Learning Taeguk Forms

See the source image
I’m still calling walking stance “broken knee stance.”

There sure are a lot of outside-to-inside blocks in Taeguk forms.

When I joined my new dojang at the end of 2018 I began learning Taeguk forms. I’d learned the Palgwe style in my other dojang, and since I can’t remember which forms I learned as a child (other than the universal kibon), I’ll claim Palgwe as my foundational set.

I started thinking about the new language I was learning. If Palgwes could be summed up in one or two moves I’d say they’re very heavy on using the front (or long) stance and double knife hand block (in a back stance of course).
Taeguk’s main theme seems to be the outside block…from the back hand…in walking stance.

Sigh…

Continue reading “Learning Taeguk Forms”

My Guest Post: The Weirdness and Joy of Returning to Training After an Injury

I may have mentioned a time or two that I’ve had a devastating knee injury and two surgeries (and am still not counting out a third). 🙂

An injury like that changed not only my physical focus, but my mental one as well. I realized how much I had both lost and gained when I started taekwondo training again in January of this year. A dormant part of my brain re-awakened, and it was both strange and wonderful. Whether you’re a martial artist or not, the takeaway is that if you’re in a rut, you may benefit from going back to something you enjoyed earlier in your life or learning something new that stimulates and challenges you.

My story of the weirdness and joy of re-awakening my black belt brain is in this month’s Martial Journal. Click here to read.

Bonus Book Chapter: Black Belt Training Begins

Dear Reader: For the remainder of 2021, to continue celebrating the release of my first book Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts, I will be posting a monthly bonus chapter. While these stories didn’t make the final cut, they were still important moments in my life and in my black belt journey. Enjoy!

[Note: This would have occurred between chapters 28 “Black Belt Candidate” and 29 “Sucker Punched”]

“Up-downs,” Chief Instructor Alex said calmly, widening his blue eyes and smiling wickedly. It was the first Monday in April, the first class day after my bo dan test, and our Sabumnim must have decided he was going to whip us into shape, black belt style. We had two new bo dans (myself and a younger female student), a teenage bo dan who recently tested for black belt and would likely be awarded his new belt in a few days, and Eric, a teenage black belt who would be testing for second degree in the fall. You would think a class of only high-ranking students would be deadly-serious, mature, and determined. I had apparently forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager.

Continue reading “Bonus Book Chapter: Black Belt Training Begins”

What Can You Do In Just Ten Minutes?

clock face

Although my dojang has officially opened, they’re still offering thirty minute virtual classes throughout the week. Saturday morning I did a virtual black belt class in my home. After some warm-ups and a few forms (although I had much less space, Keumgang felt better in bare feet than in those damn taekwondo shoes), my instructor said we were going to work on kicking. Okay cool.

Jump kicks.

Great, fine, I like jump kicks. I’ve done plenty of them.

Continue reading “What Can You Do In Just Ten Minutes?”

The Dojang Is Open!

open door

Like other states across the U.S., Texas is slowly re-opening in a phased approach. I work in healthcare, and after listening to the harsh experiences of my frontline caregiver colleagues, I’m in no hurry to go rushing back into all my great state has to offer because, despite some claims, this situation is still delicate and dangerous. As an introvert and a self-proclaimed misanthrope, I haven’t been missing much anyway.

That being said, I am very excited that my dojang is officially open!

Continue reading “The Dojang Is Open!”

Fall Out of Your Comfort Zone (Literally)

woman falling

I want to fall in sparring class.

No, I mean really fall, crash to the ground with a spectacular splat that happens so fast I can do nothing but laugh.

I’ve fallen in sparring class before. I’ve been kicked to the ground by people a lot bigger than me, I’ve gotten my leg so tangled up on someone’s shoulder or chest gear that the easiest thing to do was to just tip backwards, and sometimes I’ve just mis-gauged my distance and fallen down.

Continue reading “Fall Out of Your Comfort Zone (Literally)”

How Fighting Can Help Me Stop Being So Defensive

Being-defensive.jpg

As I reflect on what has been a pretty awesome 2019, I’ve realized that literally NOTHING I worried about for the past year has actually happened.

NOTHING.

Not my professional worries, not my personal worries, NONE of the small or more outlandish things my often-anxious mind devises to pass the time came to fruition. And I made myself miserable with all the worrying.

Now I feel kind of silly.

Continue reading “How Fighting Can Help Me Stop Being So Defensive”

Black Belts: Learn From Everyone

two men bowing

I’ve been wanting to spar with some of the senior team fighters over the past few weeks, but I’ve been too shy to ask. They’re half my age, a head taller than me, and very skilled in competition sparring. I felt like I’d slow them down if I asked them to practice with me. I do like the younger kids I usually practice with. Some of them are former students of mine, so I feel very comfortable with them (and now they’re all almost taller than me), but sometimes I really want to be pushed and challenged. I want to be forced to think and practice in a different way. I want to learn new things. Hopping around with tweens and teens isn’t always going to cut it.

Continue reading “Black Belts: Learn From Everyone”

Don’t Be Frustrated. Be Fascinated.

lab.jpg

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.

Continue reading “Don’t Be Frustrated. Be Fascinated.”