“It’s a short form. If you can do palgwe pal-jang you can do this form,” one of the masters said as he walked me through the form I will need to perform when I test for black belt.
Famous last words.
A few weeks ago we learned Koryo 1. UPDATE: Thanks to an update from reader Jon (see video link in the comment below), this form actually exists out there, albeit with some minor changes. It’s not used very often. There is a universal form called Koryo, which we’ll also have to learn (in our school it will be Koryo 2), but for now until first dan we have this additional form. No pressure, right?
This form has a surprise around every corner. I haven’t thought “WTF??” this often when learning a form in a long time. It has the same funny-strange creepiness of oh-jang and the same diva-like flair as yuk-jang. While it doesn’t quite match the anger of chil-jang or the cool complexity of pal-jang it’s full of dirty fighting and unconventional combinations. It starts with two nose strikes (or they could be throat or eye punches depending on where you aim), a knee to the face punctuates the middle, and it is topped off by a flying snap kick to the head at the end. Ouch.
Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty fun. It keeps you on your toes even though we’re not supposed to be on our toes except for this one part at the end and…never mind. I actually wish it were longer so I could keep “playing” in it. Pal-jang seems to take an eternity, but like yuk-jang, this form is over in a flash.
If a form could be humorous, this is the one. Oh, you think I’m backing off and retreating? Nope, how’dya like a knee to your face, BAM! HA HA! Oh, you think you can sneak up on me because my back is turned? Nope, gotcha with a knife-hand block, BAM! HA HA HA! Looks like I’m slowing down, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?? Doesn’t it—BA-BAAAM!! Two kicks to your face, sucka!
So what’s to learn from this form? As the great George Strait sang, “you’ve got to have an ace in the hole, a little secret that nobody knows.” Whether it’s a hidden talent you use when you really need to shine, a few thousand dollars in your “F You” account (yes, that’s a real thing), or a few dirty moves you can pull in a street fight, that little ace in the hole can boost your confidence, maintain your sense of humor, and remind you that everything is going to be OK if you just trust yourself.