March 2, 2017 Taekwondo at Koryo Do Saint Augustine, Fl

March 2, 2017 

http://www.koryodo.com

This started off as an odd week of classes. I guess we all have those kinds of weeks sometimes. On Monday night I was the only student to show up for class, and although Master A. Delgado offered to still hold class, I ended up deciding to just wait until next week to work with other students. Tuesday night I got involved in a project and ended up skipping my regular class. Tonight, I made it back to class, and it felt good to be back even though I worried that I may not be in my best physical shape since I had not been practicing as I should have been.  Master I. Delgado was not there, so Master A. Delgado took over as our instructor for the evening. This was the first time that I had him as an instructor for my regular class. 

Beginning as usual with stretching and warm-up exercises, our class followed the same pattern with the addition of V sit-ups. Already feeling sore from sets of various crunches, I found the V sit-ups difficult if not almost impossible to complete. Our warm up also included birthday push-ups. As explained in an earlier blog, sets of ten push-ups are correlated with a student’s recent birthday and age. The student just turned forty-four years old which made for many sets of push-ups to be completed before the end of class. 

Our warm-ups moved into cardiovascular exercise, and we worked on continual punches with front snap kicks as well as indoor kicks with turning back kicks. This was interspersed with the birthday push-ups. This was the oldest student for correlating birthday push-ups to age that I had encountered in my Adult Beginner class, and it was quite a workout. I found myself wondering how the other students were going to respond to my own birthday with pushups in a couple of weeks when I turn fifty-four.

Next we lined up to do deep knee lunges following students in front twice around the mat area of the dojo. I barely made it around the second time. Then we were to follow the same pattern, but his time we were to jump up from the lunge pattern. I tried a few times, but I couldn’t finish this one. My knees just are not strong enough yet; I was amazed that I finished the previous circle since I have had to baby my knees until recently. Now that I think about it; I haven’t had to wear my knee braces to class for a while. Master Delgado assured me that the next circling movements did not require the use of knees. It ended up being push-up hopping again around the dojo. Breathing hard, I did not even make it halfway around the circle for this one. 

From the circle exercises we moved on to practice one step self-defense moves. I was so glad to hear this. As mentioned in a previous blog, I have not felt confident in demonstrating these moves for my white belt testing in a couple of weeks, so I was excited to have the opportunity to practice them again along with sets of birthday push-ups. Honestly, this specific skill testing has even had me wondering if I am even ready to take the test. 

For the one step moves we worked with partners. My partner was a blue belt and helped me a lot. She even gave me permission to take her all the way down to the mats, and I questioned if she was sure about that. It was explained that she is thrown down a lot in the advanced class, so I was not to worry too much. There was also a former instructor, a black belt, who stepped in to help me. I believe his name is Sensei Emmet. He encouraged me to not give up and said how all these moves will finally come together as I move up in levels. 

With partners, we worked on moves to release ourselves from an attacker who is holding one or both wrists. It is always important to first yell “no” before launching a counter attack. One of the main reasons for yelling is to give evidence for witnesses that you are not the aggressor. An example of breaking a wrist grip is to circle our arms up over our heads and turning our hips using our momentum to break the hold on our wrists. After this, we worked on knife defense moves. 

Our one step defense moves were easily incorporated into the knife defense moves. An example of a knife defense move for a straight stab is to use a lower block as in our Chong Ji pattern, grabbing the wrist, stepping in and around the aggressor’s knee whiling pulling the knife arm and pushing the elbow. We then finished class by listening to a couple of announcements and doing our bows. 

After class we sat in the lobby while preparing to leave. When I first started classes, I used to quickly get my shoes and leave. I have learned over time that there is much wisdom to be gained by sitting in the lobby after class. The former black belt instructor who helped me during class gave me more encouraging words and mentioned that he had become discouraged and quit three times before getting his black belt. I brought up the fact of my not being able to complete the circle exercise, and Master A. Delgado pointed out that the circle rounds will help you gauge your progress over time. It is not a problem being unable to complete the exercises now. I also enjoyed talking with a blue belt student about her progress over time with health and arthritis issues. Taekwondo at Koryo Do has helped her tremendously. 

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