Taekwondo, at Koryo Do; Thursday, March 9, 2017

Thursday, March 9, 2017

I needed to get to class tonight to help settle my mind. Sometimes I have a strange anxiety attack that hits me when I get too excited about an event, and I had one of those episodes a couple of hours before class.  Knowing that a newly ordered camera was about to be delivered sent me into one of those moments of not being able to breath, feeling like I am going to faint, becoming numb all over my body, and being covered in sweat. I have always called it my “casino syndrome” because it happens on the rare occasion that I have the opportunity to travel to a casino.  I get so excited that it makes me sick, so I have to go lie down to regroup before I can enjoy it.

As I arrived to the dojo, Master I. Delgado asked me how I was doing, and I decided to mention my anxiety episode and how getting that excited is a negative aspect of my life. Master Delgado explained to me that this is not a negative at all, but rather that I should embrace this because people who are not able to feel strong excitement about things in life have a much greater issue. This was an interesting thought to ponder, and I was grateful for his input.

Tonight’s exercises included extra stomach crunches, and I definitely was feeling the burn. During flippers, lifting legs alternately while lying down, Master Delgado came around and stepped on our stomachs. It doesn’t really hurt, but it is startling.  I had to stop a couple of times during those since my stomach was hurting, but each time I stopped I looked around at everyone else still working, and I would decide to start again. Thinking my stomach was going to get some relief, we were led to line up on our backs all in a row at an elbow’s width from each other, and keeping together with the pace and beat, we all were all sit up at the same time, go back to a lying position, and then all come up to a sitting position.  This was done quickly, all at the same, and to the beat called out by Master Delgado. The only way I could get through this without my stomach screaming at me was to tuck into a tight roll which may have been cheating.

We then started doing Chong Ji and Dan Gunn forms set to the music. The music really helps me mentally. Not only does it help establish a rhythm for my steps, but also it is a bonus when a song playing happens to be one that inspires you.  I have forgotten the name of one of the songs that connected with me, but it helped me feel like I could achieve anything.  It also helped me to forget about the earlier crunches. For the forms, I still am stumbling with the Dan Gunn steps, but I am getting somewhat better at remembering the pattern after the repetitions.

Next we worked on kicks. The last kick we worked on was a jumping outdoor kick done without pausing between kicks. I haven’t really been doing any jumping kicks up to now due to my low level and arthritis, but I decided to give it a try. To get through this I pulled out a memory of doing cheerleading and dance team kicks when I was young. It gave me the extra energy and power I needed from bringing back that feeling that I had put away as I aged. When we stopped, most breathing heavily – including me, Master Delgado asked me to step up and show everyone how I was doing the kicks.  Stepping forward on wobbly feet, I managed to do the kicks a few more times. Master Delgado pointed out my progress to the class. It felt good.

It was time now to work with partners on self-defense.  My partner was a young and strong second level white belt. I was grateful for all of her help with my one step moves. I am feeling better about testing on one step defense moves now. She was working on higher level moves, and at one point when Master Delgado wanted her to be more aggressive, she said she didn’t want to due to me being her partner. I felt bad because one time when I first started she had kicked me too hard in the stomach, and now she didn’t want to practice with me because she was afraid of hurting me. Master Delgado explained to her that learning how to control her moves to not inflict injury is all a part of the process.  Also he feels like the two of us have a similar way of approaching life, and he wants for her to not start letting other people’s critiques stop her from moving forward as her own person. We both tend to become too obsessed with thinking about doing everything perfectly.

We ended the self-defense time with going back and practicing the most basic self-defense move. Master Delgado noted the importance of sometimes going back to the beginning to make sure we have a strong foundation. The most basic self-defense move when someone throws a punch at you is to use an arm block and keep spinning around to move you out of the way of the energy of the punch, and from there you could move in or run away.

The last activity of class was the balloon game, which is much like volleyball, except played with a balloon and using only our feet (look to previous blog for more explanation). We had two small children who were with their father playing tonight. They were adorably cute, and it was fun to see them play the game for the first time.

As usual, I felt good after completing class tonight.  It always seems to helps to bolster my life outside of class. I am feeling stronger now, both physically and mentally.  This class has helped me, as an almost fifty-four year old woman, to feel like I am moving upwards toward new goals rather than being on the downward slope of life.

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