Monday, October 16, 2006

Just Popping In

So. Damn. Busy.

So yeah, I haven't been blogging. It's not the typical "blogging block" so many folks tend to experience on a regular basis. I have plenty to say, but I'm just totally out of spare time lately. Ever since I got through the 6th gup test a couple of weeks back I've been in high gear. Tons of projects that need completing, lots of work to do, and planning for the upcoming Halloween Hootenanny is in full swing. Plus I'm still training 3 or 4 times a week, I have to bring my son to weekly therapy sessions, and now I'm in physical therapy for an injured muscle in my right hamstring to boot. It's been messed up for the better part of a year, and really started acting up about 2 weeks prior to my test. So I decided it was time to do something about it -- the doctor is stumped. It's not nerve damage or a lower back problem, which is good, but it's acting like a strain which means it should be improving on its own, but it's not. Annoying.

Add to this list the two or three video editing projects I'm juggling, and the franken-computer I'm putting together for my daughter's classmate's family and I'm pretty much Out Of Time. Squeezing all of these things into my schedule has left me fairly at loose ends. So blogging has fallen by the wayside for the most part.

However, I did want to share a few moments form my last gup test. I managed to write this stuff in a note to my friend Toni a week or so back, and since I haven't really got the time to write something new I'll just paste it here as well. Hope you enjoy it.


Briefly, the test was a blast.

Aside from one combination technique (side kick into a spinning back kick) where my head sort of went blank for about 10 seconds and I couldn't figure out what leg to kick with I nailed pretty much everything without a problem. Miranda did really well, too, as did my mom (who managed to sprain one of her toes during the test, but still completed it -- I'm very proud, although if I have to hear her story about how she "sprained her toe and still went ahead and did a board break" one more time I swear I'll strangle her). It was pretty cool having three generations testing at the same time on the mat.

Here's a picture of the adults doing outside-to-inside crescent kick line drills. There's mom right beside me, followed by Mark, Erik, and Michelle. It was really nice testing with other adults for a change -- both of my previous tests wound up being done with an 8 and 9 year old, which while fun is also a little demotivating. Younger kids tend to have some trouble keeping their energy levels and focus up for the entire test, and since this one ran over three hours having the extra energy in the room really helps.

Here's one of Miranda doing a side block in a back stance . She did really well on most of the test, although I need to work with her on her sparring techniques -- she tends to bounce around too much, not really stopping to think about how to get things done when she spars. Still, she's doing fantastic and made me really proud.

Here's a cool shot of me sparring with my friend Mark during the test -- this was fun. During training we wear head, hand, and foot pads for protection, but during the test we use only mouth guards and have to be very careful to not make any sort of hard contact -- part of the test is demonstrating your ability to control your power, so if you whomp someone accidentally you can be failed. It got pretty intense anyhow -- Mark is about 5'6" and is quite a scrapper. I have to stay low to get shots in at him, and I've gotten pretty good at rocking back out of the way of his kicks so I can come in with punches as soon as his legs clears. Anyhow, I think I look extra butch in that shot!

At another part of the test we had to demonstrate some basic break and throw technique -- it's not really required, but our instructor teaches it to the adults and has us do it as part of the test at this level to entertain the audience a bit. The kids mostly goof their way through it, but the adults are expected to do a serious break and throw. Anyway, here's a series of shots of my buddy Rich (6'6", about 250#) breaking a choke and throwing me: First, Second, Third. And here's a series of me repaying the favor: First, Second, Third.

Last thing I had to do was break boards, first with a hand technique and then with a foot technique. I did a reverse punch for the hand technique, which was fun. Most folks go for easier hand techniques at this level -- a hammer fist (basically the same thing as hitting a table with your fist) or a palm heel (hitting downward, with the base of the palm of your hand) or knife hand (basic "karate chop" -- really easy technique). Reverse punch is one of those techniques where, if you do it wrong and don't break the board it REALLY hurts. Happily I did it correctly and had no problems: Before, After.

For the foot technique, I did an inside to outside downward heel kick, or "axe kick." Basically, you lift your knee and turn it in across your body, then kick upward and extend your leg and pull it straight down. It's a pretty brutal kick if you can get height, and for a 39-year old guy I'm pretty darn flexible and can kick higher than most guys in their 20s. Kick was damn pretty, and the board never stood a chance: Before, After.

So that wrapped things up nicely -- after breaking we had about 20 minutes of round-robin terminology, history, and philosophy questions. Everyone did great, and then we were promoted. I don't have a picture of myself in my new dobakh with me right now, but it's really nice -- trimmed in green, with my dojang insignia embroidered on the back and a nice new green belt as well.


More writing when I have time. Now it's off to home for dinner, the dojang for training, then back to the computer for more video editing fun....

Mood: Harried
Now Playing: Halloween Hootenanny 2006 Mix - Semi-Final

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