Bryan's Martial Arts Journal -- 2008

Another year's journal of our journey in Soo Bahk Do with Sa Bom Nim Bannard!

Journal Entries

03 Jan 2008
05 Jan 2008
12 Jan 2008
16 Jan 2008
14 Feb 2008
01 Mar 2008
11 Mar 2008
15 Mar 2008

19 Mar 2008
29 Mar 2008
10 Apr 2008
15 Apr 2008
18 Apr 2008
24 Apr 2008
01 May 2008
03 May 2008

08 May 2008
11 May 2008
19 May 2008
09 Jun 2008
16 Jun 2008
21 Jun 2008
22 Jun 2008
24 Sep 2008

10 Oct 2008
21 Oct 2008
29 Oct 2008
30 Oct 2008
11 Nov 2008
14 Nov 2008
30 Dec 2008

03 January 2008

My 2008 journal is NOT starting out on a good note. Mr. Gailes, my TKD instructor from Vision TKD, has been arrested for statutory rape! He is accused of messing with a 15 year old girl.

YOW! This bothers me on so many levels! I'm sorry for the girl, her family, Mr. Gailes' wife! I'm even sorry for Mr. Gailes being foolish enough to get himself is such a situation!

Granted, it's very possible he's innocent, but at this point I'm having trouble thinking at all, much less positively.

05 January 2008

No updates on Mr. Gailes' story. However, I have been following the comments posted by viewers on the WRAL site. Some of these are sadly enlightening -- assuming that they're accurate.

I thought about listing some of the comments here but can't see the value in doing so. While I may be interested in re-reading this a year or three from now, I can't bring myself to do it today. But I will note that one poster who claims to be close to the situation claims that Mr. Wegmann knew about the relationship and worked to hush it up, going as far as firing Vision TKD employees who refused to go along. Then Wegmann fired Mr. Gailes when he learned that the NC SBI was investigating.

Is this true? No clue. Do I believe it? Let's say that I don't find it out of the realm of possibility.

This explains why Mr. Gailes was fired from Vision TKD in February 2007. It may also explain why Darryl Clark was fired shortly thereafter. Please note this is not a known fact, just a conjecture on my part.

In any case I'd like to kick Joe in the butt for being foolish enough to get into such a situation and screw up his life! I'm still feeling sick about this.

Side note: Last May I reported that Darryl Clark was joining Bannard Soo Bahk Do. He attended a couple of classes then never showed up again. Efforts to contact him failed. SBN Bannard and I believe he was looking for employment as an instructor and realized quickly that he couldn't immediately begin teaching.

12 January 2008

We have a new student in class. Aaron was a black belt in some flavor of TKD ... 10 years ago. Given his apparent age he was probably 9 to 11 at the time. He hasn't trained in a dojang since, but works out on his own. Given the way he's picking up SBD he has been training diligently. He's a great addition to the class.

In re-reading my journal for 2007 it's somewhat amazing the number of students who have come and gone. The idea that of 10 white belts one will earn their Dan is quite accurate! Our school has had a LOT of people start and few continue more than a few belts worth of training.

16 January 2008

Last night's class started out with huri work. We stressed the hip, starting with typical techniques and moving into VERY long sequences. This got somewhat confusing -- even Eric (Mr. Memorization) got confused at some point. But it was interesting and we worked the huri in ways different from what we've done in the past.

Then we shifted into free sparring, working with just about everyone in class. Working with Maria or SBN Bannard is a workout -- working with the juniors is an exercise in moderation, control, and teaching skills.

But that's not a bad thing -- it's yet another Dan lesson. Working with juniors (both rank and/or age) requires moderation and control -- if I over power them (literally or figuratively) it provides them with no lesson and can make for an unhappy time. If we work together to improve their skills they learn something, have fun, and give me a chance to practice my defenses and some counterstrikes. It also gives me the opportunity to show off a bit without being too much of a jerk. :-)

Working with Jim and Elizabeth I was able to help them improve, giving them new things to think about. Both listen and absorb what I'm able to give them. It's gratifying to work with people who want to learn and improve.

Then SBN had the colored belts clear the floor. It appeared that he was going to have Maria & I spar in front of the others, but the lesson proved different. He had us stand back-to-back, with 3 opponents each. The goal was to defend ourselves while protecting each other's backs.

This was an excellent exercise! When we used good SBD blocking, with elbows crossed, protecting the body and head, we did better. It really demonstrated the value of our defensive posture.

But the kids made it difficult. Eric kept body slamming me, so I kept pushing him away rather than defending against strikes. On the third push he flung himself across the room and hit a wall. Immediately after Marshall did the same thing. SBN thought I'd pushed them too hard, but it definitely wasn't me! Once we got the kids to just kick and punch things improved dramatically.

Then we switched -- I took Maria's three and she took mine. Vivi and Patrick did a bit better in their attacks, but it was still a difficult exercise, although definitely a good one!

This is good training -- at our next testing Maria and I need to defend against multiple attackers. We've got 1-1/2 years remaining to learn ...

14 February 2008

In the past few weeks SBN Bannard has been working us with pads. First thing we did was have all students except one get a pad (body shield or 2 hand targets) and form a circle. The remaining student stood in the middle and had to work against multiple attackers, using whatever technique appeared appropriate for the pad position.

This is quite the workout! A minute of this is a lot!

While Eric's technique is typically superior to most of the people around him, Patrick showed a flair for this type of activity. He's even going as far as splitting energy (front and back)! He does that better than I do and he's 2nd Gup.

This type of training is critical to real self defense. While the pre-programmed sequences (hyung, il soo sik, ho sin sool)have their important purposes this requires thinking on our feet, reacting to what is around us and reacting well.

01 March 2008

I stepped on the scale the other day -- my weight is up to 256 lbs.

This has forced me to accept something I've been avoiding for a number of years -- just working out doesn't control weight.

I've held my weight in the mid-240's for a number of years. This is not good, I've been far to heavy. It's definitely affected my martial arts performance -- jump kicks are hard, and recently they're getting harder! So I accept that I need to do something about it.

So far I've resisted fad diets and extreme programs. They either don't work or they're bad for the human body.

Sa Bom Nim has talked to me a few times about Isagenix, a detox program with excellent weight loss ability. I've resisted, partially due to price, but a recent conversation with my friend John surprised me. He and his wife started Isagenix last August and he lost 30 lbs in 2 months! More importantly he's kept it off!

The internal debate has been raging, but I've made my decision -- I'm going to try Isagenix! I'm ordering the first 30 day program and will see how it goes!

11 March 2008

Today is Day 1 -- I received my package from Isagenix yesterday and to day is it!

Here's the program -- I drink two shakes as meal replacements each day, and each one sensible, balanced, nutritious meal. And I'm allowed nutritious, low calorie snacks in between meals. All told it's about 1,000 calories per day.

The shakes are loaded with vitamins and minerals. In addition I take a liquid vitamin in the morning, a metabolism booster twice a day, and a supplement that strengthens the colon and digestive track in the evening.

That's 6 days each week. On the 7th (my day is Sunday) I don't eat. Instead I drink 4 oz of a supplement every 4 hours and eat chocolate snack wafers in between. All told this is about 400 calories, and it's called a "Cleanse Day". On Sunday I'll report how this part goes.

Oh, yeah -- I'm required to do 20 minutes of light exercise each day and drink LOTS of water.

I'm not going to list my full measurements here, but my initial weight is 256.

15 March 2008

This is the end of my first Cleanse day. It worked out better than expected. The low calorie day hasn't been a problem -- I'm drinking my supplement and eating my wafers on plan.

The headache is mostly gone. The first week or so most people experience a headache. SBN says it's from the detox. For some it's also caffeine withdrawal, since we're supposed to cut caffeine way down. This proved ok for me.

19 March 2008

Day 8: I've lost 13 lbs in 8 days! YOW! Granted, a fair amount of this is "water weight" (which is funny considering how much water I drink) but it's nice. I also lost 1" off my upper chest!

29 March 2008

Day 18: Another measurement day. I lost another 3 lbs. While this is anti-climatic compared to the initial loss, it's still in the right direction. I also lost another 1/2" off the upper chest, and a total of 3/4" off the waist.

10 April 2008

Day 30: The end of the first 30 day program! My results are great! I lost 2" off my upper chest, 1" off my waist, and a total of 24 lbs off my weight! YAYYY!

I'm in for a long haul. My original goal was 200 lbs ... but I've revised that ... down. I'm shooting for 180! Yeah, it's not going to be easy. At 3 lbs/week I'm looking at wrapping up the weight loss program in September ... and at 2 lbs/week it will be November.

15 April 2008

Sean has returned to class! SBN's son Sean stopped training last year, losing interest in SBD. But now he's returned!

This is making class better -- he's got great energy and he's more focused than he ever has been.

Also good -- my friend John and his son Matthew tried SBN. John really liked it and his wife is interested in joining. That makes for more fun!

18 April 2008

I did something tonight I never thought I'd do. I executed a double jump front kick!

At my next testing I have to do one of two breaks: 1) simultaneous front punch and back kick, or 2) simultaneous double jump front kick. I didn't honestly think I could do the double front kick.

During a 2-on-1 sparring exercise I tried the double kick against Sean and Maria, and actually got to abdomen height from a standing jump (no preliminary step)! That TRULY surprised me. After class Sean and I practiced a bit -- I got the same height on a standing jump against 2 pads, and a bit higher with a step!

Granted -- power was not sufficient to break and it needs to be higher, but with my weight loss and a year's practice, this is possible!

While I think the punch/back kick combo is more technically difficult, the double jump kick is my personal nemesis, so that's what I want to do. It is going to be a reality!

24 April 2008

Day 44: Going forward with the plan I don't see any need to stick with the Day 1/8/12/30 measurements. I considered checking every 10, 15, or 30, but have decided to check measurements every 14.

Why? It's easier to schedule -- I automatically check every other Thursday.

The past 2 weeks have demonstrated more gains! I've lost another inch off my chest, down a total of 3". I've lost 3" off my waist and 4" off my butt/hips! My weight is down to 227, a total lost of 29 lbs in 6 weeks!

01 May 2008

I go in for surgery in a few hours ... the anticipation is the hard part.

The surgery? I have a fistula (tunnel) in my butt, connecting to the colon. It's a result of a peri-anal abscess I had 5 or 6 years ago, and it's been getting infected periodically. I didn't realize exactly what it was, but I've been having problems with the external site bleeding since December. Went to my regular doctor about a month ago, he referred me to a specialist. The specialist spent all of about 2 minutes examining me -- being a specialist he does this all the time so he knew exactly what we're dealing with.

The surgery is minor -- outpatient, but I have to go under general anesthesia. Apparently it would be too difficult to do it under local. In a few hours I'll know. :-)

I expect to be out of training next week. The doctor said the pain would be my guide as to what I can do. So I'm expecting to teach, just not demonstrate. We'll see ...

03 May 2008

Surgery went well -- the anesthesiologist used a strong sedative and a spinal block to prepare me. I've got a tight throat and he thought that would be my best choice. It was funny, I was in the operating room, talking to the nurses as they prepped me. I blinked and I'm in a recovery area and I can't feel my butt. And I do mean literally -- I was completely numb from the waist down!

It took about an hour to get feeling back in my legs. I was laying there and felt something squeeze my right calf. Checked under the sheet -- there's a cuff that periodically squeezes my calf, to keep the circulation going.

About 10 minutes later I felt my left leg get the same squeeze. I had wondered why they only did the right ... but they didn't -- feeling comes back in a disjointed fashion. It was really weird! :-)

It felt like I was sitting on 4 inches of rubber padding ... as the feeling returned I realized that it was my butt and there was no padding! [Well, I'll be kind to myself and not refer to the blubber on my butt as "padding" ... ]

The nurses tried to get me on my feet -- too soon, no way to keep my balance. So I laid down again for another 30 minutes. This time it worked!

I embarrassed the hell out of Lorraine! The one nurse was in front of me and we were holding hands while I got my balance. Being my silly self I shifted grip to a ballroom dancing position and asked her to lead! ROFL!

Bladder is the last thing to wake back up and they wouldn't release me until I peed. Gotta admit I'm not used to having help with this particular function with a minimum of embarrassment ... but got it done. They let me go and I was glad to get home.

I was prescribed Percocet for the pain. That's strong stuff -- never liked narcotics. Not the fear of addiction, but the way it makes me feel. I took 2 as soon as I got home -- pain management works best if the medicine is taken before it really starts to hurt! Needless to say I was feeling no pain. Took another couple before bed, and started in as soon as I woke up (rather sore!).

Friday I was on the narcotic all day, but around 4PM I started feeling *really* weird. A bit nauseous and very light headed. Ok, time to stop the narcotics! I took one at bed time and one this morning, but am discontinuing it. So far (it's now 8PM) the pain is constant but relatively minor. Nothing I can't life with. If I need to I can start using ibuprofen, which was forbidden in the first 48 hours after the surgery because it's a blood thinner and may promote bleeding.

08 May 2008

Apparently I heal too fast. Monday night the incision site swelled up and started to hurt -- it was worse Tuesday morning. Called the doctor and they had me come in. Turns out the skin was forming too quickly and it was trapping fluids (hence the swelling and subsequent pain). Doctor opened it up and both reduced immediately.

This drains a LOT! Rather gross and doesn't smell too good. I take a bath in hot water twice each day, which cleans out any residue and promotes healing (heat increases blood flow). I'm wearing maxi pads to absorb the drainage -- it's a rather interesting feeling ...

Last Saturday was my birthday. Funny that I didn't write about it. We went out for dinner to Longhorn Steakhouse -- had my favorite -- medium rare filet! Great stuff! I'm hard to buy for, but Lorraine and the boys went with my thought -- bought me another model rocket. I need to start building it so we can fly it! :-)

Tuesday was an odd night -- Eric had soccer practice and no one else showed up at class. So we started at 5:50PM when we arrived and I worked him until 7:40PM! It was brutal on the poor kid!

We've been working for 1-1/2 years to eliminate old TKD bad habits but with no results. Patrick is a funny one -- he has to buy into something to work on it, and he wasn't buying into the fact that sloppy habits would guarantee a failure at his Dan testing in a year.

We spent the first HOUR working Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu. Yes, Basic Form #1. We worked on stances especially intermediate posture, targeting, crossing elbows. It was VERY frustrating for him.

Then we switched to Ki Cho Hyung Ee Bu. And instead of using what he had already learned, we started from scratch! After some rather harsh words he got with the program, and we progressed onto Ki Cho Hyung Sam Bu, Pyung Ahn Cho Dan, Pyung Ahn Sam Dan, Chil Sung Il Ro, and Chil Sung Ee Ro. In contrast to the first hour spent on one hyung, we got through all the others in less than an hour. Yes, this was hard on the boy!

It took a lot to get him thinking on the right path. Patrick looks at everything in terms of getting through it -- he didn't consider the importance of each element of each move. It was difficult to get him to understand that messing up the first part of a technique (usually shifting to an intermediate posture) messes up the entire technique.

But we got through it. His technique was great by the time we were done.

The real test? Will he perform well the NEXT time???

Turns out -- yes! Thursday night we started hyung training again. He retained most of what we worked so hard on Tuesday! I was so proud of him! I pulled him up to the front of the class for demonstration (I still can't!) and he was an excellent model for everyone!

Oh, today is Day 58 of my Isagenix weight loss program! I'm down another 4 lbs to 223! Waistline isn't any smaller, but the upper chest and hips lost a bit more. I've pulled my belt in a full 3 notches! My pants are all baggy and I have to get creative to not look sloppy! But I'm willing to deal with it! :-O

11 May 2008

Originally I was slated to see the doctor next Friday (16 May) -- I've got string inside me tying things up -- he has to remove it. After seeing how fast I heal he had me reschedule to this Wednesday (14 May). I'm still draining a lot although I think things are getting better.

I don't think I'll be training this week -- can't see it. Next week should work out just fine ...

I haven't been as focused on my weight loss program. Yes, I'm eating FAR less than I used to, and more nutritious! But I haven't stuck to the program as tightly as I should to maintain my focus.

Today is a Cleanse day. I skipped last weekend (figured after the surgery it would be too hard) and plan to make it up Wednesday. Next Sunday we're at a soccer tournament so the day will be tough -- I'm going to Cleanse on the next day, Monday. My goal going forward is to stick tightly to the program. I'm getting great results and want to keep it up!

Besides -- I'm looking forward to getting done with the program! This is hard and I can see it lasting another 2 to 4 months! Granted, I'll still need to stick with a good eating program the rest of my life ... but not quite this restrictive!

I let myself get into this state ... and it's certainly taking effort and will power to get out!

19 May 2008

Turns out the nurse misinformed me -- I got *one* of the strings out last Wednesday and the doctor tightened the remaining 2. I go back in another 1-1/2 weeks to get another string out, and 2 weeks after that to remove the last one. Draining will continue until the last one is out.

While I don't mean to get too graphic with the details, to a large extent I write this journal for myself. Some time later I'll re-read this and it will spur memories, not necessarily all good ones! :-) But memories I may have reason to remember.

The doctor was surprised that I was on narcotics for only about 1-1/2 days after the surgery. He expected longer than that, and was more surprised that I had been sporadic in taking ibuprofin. While I don't really think of myself as more tolerant to pain than others, I have dealt with prostatitus for 10 years now so constant pain is, well, sometimes a constant in my life. It may well be that I'm tougher than I think.

Tightening the strings left me in more pain. I did take 800 mg ibuprofin 3 times per day through Saturday. Yesterday I took it twice and haven't taken it at all today.

Last Thursday I surprised myself! While I didn't do a "real" workout, I did do a fair amount of demonstration. No high kicks -- I know I couldn't stand that, but some low kicks and deep-ish stances.

I paid for those -- had trouble sleeping Thursday night and was in a fair amount of additional pain all day Friday. I have an evening meeting Tuesday so I won't be in class again until Thursday. I'll take it easy and do less than I think I can. At this point I just want to get through this!

Thursday is also my next 2 week measuring mark -- I'm avoiding stepping on the scale until then. Last week I was down to 221 and am hoping for 219 or less this week! This past weekend we spent in Wilmington at Eric's soccer tournament. While I did my shakes twice a day the meals Saturday and Sunday were more than I should have eaten. Oh, well ... this doesn't hurt anything, just delays reaching my final goal! On the plus side I did an extra Cleanse day (last Wednesday) to make up for the one I skipped after surgery, and I'm doing one today (traveling made it too difficult yesterday).

Also on the plus side -- Patrick has REALLY taken to heart the sessions we had recently. His techniques have been consistently FAR better than in the last 1-1/2 years! I told him that while he can't do it because of the requirement for 12 months in rank, if he continues as he has been he will be ready to test for 1st Dan this fall with Eric!

He's been down on himself, and with me working him so hard on technique that's understandable. It's a tough thing for me -- trying to get the proper message through to him. Patrick is funny -- he has his own reasons for doing things and it's difficult for me to put things into the frame he needs for motivation. I'm still not sure what did it, but he and I are now working together to improve his technique. And more importantly, Patrick is enjoying things more!

09 June 2008

Hallelujah! The last two strings fell out Saturday morning!

It's sad how happy that made me! I have a check up with the doctor Friday -- not sure if that is the last one or not. Find out then ...

16 June 2008

I did full workouts last week, for the first time in over a month. It felt good -- I was charged. Maybe too charged, as the lower ranks looked a bit peaked after the warmups Tuesday! :-)

I've got Na Hanji Ee Dan memorized. LOT of work to do in cleaning it up, but I know the sequence. Maria and I worked on it a bit last week and I've been practicing it in spare moments. When Sa Bom Nim gets back from his vacation I'll find out how poorly I perform it ... ;-O

Last Wednesday I swam for the first time. Prior to that I had not, as I had an open wound. It's still not 100% healed, but it's sealed so I'm OK swimming.

As part of my exercise regiment I'm swimming laps. The pool is 25 yards wide so each lap is 50 yards. Wednesday I did 6 ... and felt like I ran a marathon! Friday I swam 10, Saturday morning 13, and tonight 20! Yes! That's 1,000 yards total!

To be fair, I didn't swim them all consecutively. Tonight I did the first 3 laps continuously, took a brief break and swam another 3. Another break and 4 more. And so on. At 17 I was beat so I played catch with Eric using a water ball (basically a soggy bean bag). After 15 minutes of that I decided to get out of the water ... and decided I was going to do 20, so I did the last 3.

When I got out of the water my legs were rubbery. I stressed myself a bit, but that's probably a good thing in the long run. And I recovered after dripping for 10 minutes, felt fine. Three hours later? I'm ready to crash!

21 June 2008

Last night I did 21 laps! That was 3 sets of 3 followed by 2 sets of 6! My goals for the remainder of the summer are to 1) slowly increase the number of laps I do each time, and 2) increase the size of my sets.

What does this have to do with martial arts?

Everything! While this journal focuses on my travels through the martial arts, that trip includes a lot of side trips. Good health and fitness are all parts of the bigger picture, so I'm including it all.

22 June 2008

Earlier this evening I did 18 laps at the pool. Got to the 7-1/2 mark and there was a medical emergency -- an 8 yo girl was in some type of distress (no clue what) so the pool was closed down until she was treated and transported in an ambulance.

After the pool re-opened I completed my 18th lap (actually 18-1/2, but who's counting?) when it thundered! At first I was irritated as I was planning on going for 24 laps, but given that it was a Cleanse day I did enough exertion! Even if I was forced to quit short of the goal it was still a significant workout. Oh -- I'm now working on ALL sets of 6, so my stamina is ramping up!

Earlier, before the pool Patrick, Eric, & I worked on Il Soo Sik. Last Thursday Eric complained he was having trouble remembering them so we spent over an hour today working them. He tried to tell me that he had them all remembered, but it was still good practice!

In working through the Il Soo Sik we identified a LOT of places the boys need work. Things as simple as stepping back into Ha Dan Mahkee properly (as attacker) and being a good attacker needed work. Then a lot of "minor" things needed cleaning up, such as executing a good outside-inside kick in Chil/Pahl Bon while maintaining control, balance, and being prepared to execute a good Yup Podo Chagi. We didn't get through all of 'em but did make it through to Ship Il Bon.

While it was excellent practice for the boys, it was also good for me as it made me think through all the moves carefully, analyzing what they were doing wrong, and coming up with a good way to explain -- in terms that make sense to them -- how to do the move correctly. Yeah, it was a good day!

24 September 2008

I've been a real bad boy! Haven't updated my journal in *3* months! Let's hope I can do better during the remainder of this year.

Where to start? Well, I had a major life changing event occur on 01 August 2008. I was laid off at work. CIBER (my former employer) was unable to keep a project manager engaged in this area. Yeah, I was offered the chance to go to Alaska for 3 months ... but decided to pass, knowing that I'd get "shot" if I didn't take it.

I considered going ... but the story I got every time we talked about it was different. Not that I'm accusing Darryl, the local staffing manager, of lying to me. I believe he was relaying what he was told. IMO the project had major problems and I still have doubts that the assignment would last only 3 months. Two months later I still have no regrets about turning it down.

I've been job hunting intently had some interviews, most recent one last Monday, a VERY positive one. In the mean time I've been enjoying my time off, doing little things like walking Patrick to the bus stop, taking yoga classes at the YMCA, and bowling with Lorraine. If I could figure out how to get paid for living the life of leisure things would be wonderful! :-)

My training has continued. Recently SBN has been having the entire class working on speed drill. He says that *he* isn't fast, but to me his reactions are greased lightning. I'm now noticing that MY reactions are faster -- not greased lightning, but significantly faster than I was a year ago.

Eric was going to test for 1st Dan this fall, but my lack of employment means that such discretionary funds are lacking. So Patrick, Eric, and I will be testing in April along with Maria. This will produce a hurt on my wallet all at once ... and will also be the largest group SBN has ever sent to a Dan testing.

Eric is really bummed -- he was banking on earning his Dan this fall. But he understands the situation (well, as much as any 12 yo can) and he's as ok with it as he can be. I think he's a bit excited about the 3 of us testing together in the spring ...

10 October 2008

I had a rather unpleasant occurrence tonight. We worked on take-downs tonight; one requires grabbing the opponent's dobak and pulling while sliding their front leg out. Working with Maria I did as I always do, grabbing her dobak at the "V" where the panels cross above the heart. I intentionally grab both sides of the material so I don't yank the dobak open. Yes, she's got something on underneath the dobak, but I'd rather not yank it open.

When I grabbed it felt like I got a LOT more than the dobak. YIKES! I immediately let go and probably turned red.

I'm not easily embarrassed. Some people think I can't be embarrassed. But that's not true. Tonight I was utterly mortified.

Fortunately it appears the material was bunched up strangely so I didn't grab anything I didn't intend to. I think Maria was amused at my discomfiture, but since having a breast yanked hard hurts a LOT I believe she wasn't sparing my feelings when she said I didn't grab anything more than I should have.

I've read stories of how many of the teachers of years ago refused to train women. While I always thought it had to do with sexism, I now wonder if it had more to do with fear and embarrassment. I can see how any instructor who cared for his reputation would be concerned about working closely with women, and given the sexism prevalent in previous eras? Yeah, it makes sense.

This incident doesn't change my attitude about working with women, but it may have improved my awareness of knowing exactly what I'm doing ...

21 October 2008

SBN kicked our butts tonight. We had hard training including lots of sparring. Then he had Maria, Pascal, & I work 2-on-1 sparring, changing who was the "1" every minute or two. When we were done we were dripping sweat!

Then it got ugly. We lined up in 2 lines and stepped into a horse stance. Everyone except Maria & I did horse punches for 30 seconds.

Part of the Chodan test is In Eh, Endurance testing. The requirement is 120 horse punches, using good huri, in 30 seconds. This part of class was preparation for Eric & Patrick for testing in the spring. [Besides, it's good training for everyone!]

Then Maria & I did our In Eh ... 30 seconds of front kicking with one leg followed by 30 seconds with the other ...

I managed 44 kicks with my right leg and 41 with my left, which was about twice what I expected. With both legs I did good until about the 3rd kick from last, when my leg gave out and I could barely kick. But the huri was there for all preceding kicks, and I did a LOT more than I expected, so come next Spring I'll be good! [Although I don't know how many kicks are expected ...]

Maria & I spoke after class. She looked like I felt, which isn't a nice thing to say to or about a woman. :-) That class took a LOT out of both of us, and neither of us are spring chickens. I know she felt a bit discouraged, the training beat us both up. I took the time this evening to write her an encouraging email. We both have what it takes to earn Eedan, but I'll admit that after class tonight I had my momentary doubts.

29 October 2008

Sa Bom Nim Bannard has spoken numerous times of the Kodanja, the 8 Day Testing that is required for promotion to 4th Dan and above. He's a 6th Dan, meaning he's survived this horror 3 times.

SBN has spoken of how hard the Kodanja is. It's not all physical training, there's writing a group paper, lots of mental training, etc. It's 16 hours a day for 8 day ...

It's supposedly like a boot camp, a shared hardship that makes or breaks the participants. SBN has said that while tempers flare, the hardship forges bonds that last a lifetime.

Not that our classes of recent weeks are anything like the Kodanja, but I can see where the shared hardship of our classes brings the students together. Maria's reply to my email of last week let me know that my words helped, and offered encouragement back to me. THIS is what will get us successfully through the testing next spring and through the ones that will follow.

30 October 2008

Tonight's class was interesting. We did things we had not done before, some of which is actually advanced material. We started by getting a folding chair each. This we've done before, holding the back of the chair and doing various leg exercises, kicking to the side and the back, developing our stretches.

When we thought we were done SBN led us in various arm exercises with the chair. Some of this was harder on the kids as the chairs are relatively heavy for them, but it demonstrated that a simple chair can be used for a variety of exercises and practice.

Then we all sat in our chairs. Ok ... what's up? I can't imagine us just sitting!

I was right -- we did blocks from a sitting position, as if we were on a bus or in a restaurant. Then we added punches, and eventually kicks. This is apparently SamDan material, and SBN Bannard was not "teaching" it to us -- it was more of a live demonstration. I won't claim that what I did was necessarily good quality, but it certainly showed me some new possibilities.

We put the chair away and worked on partner drills, practicing different kicking combinations. From there we moved into sparring practice using the same techniques (something SBN often does!). This wound up class.

Or so I thought. SBN said "In Eh" training ... which in English means "endurance". So we all did 30 seconds of horse punching. I managed 132 this time, which is an improvement over last time.

Then we did our kicking -- everyone did kicks this time. I managed 44 with each leg, which is good. Tuesday I did 38 and 33, respectively, down from last week. Not that I'm concerned -- if we keep this up doing it every class I'll be in GREAT shape by next testing!

11 November 2008

Last Thursday was the colored belt testing. Eric & Patrick demonstrated, including breaking boards. Most of the students testing had not broken boards before -- this was new so it was good to have E & P show how it's done. We had great demonstrations -- Aaron skipped 9th gup and went from 10th to 8th. While it sounds like a lot it really wasn't, not for diligent students. He and his mother are picking things up well and show great promise! Marina was injured in a car accident last week so she will probably test in a few weeks when she's feeling better, although I expect she'll do fine.

Pascal (big Aaron) jumped from 10th gup to 6th gup (Green belt). Sounds like a lot, and it is. But he was a black belt in TKD some years back and is an excellent student with a lot of previous training. He picked things up quickly and demonstrates excellent technique. His progression from this point will be "normal" (I expect) -- he's picked up the basic techniques and from here on it will be acquiring the SBD reflexes.

Usually the class following a testing is a "blow off" class, where we do fun stuff. Tonight we did ground fighting. At the annual SBD On The Beach (held in Myrtle Beach last weekend) ground fighting, typically taught at the Dan level, was taught and it was probably great! Unfortunately we could not attend so Eric, Patrick, & I missed it. But we got a class-full of it tonight!

First we did leg bars. Haven't done them much, even in Hapkido. I worked with Maria and learned that muscling it doesn't make it work. I could crank on her leg and not get it right. But when I had her leg in the right position and just leaned back a bit I got a VERY satisfying gasp as that Achilles tendon screamed in pain!

Nope -- I'm not a sadist, nor a masochist either! I don't like hurting people. But when a technique works properly I get a level of satisfaction that is hard to describe. It doesn't matter if I'm the one implementing the technique (and inflicting pain) or if I'm on the receiving end (and receiving said pain) -- it's satisfying when the technique is done properly. I seriously doubt that anyone who isn't a serious martial artist can understand this conflict.

After the leg bars we did take-downs with an arm bar. I partnered with Elizabeth on this one. She brings a LOT of enthusiasm to the practice, apparently getting the same joy from just being there that I do. Working with a high-energy person always brings my energy up, even when I'm already high energy. It's definitely a good thing.

This technique is difficult to explain -- deflect an incoming punch, drop to the ground on the back, trap the opponent's from leg and knock them down. Then grab the near arm, pull the opponent close, wrap the legs around that arm and lock ankles, pull their shoulder up and perform an arm bar across our leg. This description doesn't do it justice, but that's roughly what we did.

Elizabeth & I agreed that the difficult was getting up for the 10th time ... must be our age. :-)

14 November 2008

Tonight play time was over and we started teaching new material. It was a small class with just myself, Maria, Patrick (Eric home sick), Aaron, and Pascal.

Well ... it wasn't all work. In the 6PM class, since we had no smaller children tonight, we "played" with re-directing energy and returning it. This evolved briefly into pressure points, with me demonstrating some common ones on the neck and shoulders. While I haven't practiced them much in a while it all came back, a very satisfying demonstration for everyone.

In the 6:30 class we worked hyung. First everyone worked Chil Sung Ee Ro Hyung. This was new for Aaron and per usual he picked it up quickly, and I used the opportunity to work some fine points with Pascal and Patrick. Then we broke class up and I worked with Aaron on Pyung Ahn Cho Dan and Maria worked with Pascal on Pyung Ahn Sam Dan. Patrick had injured his foot a couple of days ago and sat the second part out.

Aaron and Pascal showed their usual colors, both picking up their respective hyung quickly. Given that it helped Maria and I to hone our knowledge of these hyung it was another satisfying class.

30 December 2008

Tonight was our last class of 2008. We trained HARD -- my dobak set a new high in being soaked with sweat when we were done. Lot of kicking, always a sweat producer!

Reflecting back on 2008, I ask myself how I improved during the year?

I'm certainly better able to express SBD concepts. That's an important one, especially since I'm assisting SBN in teaching.

My use of huri has become more instinctive, less forced. Demonstrating a difference between use of huri and not-use requires more and more concentration. Makes teaching more difficult on those occasions, but is generally a good thing.

I'm not any more flexible. That's a result of not stretching consistently. I know from past experience if I stretch properly each and every day, I see a noticeable difference in myself. When I do it less completely, or not every day? I don't.

So I resolve in 2009 to stretch every day!

Copyright 1999-2008 Bryan Fazekas