Thursday night we held a color belt test in the dojang. I was testing for my black tip along with the two little prodigies Violet* and Karim, and Noah, whom I mentioned in a previous post, who was testing for bo dan. My boyfriend and I arrived there early so I could warm up and cram in a little flying kick practice. I had a talk with Noah about exercising some control during takedowns as my boyfriend glowered protectively in the background. We agreed not to kill each other and practiced our one-steps before the room became too choked with students warming up.
Belt tests make me more nervous than any of the presentations I do for work or any of the hoops I had to leap through in graduate school. Here are some tricks I’ve gathered along the way that help me relax, do my best, and have fun.
About a year ago I realized that all the toxic people had disappeared from my life. Grumpy or conniving coworkers, bullying friends, disinterested love interests. I never had the “break up” talk that’s often suggested to women who are agonizing over cutting ties with someone. I just removed myself from the situation and severed communication. Passive aggressive, but it worked. Once I realized that they were gone I noticed how much lighter and more free I felt.
“JEEEEZZUZ CHRIIIIIIST!” I screamed as I was thrown with the force and speed of a freight train (and yet somehow also in slow motion) to the ground by Jack*, a teenage black belt who is normally self-deprecating and gentle but surprised me with his sudden brutality. Immediately I felt remorse for taking the Lord’s name in vain and being disrespectful to the others so I quickly apologized to my partners and my instructor after I had recovered.
The Poomsae Series is intended to glean lessons from the meaning of each form (poomsae). My school studies the palgwe forms so that’s what I will use for each post. Descriptions are taken from the book “Complete Taekwondo Poomsae” by Dr. Kyu Hyung Lee and Dr. Sang H. Kim.
Do a scissor block. Right now. Seriously, do it. Weird, eh? Palgwe Oh Jang is the fifth form and is learned at the blue belt level. It’s a complicated pain in the ass. It is as ambitious as it is disjointed as it tries to cram everything you’ve ever learned and more into the standard H pattern.
(Friday night class) “I did my second graduate degree while I was working full time,” I said with a yawn over my young instructor and the three teen boys who were arguing over who was the most tired by rattling off their AP classs and hours devoted to homework. They dropped that subject and then circled each other asking their ages.
This blog has started to take a self-development/self-help/change-yourself-change-your-life vibe, which was part of the package, but it’s starting to overshadow my taekwondo journey other than my weekly Poomsae Series. It’s starting to lose its story arc and the context behind the life lessons. I’m going to make a better effort to tell stories from the dojang on a more regular basis.
Smoking looks cool. I’m sorry, it does. In my fantasy life, after I’ve gunned down human traffickers without getting any blood on my sleek black trench coat and before I head off to a gig with my Led Zeppelin cover band I lean up against my black Ducati…and light a cigarette. It just wouldn’t have the same effect if I, say, bit into an apple or patted a kitten or posted a double rainbow meme on Facebook.
The Poomsae series is intended to glean lessons from the meaning of each form. My school studies the palgwe forms so that’s what I will use for each post. Descriptions are taken from the book “Complete Taekwondo Poomsae” by Dr. Kyu Hyung Lee and Dr. Sang H. Kim.
Palgwe Sah Jang means thunder, “undeniable power and dignity.” According to the authors the powerful movements should be performed seamlessly “just as thunder follows lightning.” Like a BOSS.
The Poomsae Series is intended to glean lessons from the meaning of each form. My school studies the Palgwe forms so that’s what I will use for each post. Descriptions are taken from the book “Complete Taekwondo Poomsae” by Dr. Kyu Hyung Lee and Dr. Sang H. Kim.
Palgwe Sam Jang. Fire. Now that the martial artist has gotten heaven and the river under his or her belt, it’s time to add some power and speed.