It’s been a while since I’ve had much to talk about training-wise here, but for once I do!
A combination of lack of time and lack of money has meant I haven’t been able to attend as many EMTF events as I’d have liked to, and it’s always a shame. I hate missing out on trips away, but such is life. Anyway, this weekend past saw a squad training session take place in the now-familiar town of Rushden, and as always ISK sent a small team away to take part. This time I was part of that team.
We loaded the cars up on Saturday morning, met up in a sunny Starbucks car park and hit the road. It was a nice easy drive up with great weather and mostly clear roads, stopping off just by Stonehenge to pick up a student currently visiting her parents, and making it to Rushden just in time to find a pub and get some much-needed food in our bellies. I was very grateful to stuff a mixed grill in my face.
As usual, Master Kumar was very generous and hospitable, letting us use their guest house/flat to bed town for the night. We watched some films, had a few drinks to relax and after a day on the road, even the prospect of a sleeping bag on the floor was more than welcoming. A night of fitful sleeping (thanks to people who will remain nameless, snoring and talking in their sleep) later, some porridge and bananas in us to fuel us through the day and once again we were in the cars, this time just for a few minutes until we got to the training hall and met up with the rest of out extended Tang Soo Do family.
It’s always nice to go away and see the familiar faces, and those faces are getting more and more familiar with each passing month. Along with Elite TSD we made up the majority of the clubs represented for the day, and it wasn’t long before we were sweating and gasping after a vigorous warm-up and basics section. This was followed by some concentrated forms work, including our choice of Chil Sung and also having the chance to learn the EMTF chang bong (staff) forms. These were really different than any staff forms we’ve practised in the past, with a lot of spins involved. You can argue all day about whether spins should be in a weapons form, but they’re in there regardless, and after an hour or so working with them I managed to do this to both of my thumbs.
Thumb sans skin. The other one's the same.
The day ended with a long sparring session, starting with a variety of drills and ending with a lot of rounds of free-sparring (18 x 2 minute rounds). Exhausted, we finished the day at the Kumars’ home after being invited for a barbecue and to enjoy the nicest home-made bhajis in the world! We could only stay for an hour unfortunately before we had to get back on the road. It’s always quite disheartening to get in a car at the end of the day of training, only to know another 6 hours or so of driving awaits, tired and bruised and on a bit of a come-down, but we managed to keep one another upbeat and chipper with CB radios and some quizzes. I like to talk about pretty much anything and everything (as long as it’s not gossip), so I was very lucky to have someone just as interested in just about everything to talk to on the way home. Everything from the punk scene in Kent, to string theory and multiverses, and everything in between (including bourbon cream biscuits, the most misleading of all biscuits, pretending to be chocolate when in fact they are just made of brown!).
Shattered, I crawled in through the front door shortly after midnight, and despite sleeping like the dead, still feel absolutely shattered today. Strong coffee is keeping me from slipping into a comfortable coma, and the prospect of dog agility tonight is looking daunting.
Good times, thanks all for a great weekend.
p.s. to those still doubting me, I definitely did not fall against the wall, I was merely steadying myself.
p.p.s. ..unlike in Master Kumar’s house, where I brained myself on the chandelier and fell over. Sorry about that Master Kumar!