Friday, November 8, 2013

This Is Something Only Sammy Sosa Could Do

Moving on up to green belt has been a bit more challenging, especially in the kicking department. Travis warned me, "You will not like the jump ax kick." Understatement. Have you seen an ax kick? It's weird to begin with by bringing the one leg towards the other and then and then you have to stop mid-way and bring your foot straight down.  So for a guy who is as coordinated as a drunk baboon, a jump has been added to the mix. We did about 10 or 12 kicks on the right and then switched to the left. Second to last kick of the set ... OUCH! I pulled a muscle in my rib cage. With a kick? C'mon! This is something out of the Sammy Sosa school of injuries. In 2004, Sammy ('roid using slugger on the Cubs) pulled a rib cage muscle sneezing and had to go on the disabled list! I feel your pain Sammy.

Drunk baboons are even worse with hand techniques. There is a resisting block that requires slowly moving your arms like a windmill and then throwing one of them out in front to make the block. I looked like a marshmallow covered pretzel. The eye injury is separate story.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Another Belt Test!

It's been too long since my last post. Promises, promises ... I'll try to be better about posting more often.

We had an awesome belt test tonight at Jin Shil Martial Arts this evening. There were 30 kids who tested! My 5 year old, Andrew, tested for the first time and the girls tested to advance from blue to high blue. All did great!

I continue to set my personal record for stick-to-it-iveness, 9+ months working hard at Jin Shil. We have a great group of people in the adult class which ranges in age from 12 to  ... well, if you know how old I am then that's the top of the chart. I didn't botch anything too badly, though I got confused during my form and we had a do-over. It was funny, I'm currently the only orange belt, so I'm usually doing my form alone. During the test nearly all of us did it and it threw me for a loop, but I was much better on the do-over.

We sparred, always interesting. Dr. Shirley and I went at it first and that was fun. Then I sparred Kim, he's really very, very good, but I've been better at protecting myself lately, which is good, because I have to do a lot of that sparring Kim. I did manage to make contact ... with his eye and his contact lens popped out! Me being a recovering Catholic I felt terrible and I apologized, Kim being a pro was totally cool and appreciated the solid hit. See, it's a fun group!

The photo is me breaking a board using a side kick which is a little up the ladder in terms of difficulty versus the ax kick I used last time.

I have some other wacky stories that I'll whip up. Most involve me falling over, nearly dropping dead, or sparring Kim.

Have a great week end!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Where have I been? Sparring, working on forms, crazy with work...

I'm still going strong at Jin Shil Martial Arts. Tonight is our belt test. My girls are working on earning their blue belt and I'll be going for orange.

It's been a crazy month or so with work, renovations, and kids being home for summer that the blog has taken a back seat. Here are some highlights (or low lights) from Taekwondo:

Sparring! We've done a lot of sparring lately and we're really working on being aggressive, not shy about making contact and being ready to hit and be hit. That is me on the left. Sparring with Kim is an experience, he has done other martial art disciplines and is a strong dude. I felt brave and worked in a crescent kick. He grabbed the heal of my foot and flipped me on my back. Good times!

I didn't fair much better with Dr. Shirley. I blocked a round house kick and ended up having to ice my hand later.

Brandon is one of the younger guys in class and is a black belt. It was fun to spar with him. He is a good sport and was very encouraging in terms of being directive and making our bout an opportunity to teach me a few things. And that is the great thing about our class, we all help each other out and take the time to ensure everyone is learning and having fun.

Gotta get to work! Will post a report from the belt test this weekend and do a better job of posting more consistently.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ouch!! Times Two!!

So I hadn't been to class since the belt test and thought, "Ok I'll catch up and go two nights in a row, Thursday and Friday."

Good idea, right? If you're a masochist it was a great idea. If you're a normal person not so much. One of the things we did was to intentionally hit a board with our hands to toughen them up. We did this because Travis noted, "Skulls are hard, if you hit one you want to be ready." Hitting a board 20 or 30 times even if you try not to hit it that hard still hurts.

Yellow belts learned two new kicks, the ax kick and the front jump kick. The front jump is fun and I received a compliment from Travis for picking it up quick. But it is an intense move and the next day ... oh baby, my hammies were barking!

We also learned to do an open hand punch to the jaw which we did about 40 times on the target. When you jam your weight -- and I have some weight to jam -- into a target there is some force jolting through you!

So all three moves, hitting the board, front jump kicks and open hand punch have me sore all over today. All good, it's progress!

Check out Jin Shil Martial Arts on FaceBook!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

1 Down, 13 to Go.

Wow! So I completed my first belt test. The process was pretty intense, but I felt ready. I really ramped up my own intensity level to match the moment and that felt really good too. Great news, I didn't fall down or crack up laughing at an inappropriate time... makes for a less exciting blog. Sorry.

Overall the belt test was not intimidating. We were all prepared, encouraged each other and it mostly felt like an amped up class ... with an audience. Usually some of our kids are playing or doing homework during the teen/adult class but for the belt test there were folks watching us. However as I mentioned in a previous post, I zoned into my own world and didn't even notice them most of the time.

The white belt form, Chun-Ji, is typically led by the instructor, however Travis let us go on our own and we did really well.

The big news is we got to break some boards after the test. Both Juliana and I smashed through a wood board with our fists. Oh yeah! Breaking the boards was pretty cool. My girls, Frances and Olivia, did great on their belt tests as well and are now green belts. Also, Olivia broke a board with her fist and another with her foot.

Lastly, I'm not a big fan of working out, going to the gym, running, biking, swimming or anything that could be a considered a healthy activity. I've tried  a few things over the years hoping I'd like it or that I'd stick with it, and nothing ever stuck. But holy crap, here I am three months into Tae Kwon Do and I'm still going and I really like it. Travis and Jin Shil Martial Arts make all the difference, thank you! Thirteen belt tests to go!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Cheat Step!

We're getting ready for the belt test on Friday. This will be my first one, so I wonder if I will:
a) crack up laughing at an inappropriate time
b) fall flat on my face
c) fall flat on my back
d) all of the above

Vegas shows 7 to 4 on "d) all of the above" ... easy money!

The last few classes have been pretty intense and Travis has ramped up his intensity level as well. We did 100+ kicks in five minutes on Thursday, not that easy! Getting the forms down pat, not only making the right move at the right time, but also doing each move properly has been a bit of a challenge. I'm not at all graceful, a terrible dancer and can barely walk straight most days, so these forms are tough. Travis gave me some good tips on "staying square" and facing front for the front stance with a down block, that has helped a lot.

I find I talk to myself during the moves and having a focal point on the wall is good for concentration. I almost feel like I'm alone. For round house kicks I make sure I talk through each part of the kick as I do it, "Cheat step, chamber, kick, chamber." The bad news is I have no short term memory anymore so the trick is losing its effectiveness little by little each ... day, right, each day.

Wednesday is another forms review class and an opportunity to work on nailing down Chun-Ji.

Friday, March 22, 2013

I'm the Paddy Cake Champion of the World!

In order to learn balance and control Travis had us line up face-to-face about one foot apart from each other with hands out, palms facing each other. The idea was to push on your opponent's palm and push them off balance. Sort of like paddy cake with more purpose.

So I lined up against Travis. Little did he know that by having three small kids I've learned the art of quick hands. He caught me several times, but I got him off balance far more often. The great thing was I got to use all of my silly "Karate Kid" jokes such as "Focus Daniel-san" and, "Now the student has become the teacher." Bad news for me is this drill is hardly life-saving. So far I'm the best at the most useless Taekwondo  skill.

Next time I'll have some details on sparring girls.