When I began my master’s training under Master Koivisto, following the Masters’ Training session with Master Kim, Master Koivisto and I set some goals for my summer season. Here they are:
Today’s first workout, for example, was just an hour. I focused on the focus drills. 3 reps each of Ssangsu Gyukgums 1-8, side A, and then immediately side B so that I can show Master Oz I am doing my homework. Stance focus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 3x each, of course. (Honestly, by the time I was done with stance focus 6 I was ready to face-plant, but if you can keep from sticking in any one stance, it’s so amazing, like you’ve detached yourself from force normal and are simply sliding over the air. Cut focus 1, 2, and 3 got the shoulders nice and warmed up. Defense 1 and defense 2 have always been soothing and cool. Thrust focus 1, 2, and 3 are works in progress, but they also feel like a very deadly sort of two-step, and I do appreciate some grace when I practice sticking people with pointy metal objects. At this point I’ve done the 30-step attack drill so much other people in my apartment complex should be able to count to “yul” in Korean.
Doing all of the focus drills took me an hour, and it was a fair workout. My legs were shaking. I took some time off to throw some laundry around, and let the sun go down (both for fresher air and to avoid gawking neighbors).
Now it’s back at it. I still have to get through all 12 baldo-chuggeoms and then forms 1-11. I’ve got 2 hours set aside, which will fill up my sub-Chuck Norris workout routine for the day. Forms, forms, and more forms until I’m ready to drop!
Tomorrow I’ve got a road trip to the Twin Cities and a fresh round of Master’s Training with Masters Frankovich, Boltz, and Shirk! That ought to be awesome, and of course Master Boltz has the best-equipped dojang I’ve seen in years. He’s a great martial artist and a frighteningly good businessman.
But all of that is for the future. In about 120 seconds I need to be outside, making with the violent dance-y version of zen and swordsmanship.
I have fresh inspiration for how I want my forms to look. Not hurried, not over-controlled, just smooth, fluid, and perfect. It’s a goal that I don’t think I can ever match, but I’m having a great time chasing that goal.
Of course, here is once again my latest geek-out from the 2004 Mulympics in Korea, where a master showed me that I don’t have to be an acrobat to make Haidong Gumdo really shine.
It’s also the first time that I looked and thought that perhaps sword dancing didn’t have to look silly, effeminate, or irrelevant. The fact that he does a better job dancing while cutting than many do simply dancing, only makes it that much cooler…
Post Script: When arranging tomorrow’s schedule, I accidentally messaged late. The response from another MN master, and found out no problem, cause they were having an anime marathon anyway.
Ladies and gentlement, the Nerd Posse plus the Haidong Gumdo community
Post post script: Warrior Baek Dong Soo is the coolest anime ever. It just happens to use live people and real props. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.