Haidong Gumdo is such a beautiful, fluid, and athletic art that I will always love it, I think, just as I still love gymnastics which I have had too long of legs for since pre-adolescence.  (In the upper level forms there is some overlap.  Hmmm…)

Today at work I was thinking about training goals.  Brittany and Mr. Frankovich definitely showed amazing fluidity and power at testing last week.  I don’t covet their skill and ability.  I’m innately competitive and want to surpass it with my own.

But the fact is that age and damage from other martial arts has given me the knees and ankles of Frankenstein’s Monster no matter how much my brain wishes I had the legs of Barishnikov.  It’s worse because I used to BE that quick and effortlessly fluid, where my favorite response to someone catching my feet was a quick lateral handstand and leg sweep, and why tackle someone when a diving split into a scissors kick would do?!  Sigh…

But I haven’t lost everything along with my inability to move.  I have memories and experience that I carry along.

When I was a US Air Force cadet I had reconstructive knee surgery and I was racing (unsuccessfully) to complete PT (physical therapy), PT (physical training), and school at the same time.  The most rigorous sustainable weight-loss and training workout my medical family could come up with was this:

Two 40-minute workouts a day, spaced 6 to 12 hours apart, with 5 minutes to warm up and cool down.  Incidentally, Musashi also said that a true swordsman trained twice a day.  AND it is important to rotate them, so they can’t all be running, swimming, what have you…  Now I would say exercise bike, Krav Maga, Tae Kwon Do, Haidong Gumdo, maybe a painfully crippled jog when the weather gets warm enough.  Not only would this work towards my weight loss goals but it would give me regular practice.

In truth, Brittany and Mr. Frankovich’s performances have intimidated the snot out of me.  I am not their equal and I don’t think I even CAN be.  There has been a none-too-quiet inner voice in my head that looks at how I’m struggling with basics and says that this time, effort, and energy is going to fail, that I’m not good enough or strong enough.

Maybe I’m not.  Maybe I can’t be.  I can’t ultimately control that.

But I can control my effort.  “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.” -Proverbs 14:23.  If I dedicated myself to this instead of other priorities, and fail, I will still have a new collection of forms and drills to add to my TKD and Tang Soo Do mental collection.  I will still have enjoyed hundreds of hours of fellowship with my fellow Eolgan-i.

Even if I break something again, the effort I put in will help reinforce the habits of discipline, dedication, and teamwork as we Nerds prod one another on towards higher goals.  More importantly, before I can defeat a sparring partner, a test requirement, or a horde of zombies, I must first defeat my own internal barriers to press onward!

-Sword Gimp


In other news, something I heard secondhand from Master Oz has prompted me to add a new page to Eolgan-i Haidong Gumdo: a Video Refuge, a collection of videos that do not induce cringes and scorn, or shame that our beloved martial art has THAT attached to it!

-Sword Gimp

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