Saturday, November 03, 2007

First Day of 1st Degree Training

I haven't been to classes since the tournament last week. I just needed a week off, and with Halloween, the day I usually go, being closed for the day, I took full advantage of that. I don't normally go on Saturdays these days, but with a regional tournament in a week, I thought it might be prudent to at least get some more guidance in the weapons form.

But first, I started to learn my new poom-sae/form. I believe it's called Shim Jun, but I'll have to double check that, since that might be the 2nd degree form's name. I forget. There are 80-something moves in it, which is twice as long as Chung Jung #2, which is the last color belt form I did. I get to compete with CJ#2 for next week, because there's a 6 month grace period for new black belts, so believe me, I'm taking advantage of that, since mine is still newly minted! So anyway, I'm not sure exactly how they count the number of moves I learned today, but one of the biggest changes that you start learning as a black belt is single arm movements. Before, as a color belt, you had to do big reaches, and always do things with both hands. For example, before as a color belt, you'd "load" a back fisted punch by crossing your arms in front parallel to each other, and the bottom hand would extend for the punch, and the other hand would pull back to beside your rib cage. Today, one of the moves was a backfist, but the difference was that just the punching hand would load, facing in an inverted way from before, and you'd just pop the punch out and not move the other hand. That'll take some getting used to! But what we learned so far was fairly easy. I was told the next section was the more challenging part of it, so we'll see. I have to keep what I learned today in my head while still retaining CJ#2 for another week or so, so we'll see how that goes! I know hand and foot timing is more critical at this level too, so I can totally appreciate why SW harped on it so much, at least on me, when still a color belt.

We had a short break (2nd degree form class), and during that time BU, who was on the sidelines due to a sinus infection while his son WU took class, helped me start to work on the 1st degree SJB form. It's pretty easy, but it's remember the sequence of things, and some of the little things that go along with it.

After the break, then it was time for the 1st degree weapons class. There was another kid who got his black belt the same night I did (he was at an earlier testing), so theoretically, he and I would be learning the first half of the SJB weapons form for the next testing. When Ben, who was teaching, asked how much we needed to know or how much we knew, I said I knew most of it, but I had to learn the whole thing for competition next week. Ben raised his eyebrows, but understood, when I reminded him that I knew that basically if I knew the first half, the second half was the same thing in reverse, after all, and he agreed. So, Ben and I reviewed the sequence a few times, and then we went over the little nuances (foot timing in moving, for example), and I think after a while, I did get the hang of it. I think the major hangups I have are doing the inverted catch move (that's hard for anyone, but I could use the practice more so I don't think about it), and getting used to using the weapon on my left side, aka my less dominant side. I'm not TOO bad on that side, but some moves just feel awkward, that's all. But I think if I work on it every day until tournament next week, I should be okay.

I wasn't even going to venture into sparring today or board breaking. Well, we know of my love affair with sparring-- NOT! I think as long as I'm fairly limber and pace myself, I'll be okay in sparring. And as far as board breaking, I don't think it'll be a problem. One of the combinations that you can do involves three breaks, namely a front kick, side kick and round kick. The catch is that one of the breaks needs to be with the opposite foot of the other ones. Since most people do all of their breaks with the same foot, this presents a challenge. But for me-- piece of cake! Remember, I was already doing a combination using opposite feet for the promotion break to 1st degree, so adding another kick with the dominant foot will be nothing! Of course, I'll still have to practice these, but it won't be so bad. Another combination to choose is a knifehand break with a running jump side over 2 obstacles! I like the knifehand break, but don't think I'll be doing THAT one anytime soon!

So, my first true venture out as a 1st degree black belt in training wasn't too bad. Of course, I took it easy. I know one thing that concerned me a little was that Ben mentioned that with the idea of me learning my SJB form-- the whole thing-- in one week vs. 2-3 cycles, I'm going to be bored, and it's too bad that I can't just learn the whole regular form quickly, and promote faster, but SW really goes by the rules pretty strictly when it comes to promotion. I agreed, as believe me, I understand only too well what he's saying. But I reminded him that the new form will take some time to learn, and since that's pretty new, that will keep things interesting for a while, fortunately. And I'm used to being bored, but knowing SW, she'll make sure that boredom will be turned into how I can super fine tune my moves for competition. I know her. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. Ben had said to me and another kid during forms class earlier that in color belt, you may have been able to get away with some sloppy stuff (I wasn't), but as a black belt, you're not supposed to get away with any of that stuff, so learning the fine tuning early will help. I think I've already been trained with that mentality.

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