Friday, June 13, 2008

Jaw Clenched, Eyes Fixed on the Horizon

This vacation can't come soon enough.

I have to say, it's been a very long time since I felt this close to just flat out freaking out. Tearing my hair out or screaming into a pillow. Just losing it for a few minutes. The last couple of weeks have been a completely insane blur of things to do, places to go, people to see, tasks to accomplish, goals to reach, list items to check off, and so on. Tons of stuff at work, and a seemingly never ending series of extracurricular requirements, social obligations, unanticipated challenges and monetary surprises, appointments both expected and otherwise, and honey-do's, day after day after day.

It's getting to the point where I have a constant sense of apprehension, like I think I left the stove on All The Time. No matter how many things I take care of, I still end up feeling like Sisyphus, and I just sort of wait for the boulder to roll back down the hill so I can get right back to pushing it again. And again. And again.

So yeah, Napa and San Francisco are looking mighty nice right about now. Two more days of work, two weekend days full of activities and company and then some very much needed downtime. I just have to put one foot in front of the other until I get there.


Tang Soo Do training has been an interesting challenge the last couple of weeks. One of the things I've encountered frequently over the past few years is this occasional and periodic sense utter lack of accomplishment, where suddenly something that I'd previously felt I was doing quite well becomes difficult, or clumsy, or awkward, or just plain bad. I find I most often encounter this with kicks, although sometimes my line drill techniques get hit with it as well.

At first I wrote it off to loss of confidence -- just the usual self-doubt creeping, my perfectionist streak undermining my progress. But actually I've come to think it's a more concrete thing, linked directly to progression and improvement in technique. Basically, I think I sometimes start doing one part of body movement better -- rip rotation, say, or perhaps keeping my head and torso more vertically oriented during kicking instead of leaning over to achieve height -- and as a result all the techniques associated with that movement get thrown off.

For example, after having gotten comfortable performing, say, a jump spin wheel kick where I sort of leaned over so that the kick went higher, the sensation of doing the kick while not leaning so much is remarkably different and new. It seems like a small adjustment, but it makes the entire motion feel unfamiliar, and in a sense I have to learn the whole thing again. Obviously I pick it up more quickly the second (or third, or fourth ...) time around, but these periods of "re-learning" tend to impact pretty much every one of a type of technique (right now it's hitting all of my spin or jump-spin kicking techniques, for example) so the overall effect is a feeling of complete and utter inadequacy. Very frustrating.

On top of this, I'm continuing to encounter difficulties getting Chil Sung Sam Rho ready for the Nationals next month. I mean, I know the form inside-out -- it's not a problem of knowledge or memorization. The challenges are 100% performance related. Chil Sungs continue to be difficult for me to perform properly, their sense of flow and relaxation coupled with burst of power a sort of impenetrably complex Gordian knot that can't seem to either unravel or cut.

My Chil Sung Sam Rho is, I'd say, pretty solid, technically. I move well, perform each independent technique accurately and with fairly good form. If performing it were purely a technical exercise I think I'd be doing great. But I just haven't developed the insight into the form that enables me to perform it with anything resembling shin chook, yet. As Sa Bom Nim put it the other night, my Sam Rho looks robotic. It needs more flow, more grace. It's looking more Pyang Ahn than Chil Sung.

"Robotic" -- that stung.

So, I'm at a bit of a loss. I keep practicing it, keep plugging away, hoping that a door will open, that a light will come on and I'll gain some insight into the form that enables me to connect with the more gentle and flowing aspects of it. I can see where they should be, but even though I think I'm performing with a sense of relaxation it's clear that this is not coming through in my actual movements. This happened with the previous Chil Sungs I learned, -- Ee Rho taking a few weeks to get comfortable, and Ill Rho taking a solid 3 months -- and Sam Rho is providing the biggest challenge yet. I can only imagine that, unless I cross some sort of threshold and gain some insight into Shin Chook, this will continue to be the primary obstacle to progression for me as I move forward to Dan and beyond.

Mood: Kinda fried
Now Playing: Coldplay, "Viva la Vida"

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