Where to start? It’s been a while since I updated here so I’ll try to cover as much as I can for now. It’s been a busy couple of weekends as far as Tang Soo Do is concerned, with more to come. A couple of weeks ago I headed up with three others to Rushden for a Masters/Dan seminar with the rest of the EMTF, in a very hot hall, where we went over some higher-level forms.
The afternoon started with a big group warmup led by Master (Jan) De Vry which as well as being very hot, was hilarious. Master Kumar Jr took us through some basics which were far harder than they had to be. I don’t mean what he was asking us to do was difficult, because it wasn’t particularly, but the combination of the heat and my outrageously long dobok bottoms (I really must take them up!) made me give a much worse account of myself – and more annoyingly my club – than I’d have liked. But glancing around it was clear I wasn’t the only one struggling, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Later we split into smaller groups each with a couple of masters teaching, and I was with the very likable Master Mantle who took us through Jinto (one of the forms I’ll need at my next full grade) and my favourite form-I-won’t-need-for-a-long-time, Rohai. It was a really strange experience being taught by a different master, as everyone teaches differently, but it was valuable. Rohai especially; it’s not a form I actively practise, but I love the shape and movement in it. I cracked my knee on the floor far too hard with an over-enthusiastic ‘break’ punch halfway through, which still hurts if I kneel.
Later we all re-grouped and went through the second dan gum (dagger) form. I’d been through it a few times before with the people who went to the first seminar, but it was nice to have it drummed into my head with constant repetition for an hour or so. There were some finer details that I wasn’t sure about too which I’ve been able to clear up since which was good. The main problem with the day for me and many others wasn’t the heat directly (although it was really debilitating) but the kicking and turning on the wooden floor. I think a combination of the humidity and the wood meant that we ended up with a lot of blisters. Proper nasty, deep blisters. Most of them have healed now, but one tore open last weekend and now I have that super-soft baby skin on the bottom of my foot; I can’t see it being much fun to train on. The Masters ended the seminar by being taught the first new sword form introduced to the EMTF. It’s a very nice looking bit of very Korean sword, and I’m looking forward to learning it in the future. Our great hosts made sure we went away with full bellies as Master Kumar Snr’s wife prepared a great buffet with homemade samosas and pakoras – heaven!.
Skip forward a week, and it’s another weekend of Tang Soo Do. Saturday say my brother take his First Dan grading, and two others take their Senior First Dan tests in a scorchingly hot dojang back here in Cornwall. The heat was really oppressive, but everyone gave a great account of themselves despite it, I felt tired just helping out with the Ho Sin Sool, Il Soo Sik Dae Ryun and free sparring at the end – I can’t imagine how it felt for everyone else. The following day we all went down to the Falmouth dojang for the gup grading, which again was very hot, but a lot better thanks to the breeze. Again, everyone did very well, and at the end of another long day (which thankfully kept me from watching England’s dismal display in the World Cup) we had a quick lesson to brush up on some of the changes made to various bits and pieces we do. My blister tore open during one of the races we had at the end, but by then I didn’t even notice. A really good, if long, weekend which saw a lot of people take their next step on the ladder.
This weekend is free so far, so I’m planning a Saturday involving a long lazy barbecue in the afternoon followed by a trip to the Blue Bar in the evening for a pint on the beach watching the sun go down. I’d better make the most of it, it’s the club’s first annual summer retreat the next weekend, three days of 4:30 am starts and 12 hours a day training, eating and sleeping Tang Soo Do.