Playing the Long Game in Pool, Taekwondo, and in Life

“I’m playing the long game.”

My billiards partner glanced up at me as he said this and then narrowed his eyes at the pool table as he adjusted his stance. I had suggested he take an easier and more straight shot, but he was focused on long-term strategy. He wanted to set himself up to get multiple shots in one play. This involved taking a more difficult shot first so the cue ball would end up where he wanted it. Continue reading “Playing the Long Game in Pool, Taekwondo, and in Life”

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Taeguk 6 – Can We Pause For a Change Revisited (The Poomsae Series Part 15)

Girl with a choice near the forked road

The Poomsae Series is back! I wasn’t sure I’d be able to write individual posts for the Taeguk forms I’ve been learning (I was trained in Palgwe at my old dojang), but they’ve grown on me in the past few weeks. I’ve started to appreciate the individual experiences of learning and practicing the forms rather than just memorizing movements as part of a set. Now that I’ve gotten to know the forms better I can experience them and express them on a deeper level.

This past week I learned my final form of the Taeguk collection (gotta catch em all!) and the thirtieth in my overall repertoire. On Tuesday one of my instructors walked me and another much younger black belt through Taeguk Yuk Jang (6), and to be honest, we were all a little turned around. This form amps up the challenge to anyone trying to learn or re-learn it, even for those familiar with the Taeguk patterns.
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Sparring Multiple Partners

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Ohhh…crap, I didn’t think this through.

“Black belts, get up and make a line in the center of the room.”

During sparring class that’s my chief instructor’s cue for us to line up and let the lower ranking students take a stab–or well, I mean punch–at us. For a while he would assign one student per black belt, but lately he’s been assigning two students to each black belt for two-on-one sparring. If I get the little kids, it’s more funny than anything else, and I spend half my time coaching them on how to get me rather than really fighting them.

It becomes more serious when I’m matched with partners my size (or larger, which is often the case since I’m fairly small) or worse, with other black belts. The larger partners have more brute force, and the black belts fight smarter and know how to work together.
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The Best Remedy for the Inevitable Emotional Denouement: Crazy Cardio!

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There are two things I love about this time of year: the extra hour of sleep and Thanksgiving. That’s about it.

Sure, I love my scarves and knee-high boots, but I mostly love the idea of them, not the fact that I actually have to start wearing them to stay warm. We do really have four seasons in Texas. They just happen to be ice, tornadoes, a really long summer, and rain. Now we’re in that period of a few nice days that are ruined by torrential downpours and dangerous flooding. Thanks to the rain and the fact that, uh, it’s November it’s started to get a little cool. It’s also the time of year when I begin to get grumpy until about…oh…May.
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I Tested for My Black Belt and Ate a Cupcake: Both Were Equally Glorious

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After weeks of brown rice and vegetables I needed a treat…What? I’m just carb-loading for the next class!

My much-anticipated first degree black belt test was on Saturday. Six members of my family had traveled from out of state, more family was joining us Saturday night for the after-party at my house, my favorite dobok (as in, the one that’s less baggy and has fewer sweat stains) was clean and folded, and I hadn’t had any more unsettling dreams about forgetting a form, or worse, my pants. I felt physically and mentally prepared, and I was so grateful and happy for the opportunity to test that I wasn’t worried in the slightest. All was right with the world.
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Day Before the Black Belt Test: It’s Rainy, So I’m Feeling Contemplative

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Stats For the Week:

Weight: 115 pounds
Number of early morning swimming sessions: 3 (YES!! Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, I’M BACK!! Get outta my lane!)
Number of therapeutic massages because I think I’m younger than I am, but my body says otherwise: 2
Number of times I’ve done a round of heat and ice on my back today: 2, but the day is young
Visible bruises: 4. The rest are fading so right now I kind of look like a washed-out leopard
How much I want a cheeseburger, fries, and a Little Debbie oatmeal cream pie: Infinity
Number of unsettling dreams I’ve had this week about taekwondo: ZERO!!
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It’s TendonOSIS Even Though Spellcheck is Being a Jerk About It

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“So, even though I’m not getting an MRI I’m still curious about what’s wrong with me. The doctor said it was either a tear or tendonosis. What do you think, based on what you’ve seen with me so far?” I asked Cody*, my physical therapist, during Tuesday’s session.

A little backstory: I had turned down my orthopedic doctor’s suggestion from two weeks prior to get an MRI of my right leg.  It seemed unnecessary since my pain in both the front of my hip and top of my hamstring had lessened quite a bit thanks to therapy, and the thought of being shoved into a tin can coffin for forty five minutes was a big NOOOOPE. I’m not anywhere even remotely close to needing surgery, so all we’d get out of an MRI was a confirmation that my leg’s f-ed up. Yeah, I know already.
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Two Weeks Till D-Day: A State of the Union Address

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Let’s hope I have some of this fierceness on the day of my black belt test.

I sighed as I looked at my lunch today: brown rice with roasted vegetables, topped with a chopped boiled egg and seasoned with low salt soy sauce. A small side of bland sweet potato chips and two clementines for dessert. To wash it down? A bottle of prickly pear flavored kombucha I bought on a whim at Whole Foods. (I live in Texas; we enjoy both looking at our cacti and consuming it…especially in margarita form). And for dinner? I had a protein bar, an apple, and some toasted nuts.
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The Distraction That Won’t Die

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“What distracts us?” my yoga teacher asked last week as we sat on our mats waiting for class to begin.
“People’s cell phones going off in class,” I thought darkly, wishing I could throw a few punches at the perpetrators as if I were in sparring class. What’s really been distracting me lately is physical pain. Usually when I’m distracted it’s more of the emotional or mental type—anxiety, anger, sadness, or simply my brain wheels clicking as I solve problems. But right now it’s good old-fashioned pain, that pain in my right hamstring that’s been bothering me for a few weeks now. I don’t know if it’s a tear, a pull, or just irritation from over-use but it’s starting to be a real pain in the…well, you know. Literally and figuratively.
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Little Black Belt is ONE! A Year in Review…

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Eating cake like a BOSS.

If you’ve completed filing your income tax returns then I’d like to invite you on a retrospective journey through the evolution of this blog—the discoveries, the triumphs, the tears, the deep questions, and most importantly, the jokes. If you haven’t completed filing your income tax returns….what the hell is wrong with you?? Get back to work!!
Continue reading “Little Black Belt is ONE! A Year in Review…”