A few choice moments from Saturday's Gup test. My kids took a bunch of the pictures, so the framing on some of the pics isn't so good, and unfortunately when Christine tried to get some of the trickier pictures our digital camera took so long to focus that she wasn't able to actually capture any of the faster actions, like my one-step or wrist grab techniques. She'd get ready to take the picture just as the technique started, and by the time the camera had focused and decided to grab the picture I'd have finished the technique and returned to choon bee stance. So, instead of action shots she got a bunch of shots of me standing at attention and Mr. Hill preparing to punch. Like 9 versions of exactly the same picture. Sigh. Might be time for a better digital camera....
Anyway: Here I am standing at choon bee, preparing to begin, not yet drenched in sweat. This unmoistened state will not last long:
Line drills: Here I'm doing an inside-to-outside block in a back stance. The sweating has begun.
Line drills: Round kicks. Here, I'm kicking with my injured left leg, which didn't feel so great. I think the discomfort is evident in my expression. Still, my technique was solid. Behind me is Kayleigh, who trains with my daughter. Great kid. Note: Completely drenched.
One-step Sparring: Here's where the slow camera really messed us up. Basically, Mr. Hill would throw a punch at my face and I would simultaneously do 1 of a series of 10 defensive/offensive techniques in response, each of which involves moving to the side, blocking the fist in some way, and then throwing punches or elbows in response. They were really cool, and went by way too fast, due both to my nervousness and Mr. Hill's intensity. Anyhow, we went through the one-step techniques so quickly that Mrs. Nicholson, who was the dan member grading me, asked me to re-do one-step #4. I asked her if I'd done it wrong, and she said she had no idea because I'd gone so fast she'd missed it. This is me trying to figure out if this is a good thing or a bad thing:
It was actually a good thing. It's kind of hard to tell during the test, though.
Here are the judges. Left to right we have Mrs. Nicholson, Mr. Vasquez, Sa Bom Nim Nunan, Mr. Kannan, and Ms. Hill (Mr. Hill's daughter, an extraordinarily talented and focused child who has, at age 8 or 9 -- not sure -- already attained dan membership and won a national TSDMGK award for her focus and discipline). To the far left is Mr. Nicholson, Mrs. Nicholson's son, who is, if I recall, the youngest person to attain dan membership in the history of the Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan:
A little while later, after testing on terminology and some kind and encouraging and very complimentary words from Sa Bom Nim Nunan and the rest of the judges, I received my orange belt:
And here I am with my fellow 8th gups. I call this image "Small, Medium, Large."
Adam, at the right, is a soft spoken kid who nevertheless had great intensity and focus that was definitely notable in a kid his age. Kayleigh is a terrific kid as well, and both of them will prove to be terrific martial artists I am sure. I was proud to stand beside them and lead them in our hyungs, even if I felt a bit, well, older. I even did the "kid's version" of the Student Creed with them, which includes a whole series of hand movements coordinated with saying "This! Is! A! Black! Belt! School! We're dedicated! We're motivated! We're on a quest to be the best!" finished off with a low block and center punch and really loud "kiyaps!" It got a big laugh from the judges and the audience, but that wasn't really why I did it. Honestly, I figured why the hell not -- they're up there with me, why not do everything together? Why should I get to skip out on it? Besides, it was fun.
Anyway, a great day, and a great first step in what I hope will be a long and satisfying endeavor.
Now Playing: Nina Simone, "Feeling Good: The Very Best of Nina Simone"