I was attending a three-day change management training with about 15 other people from various industries. We had been working on in-class projects and presentations, and one man from a well-known tech company casually said to a classmate as he plugged away at his project, “You can’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”
I am a second degree black belt, but I am not an advanced fighter.
Sparring has never been my forte as a child or as an adult taekwondo practitioner. Sometimes I’ve hated it. Sometimes I’ve looked forward to it. Sometimes I both dread and enjoy it. It has always been a learning experience. I don’t live up to my impossibly high expectations, and of course that sets me up for frustration.
I decided to change my approach to sparring at the dojang I’ve been attending since December of last year.
As I’ve mentioned in a few blog posts, I’ve been working on the third Dan taekwondo form Pyongwon. It’s a short form, but it’s powerful and grabs your attention, plus it’s really fun to do.
Recently my Master told me I was rushing the snap kick/back kick combination a bit. I was moving so quickly that it looked more like a sparring combination than poomsae. This is the only kicking combination in the form and punctuates the beginning and end phrases, therefore it draws a lot of attention if done incorrectly.
In the martial arts world we often tout the practice of forms (poomsae, kata, etc) as a means to hone techniques for self-defense and fighting. But have we ever thought about reversing the practice? How can we use our striking, kicking, and sparring practice to power up our poomsae game?
“I’m very cautious about who has access to me lately. And it’s not out of arrogance. It’s out of the need to protect my space and energy as I continue to do the work to elevate myself. This chapter requires me to be a little less accessible.”
Last Friday I was helping a coworker set up for a class he was teaching. It was one we had both taught at least ten times in the past and would teach many more times in the future. Before the class started he was jokingly saying to me and my manager that he was nervous.
You have to understand my coworker–he is larger than life, an incredible presenter, a talented singer, and a Toastmasters competitor. Public speaking is not something new or foreign to him.
I really, REALLY didn’t want to go to taekwondo on Tuesday.
I was two days into a busy week and just wanted to zone out at home, drink some wine, read a book, and not participate in life. That week I was both covering for a coworker at my day job who was on vacation and two taekwondo coaches who were also on vacation. I had taken two weeks off of work at the beginning of the month, so I was very willing to help out a coworker who’d had my back during that time, and the taekwondo coaches in question work very hard for the dojang and very much deserved a break…but damn if it isn’t tiring to be “on” for about 12 hours for an entire work week (including having to teach a workshop to 40 people on one of said days).
So forgive me if I wasn’t in the jolliest of moods when I showed up to the dojang Tuesday evening.
A few months ago my Body Combat teacher yelled at us to work like we were “owning” our lives rather than “borrowing” it. That can be a motivating sentiment. As a homeowner for the last eight years, I’m much more invested not only financially in keeping up and personalizing my home than I was as a renter, but emotionally as well. I love my home. There’s a deeper attachment than just fulfilling the physical need of shelter. Owning it means something special.
In a previous post I announced that I was going to take up classical guitar again with the intention of approaching it as a white belt. I had a restless, nagging urge to do something new and approach it completely unencumbered with the expectation or even hope of competence.
Apparently what I was really searching for was something to help me break a cycle of lifelong perfectionism and self-imposed pressure to perform.
It all started with a lesson in re-stringing a guitar.
At the beginning of June my Master decreed blessedly, thankfully, that we could wear t-shirts with our dobok pants for training…as long as they were school-branded shirts of course. Her reason–it’s so damn hot in the Texas summer that we were absolutely roasting in our dobok tops.