Friday, February 17, 2006


It's been a weird 12 hours. Not bad, just weird. Funny events at training, followed by strange dreams and nightmares during the night, followed by laughing so hard in my car on the way to work that I probably almost drove off the road.


Even though I had considered skipping my class last night, by the end of the day yesterday I was itching to get to training in spite of still having a bit of cough. Other than the cough I felt just fine, plus I had spent the better part of the entire day in meetings, discussing interface design improvements, aesthetic changes and whatnot. The discussions were pleasant, although the subject matter was bland. A productive day, but by the end of it I was getting twitchy and knew I'd benefit from some exercise.

So anyway, I head home, grab the kids and my uniform, and three of us head over to the dojang. Trevor has a 30 minute Lil' Dragons class (classes for kids 4-6 years old), followed by Miranda's 45-minute Black Belt Club class, followed immediately by the Advanced class I've started taking once a week. My mom stops by and shuttles the kids home so I can start class on time, which is great.

But anyway.

So, last night's class was cool -- lots of line drills (different types of punches or kicks while advancing) which is always good practice. But it was funny: I was the only "junior" member (i.e. white or orange belt) there, so I was typically not doing the same movements as the other dozen-plus students. The main difference was usually that I'd be doing a single kick or punch, while they were stringing 2 or 3 separate punches and/or kicks into a sequence. So it was kind of cool, trying to maintain focus on just what I needed to be doing, and not worrying about the other students.

So class goes on, and after about 45 minutes of line drills we move on to hyungs, or forms. In simplest terms, Hyungs are basically a highly structured series of movements that allow the student to practice an extended series of offensive and defensive moves. They also function as a form of meditation and as a tool to sharpen concentration and focus. They require a lot of discipline, and are considered in many ways to be the heart and soul of Tang Soo Do as a martial art. They are also rapidly becoming one of my absolute favorite things about my training.

Anyhow, the entire class is working forms. I'm working Ki Cho Hyung Il Bu, Ki Cho Hyung E Bu, and Ki Cho Hyung Sam Bu (basic forms 1, 2, and 3 -- although I was having a problem remembering which one was 1 and which one was 2 last night. Blonde moment...), and the rest of the class is working more advanced and complicated forms in groups, while the one don member (a.k.a. black belt) who was there was doing an even more complicated form. My forms last 44 seconds when they are done correctly: his forms easily lasted 2 minutes, and they were truly intense and physically demanding forms: kicking, jumping, elbows, knees. Amazing to watch. Beautiful, really.

The reason the varying lengths of these forms is relevant is that when you're doing forms by your own count, and you finish before more advanced members, you are expected to hold your last position (for a student at my level, this is always a front stance with a punch of some sort) and stand still until the other students have finished their forms as well. Not doing so would be disrespectful, plus it would also deprive you of the chance to just stand and watch more advanced students doing some far more advanced things. Pretty fun, plus a good opportunity to work on self-discipline.

So, the entire class is holding their last move, still and silent, watching the don member work through his form when my damn cell phone starts to ring.


I must have the volume set at Max. And when you consider that my ringtone is the theme to The Exorcist (a.k.a. Tubular Bells), you can imagine this started having an effect on the class.

Eyes start darting around, people start grinning, eyes are rolling a bit, one of the student's mom's -- who was watching the class -- is staring, puzzled, at my gear bag. And within 10 seconds all concentration is broken, people are smirking and talking, and I'm sheepishly letting folks know it's my phone and apologizing, promising to silence my ringer next class. Which led to a slew of jokes from Sa Bom Nim. Which was cool, actually. I can take a joke, especially when one is so deserved.

He stopped me for a second at the end of class to make sure I wasn't pissed off or anything, which was unnecessary but appreciated. I mean, I chose that ringtone because it makes people look at me weird and gets some laughs -- someone poking fun at me about it is entirely the point. I was more concerned that he might think I was some sort of deeply negative freak or something, when anyone who knows me knows that I am a far more positive sort of freak.

I won't argue the freak part.


During the night, I had a series of somewhat disturbing dreams. They're unclear, but they all had to do with work or school (college, I think), and with being undermined or lied about or betrayed by co-workers or peers. One of them became quite violent -- a guy who I think was a housemate of mine or something had said some terrible things about me which had led to me being thrown out of school and abandoned by friends and family, and I was hitting him and screaming at him to take those things back -- which is really disturbing to me, since I almost never dream of violence, let alone being the one inflicting the damage. And in my dream I felt very upset, watching myself from outside myself.

I haven't struck someone in anger since I was about 16. I awoke disturbed. Interpretations are welcome.


I purchased a Sirius satellite radio for my car a few months back. I chose Sirius largely because Howard Stern was moving to it in January, and while I'm not a big Stern fan or anything I liked knowing that any new subscriptions that coincided with his move to Sirius would be considered a show of support for Free Speech and against censorship.

Anyhow, I do listen to Stern on occasion, just because he is very, very funny at times. Yeah, it's mostly potty humor, but every so often something comes along that is drop dead, gut bustingly funny. And this morning, on their Friday "clip show" (highlights from the past week's shows) had one of those moments.

Briefly, there is almost nothing funnier than listening to the sound of a man getting a Brazilian bikini wax. 'Nuff said.

Have a great weekend, y'all.

Mood: Laid back
Now Playing: Kate Bush, "Aerial"

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