Yes I practice taekwondo at home, and I wanted to share today’s home practice with you. It’s become more than a pastime; it’s become a practice and a purpose. I went to an invigorating vinyasa yoga class before lunch and then later in the evening I dedicated some time to my home tkd practice. Lately I’ve been trying to run through all the forms at home. I’ve decided to make forms my forte. I can’t be the best at everything and I’d say my skills range from lowest to highest from sparring to one-steps and hand-to-hand combat to kicks and then to forms, so I might as well pick one to excel in and be able to teach to others. Forms help me focus, forget, meditate, be present and be absent from this world all at the same time.

Today I took extra time to condition my body, work on some problem areas, and flow through all the forms. I did half an hour of gentle Pilates to strengthen my core and lengthen my muscles. Then I worked on my spin kick, which has been a thorn in my side from day one. My left side is just not acceptable for a person of my rank, so I’m determined to improve it greatly this year. First I did a few on the right side, which are comfortable and looking pretty good. Then I “workshopped” the left side and broke it down into pieces. It’s really just a hook kick with a turn built in. I’m good at hook kicks, so that boosted my confidence. After a few regular hooks I added a slow spin. Then I deliberately leaned far enough that my hand touched the ground so I could get used to the feeling of leaning my upper body back.┬áJust for fun I did a few balancing half-moon poses, flinging myself back into gyrogi stance after I balanced for a few seconds. High school physics is coming back to haunt me.

For the next half hour I alternated between the kee-bons and the palgwe forms, making my way up to number eight in both series as I huffed and slid all over my living room. At that point I was panting and was coated in a slick of sweat. For the last few minutes I worked on psyching myself through flying turning back side kick. I can do a jump turning back side kick just fine. For some reason throwing in a few preliminary steps has really messed me up. What seemed to help was (1) reminding myself that the same foot that plants is the same foot that kicks and (2) slightly turning in towards the planting/kicking foot before I took off the ground seemed to help. It felt a little like cheating or cutting corners, but I need to get this kick down. Bo dan test is around the corner.

And then I spent an hour and a half on the phone sobbing uncontrollably and shakily sipping a glass of whiskey as I had a difficult conversation with someone close to me. Even ninjas get the blues. Nothing like a personal problem to test the strength of one’s practice. At my core I am still “happy” and satisfied with who I am despite a very difficult and painful situation I am dealing with. I am so thankful I have class tomorrow night. I could not have made it through the past few weeks, months, years, without taekwondo.

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