anxiety over the fear of failure?

Fear of failure is the leading reason that most people settle for a life of mediocrity. The fear eats away at confidence, leaving you stripped of hope and desire. Fear of failure is something that every person has; it just may mean different things for different people. Fear of failure prevents many from attempting to improve themselves -- from applying for a new job, attempting new things, embracing change, or pursuing their dreams.

The road less traveled defines those individuals that when faced with adversity, hardship, and change, they overcame their fear of failure, and responded with courage, confidence, and charisma.

As I think back on my life, I remember always wanting to do the opposite of what everyone else was doing. If my co-workers arrived at work on time or a few minutes late, I would arrive an hour early. When nobody would volunteer for an activity, I would be the first to stand. If everyone was being negative, I would be positive.

In my teenage years, I often had to travel the longer, more difficult path to my desired destination, not because I sought that out, but because the easy road never seemed to come my way. I believe those years were the springboard for my determination to succeed.

We all face adversity and go through hard times. It is important to rise up from the moments that test our will. Stare down the anger, sadness, and frustration that you feel. Use these moments as fuel to ignite your fire to future success. It’s in the hard moments that you will gain the strength to persevere with new knowledge and experience.

So how do you gain this strength?

The answer is one simple little word that carries a big meaning and takes your maximum effort. Desire. Zig Ziglar defines desire as “the ingredient that changes the hot water of mediocrity to the steam of outstanding success.”

Desire is making an extra effort to create a small difference in a given circumstance. The extra effort creates enough small successes to generate huge success over the course of your lifetime.

Take a look around you at work. What do you see? A group full of future CEO's or a group of dazed individuals going through the motions of the day?

Many people dislike the very thought of getting out of bed to begin their day. They dread going to work and do as little work as they can to get by. Then, when they get home, they plop on the couch, watch some TV and go to bed. It's no wonder depression is at an all time high.

I challenge you to “take the road less traveled.” To be successful, you have to want it bad enough and challenge yourself to be different. Wake up each day with a positive outlook, do what other people don't want to, volunteer yourself for a difficult job task, and most of all allow yourself to dream. If you believe it, YOU can achieve it.

Curt Fletcher aka The Likeability Guy is the author of the New Real Estate Sales book, “How To Sell More Homes and Increase Your Income.” Curt has been a leader in Real Estate Sales by building relationships and providing value. He is a Sales Trainer and Speaker that focuses on Creating Relationships, Building Rapport, and Improving your Likeability to increase opportunities for success. To subscribe to Curt’s Monthly Newsletter, click here. If you want to sell more homes, click here! To contact Curt, send an email to

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Form admiration

I found this when I was looking at You Tube this afternoon. I'm always looking for good examples of forms. If I'm not mistaken, this is Jin Do, which I was supposed to have learned to earn my Ee Dan. I never properly learned it and definitely couldn't do it through to the end! I will learn it when I learn it. Right now, I'm learning the hows and whys of what I'm doing in class.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pyung Ahn Oh Dan

What IS it about this form that makes it escape my mind???? I have the hardest time remembering it, and if I want to do it from end to finish, or to the right, I need to remember HOW to do the form. Period. It's driving me a bit batty!
I couldn't sleep last night, so I reviewed forms (after having reviewed some of them physically) in my head. I KNOW my forms, but apparently I'm overthinking them or something. That irritates me. I KNOW I can do the forms. I have done the forms. What is it that's blocking me from being able to do them properly or even just remembering them?

I've had a discussion with my best friend about Pyung Ahn Oh Dan and have the review on my cell phone. We talked about it back in October and there was no reason for me to put it out of my head!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another thought provoking email

My instructor sent me another thought provoking email last week that I just picked up today. It took me pretty much all day after I initially opened it up before I read it, but I do think he was spot on, as usual.
Once a month we have Dan training at the dojang. He told me that I was more than welcome to come to training. I said, "I'll try, but I'm not sure what time I'll be finished walking, since I'm working on my 5k goal." He said that personally, he thought the Dan training would have benefited me more because I would have been working with the Dans of the dojang, and hopefully building a better relationship with them. He reminded me that I can work with Gups, but as a Dan, I have a vested interest in working with the Dans and learning what I need to learn to improve my technique, etc. As usual, CSN was extremely correct in his assessment. I'm pretty impressed with him because he's super intuitive and reads a lot of what's left unsaid or unwritten. All I can say is "wow". He did tell me that I don't have to feel afraid and that I have no reason to be afraid of attending the Dan training. Here's where my stupid thinking gets in my way again!!! GRRR!! I need to really work on my self esteem and my thinking.
Well, I am thinking that I may go ahead and sneak off to martial arts tomorrow. I was going to find the personal trainer here at the complex first and see about working with him. I may still have time to sneak off to the dojang afterwards. I won't commit myself to anything until I see what happens tomorrow.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Will there be a walk?

I missed my walk this morning. My best friend slept in and didn't go out walking with me. *I* didn't go out walking by myself because I hate being alone. If I'm going to walk, I like to have someone there to talk to. It takes my mind off how long the silly walk actually IS.
We're hoping to pick up our walk tomorrow, but there's no guarantee that it'll happen. Our temperature is supposed to be 35F in the morning. I'm not so insane that I like freezing my nose off! I may just have to wait and see what he says. If he says he can't get up (or if he doesn't call me at 9:00 am), then I'll have to break out the Wii.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back to Basics

(Please bear with me for the apparent mis-spellings and whatnot. I just had eye surgery last Saturday and am "finding" my vision again.)

Today I'm going to practice a few of my basic forms. Keechyo Hyung Il Bu comes to mind. Why am I starting with the basic instead of the advanced forms? Well, partly because I feel that to become well rounded, I need to start at the beginning and work my way back up. Besides, I haven't done forms in over a week and I'm extremely rusty. I haven't worked out at my school in two months, so I feel like I'm a slacker. That ends today.

A few months ago, after a very intense discussion with Master G, I did some soul searching and decided that no matter what, I want to continue on with my martial arts studies. I need to learn the Han Gul, the Bunkai, etc. I think that by associating with the different martial artists I'm "hanging out with" on the Internet, plus the ones I talk to here in town, I'm going to do that. I talk to the Mr. L's (there are 3 of them to talk to and learn from), to Ms. S, to Ms. Mad and Master Mac. I talk to Master G. I will learn. They may feel like they have to beat it into my head at times, but I'll "get" it. I'm already understanding a lot more than I used to.

I love my new school. I like the idea of learning a movement and being told, "you'll do this in a battle because you could be taking out a sentry (in the case of the opening of Bassai)." I love the fact that it's not a "just blindly do what I say because that's how it's done." No. I am learning to question the forms. I am learning that this is how it is because in a fight, you'd want to be able to defend yourself. This is true "Self defense". There's a guy at work who constantly belittles me for taking martial arts because he says "why are you taking it if you can't defend yourself?" Well, he has a point. He won't be able to say that to me much longer!!

Yesterday I watched a killer video from Prairie Martial Arts. I have to say that I found it informative and found the light bulbs going on again. I had another "aha!" moment. I saw a practical application for Pyung Ahn Sah Dan. I watched a version of Pyung Ahn Sam Dan, which was most excellent. I could see differences in how we do things in our school, but I also saw similarities. That was a nice thing to see. I am looking forward to going back to classes and seeing how much more I can do.

I've been cleared by my eye doctor to practice forms, so today I plan on doing most all of my forms. I will start with the basics, as I said, but I will do them the three or four different ways Mr. L and I discussed on New Years. Lefthanded, righthanded, forward, backwards. Yep. It'll be fun to do. He has a point...some of the higher forms will be most interesting when done "backwards" because remembering where the jumps fit in will be a little challenging. Since I don't quite have the hang of forwards left and forwards right, I'll just do those first.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blog of interest

Okay, I have to direct your attention to another blog that is incredible! You HAVE to go over and look at Prairie Martial Arts. It is a very cool site! He's got a wonderful video on his site about Pyung Ahn Sah Dan, which shows the Bunkai of the form perfectly!!! I was excited to see it!! I really enjoyed seeing SahDan done that way. It was really a good thing to see this morning.

I think I just learned something this morning, so I'm pleased. Now I need to find someone to work with. I'm getting all fired up again!!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Last week was the last time I practiced my Ho Sin Sul. I was working with one of my co-workers who is a Brazilian Jiujitsu student. He likes to attack my legs and tries to take me down any chance he gets. Whenever I spar with him, he always asks me why I don't get in close and do a jab/jab or jab/cross combination. I prefer to strikek and get back. It may be my training from my old school. I have to remember what Master G said--think a bit differently when you're sparring. If your opponent is a person who is tall, they may want to keep some distance between the person they're sparring and themselves. If you're sparring a shorter person, they may want to keep you close. You have to watch your opponent and make a decision on your sparring when you're working together.

The one class I went to over at the Legacy dojang was one such sparring night. I was paired with a young lady who GOT the sparring. She was very quick and kept me off balance. I thought she'd be a close figher, but then she used distance on me. If I got complacent with the distance thing, she darted in and and struck when I least expected it.

Sparring with different people is a good thing. It gives you a chance to brush up on your skills. You have to think on your feet. If you are stuck in a rut, you'll be entirely too predictable.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

One 5k down

This morning was a perfect morning for a walk. It was 60+ degrees when I left the house and went to the park to go walking. My friend was already there, so when I got there, he got out of his car and we took off walking. We didn't really check the time when we started out, but it was about an hour and ten minutes to an hour and 20 minutes for the walk. I'm guessing as I didn't time it either. Since we added in the lake lap, it was a full 5k.
We didn't run today, but as we're both getting back into the habit of walking, it was a good start. We both chatted as we walked. We talked about fitness plans, martial arts, etc. He's in better shape than I am since he has access to a fitness center at work and exercises there, but it was really nice of him to join me this morning. I told him that I plan on walking every weekend, plus I want to start walking at work too. I'm going to pack my clothes for walking on Sunday night so that I'm ready to go at work. I have a later lunch on Monday--I work 9:30 to 6:30, so I go to lunch at 1:30. That'll be a good time to get out and get a walk in. The other days, I go to lunch at 11:30. I'm going to be ready for it.

Since I've been out and walked, I feel like I've accomplished something. I set my mind to walking and I did. Now my next step is to get my time down from an hour and some to about 45 minutes or so. Even if I just walked for an hour, it'll be a bonus.

I also took the opportunity to have him grab me so that I could practice my Ho Sin Sul. I need the practice and he was there, so I got in the practice. I remembered 3 out of four of the Ho Sin Sul I did on Thursday, so I'm keeping up my plan to practice.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday meditations on martial arts

As many of you know, I left my old martial arts school in July of 2008. I wasn't happy and had a few issues that couldn't be resolved, so I left. I had a lot of angst about it and spent a lot of time agonizing over "did I make the right decision?" My former instructor tried a few times to communicate with me and I took the cowardly way out--I either let the calls go to voicemail or I didn't return calls when I said I would.

I have since moved forward and have found a new school. I am happy with that school--it was a good change for me, I believe. I do not regret my decision. It was something that was needed. I am learning my forms and am learning to ask "WHY" about the technique and the forms. It's a new challenge to me as I have to learn Korean, bunkai, Bushido Codes and other things. In many ways, I feel like I've started over again and am back at white belt, only I know the forms. I have much tweaking and adjustments to be made or I won't be able to get myself up to speed.

Yesterday I went over to a friend's house and talked about a lot of things martial arts related. We talked about Bunkai and we talked about language. We also talked about our Ho Sin Sul and one steps. I got a chance to review four of the Ho Sin Sul I would need to know as a white belt. It was a very productive afternoon for me. We talked about performing the forms in various ways--forward or "left" (because you learn it to the left), 'right hand' (opposite of how you initially learn it), "backwards to the left" and "backwards right handed".
We talked about setting goals...if you set the goal of performing a form a day, in all four ways, you'll actually learn the forms very well. It's a good thing to work on and it's something that I'm thinking will be beneficial for me.

Another thing--since I'm sidelined again this month (grrr!!), I'm going to talk to the trainer my apartment complex offers "for free". I'm going to get with him on Tuesdays and Thursdays this month and see about getting beaten into shape that way. I need the exercise and working with a trainer will be a good way to get myself back on track. I'll make sure I tell the trainer that I'm a martial artist so that he can help me focus on things I need. Upper body strength, lower body strength, cardio, etc. I truly want to get into excellent shape. Tomorrow I'm going to start my weekend out by walking a 5k. I may take the entire family with me but if they're not interested in going with me, I'll go alone. I plan on doing this every weekend. I am also going to start walking at work again. That'll be a mile a day (the route I walk is 1.9 miles round trip.). It's just a short term goal to getting healthier and happier.

I plan to return to BTK. I will have to wait until it's feasible but I WILL be there. I told my friend yesterday that when I come back, I plan on being there with the attitude of "I can do it." I WILL do it. I'm going in with the plan of being there, learning and learning well.

Now I need to go get my notebook out and practice those Ho Sin Sul we worked on yesterday. I'm going to do them every day until I get them ingrained in my head. I may show them to my friend DB tomorrow, just to show him "this is what I can do."