Time to Get My Poop in a Group…

We had a special post-Thanksgiving Day class at LTSD that I’ve taken as a good kick-in-the-ass to get back to work. I missed a lot of classes in September and October due to business travel and November and December are always challenging with the holiday season.  Time to get back in the game…

My goal has been to achieve 3rd Gup (red belt) status by the spring/early summer shim sa. I already missed out on one promotion due to travel and absences so there’s no longer any wiggle room. Time to stop trying and start doing again.


Exercise on this day: Crunches: 100 · Hyung: Basic · One-Step Sparring (Basic): 1 through 5 · Push-ups: 100 · Squats: 100

Thoughts About the Gup Shim Sa

Tonight’s promotion to 5th Gup Green represents the highest rank I have achieved in Tang Soo Do. Not that reaching 6th Gup several months ago wasn’t important but it really just represented catching up to where I left off back in the 80s when I drifted away from Tang Soo Do.12108932_1631670740414532_5804057196336022403_n

Honestly, I wasn’t happy with my performance. I was sloppy and my lack of training over the last couple of months was painfully evident. I can’t let that happen again.


Drops Against the Stone

Drops Against the Stone Book Cover Drops Against the Stone
Brandon Sieg

After fifteen years of teaching martial arts in both the collegiate and commercial setting, author Brandon Sieg has seen just about everything and has an opinion on most. Drops Against the Stone is a compilation of essays written to educate his students beyond a one minute “mat chat” at the end of a class. It goes deeper, to the heart of things. Some discussions might be held over dinner after training—anecdotes and somewhat cathartic tales about students who do or don’t “get it,” or musings of the benefits of the martial arts with real world examples. These are often mingled with martial arts history, culture, and tradition as it is relates through the eyes of an academic. It is martial arts and the world at large viewed from the lens of a martial arts eccentric—a martial arts education through rants, ravings, musings and memoirs. While written to guide his students, chances are much of it relates to your own martial arts journey as well. From training to trends in the martial arts and society at large, you won’t always agree with his opinions, but “Drops” challenges you and encourages you to sincerely pursue the martial way.

[review in progress]

“Paralysis by Analysis”: Reflections on my day at the 2015 Summer Interclub Tourney

I wish I’d coined that phrase. It’s perfect. And I’m growing intimately (and annoyingly) familiar with it.

Analysis paralysis is a critical problem in athletics. It can be explained in simple terms as “failure to react in response to over-thought.” A victim of sporting analysis paralysis will frequently think in complicated terms of “what to do next” while contemplating the variety of possibilities, and in doing so exhausts the available time in which to act.

The Summer Interclub last Sunday was my second Tang Soo Do tournament and, all in all, I didn’t do all that badly.  Not that I couldn’t have done better.  I’ll save that for next time.

Ironically, I did best in weapons where I demonstrated a bong hyung (staff form) that I only did from end to end unassisted for the first time the day before.  The competition was probably only the fourth or fifth time I ever did the entire form without someone coaching me in one way or another; either as a video recorded reference or in person.  That form was the highlight of my day which went downhill steadily from there on out.

Ho! Ha ha! Guard! Turn! Parry! Dodge! Spin! Ha! Thrust! Sproing!

I often refer to the classic Daffy Duck as Robin Hood cartoon where he has some problems breaking down his quarterstaff technique and trying to pick out where things are going wrong. That cartoon pretty well summarizes how the rest of my day went — just not with the staff.

After weapons, we moved on to hyung without weapons.  I’ve been working on the second “peace and confidence” form, pyang ahn e dan, since shortly after my last belt promotion and thought it was ready enough to use as my tourney form. Not so much.  Although it began well, it deteriorated the further along it went as I drifted away from doing the form towards thinking about doing the form until I became hopelessly mired in the last four movements thinking about whether or not I was framing my blocks correctly. Classic “Analysis Paralysis”…

brain-out-to-get-youContinuing the pattern that would define the rest of the day, board breaking didn’t go well despite my having done the same break before in practice.  My “dwi yuck soo do kong kyuck” (spinning ridge hand) that was supposed to be a speed break was a flop.  It should have been a good break and I’ll have to revisit it one day.

And then came sparring.  Not my long suit to begin with but that’s when analysis paralysis truly came home to roost. There is no time to dwell on what you’re going to do next sparring.  You’re either doing it already or it’s too late.

I have until the end of October before the next tourney to stop overthinking and start doing and my next TSD class is tonight.


Happy 75th Birthday, Carlos Ray “Chuck” Norris

MtG-ChuckNorrisSay what you will about Chuck Norris, the man has mad martial arts skills, a great deal of personal integrity, and good sense of humor.  That’s not a bad combination for anyone to aspire to.  He’s been doing martial arts since he discovered them while stationed in South Korea with the USAF.  At 75, he’s still at the top of his own system, Chun Kuk Do, and he still takes an occasional acting role among fellow action stars like Schwarzenegger and Stallone. The difference, of course, is that Chuck really is that much of a badass.

Chuck_Norris_Wallpaper_by_thereverend3kHumorous Chuck Norris “facts” are at epic legendary status on the internet and around the world. Anyone who has ever played World of Warcraft knows why Chuck Norris was recruited to do their commercials: A running stream of player narrated “Chuck Norris Facts” are a regular staple on Barrens Chat, the common chat channel on one lower level area of the WoW virtual world, at any time of day or night.

chuck-and-ericFor my own part, I have to admit taking a certain amount of silly pride in having Mr. Norris in my Tang Soo Do training lineage by way of my first instructor, SBN Breuer.  It took a while for my days in the Chuck Norris Karate System, as it was called back then, to steer me back to Tang Soo Do but that history definitely played a part.  For that I say, thank you, Mr. Norris, and Happy Birthday!





Today’s tournament was a great learning experience but some frustrating errors on my part suggested that Humility might be the tenet to discuss next.

Humility • 겸손

hu·mil·i·ty noun \hyü-ˈmi-lə-tē, yü-\

: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people

: the quality or state of being humble

Today marked the first of three Tang Soo Do Masters Alliance interclub tournaments for the 2015 season and my first martial arts tournament ever.

Division 17, adult beginners, aka Sean and I, with Master Capolupo and the rest of the judging staff


I brought home silver medals in the adult beginner division for Form, Sparring, and Breaking. (It sounds better if I don’t mention that I finished last in all three — there were only two of us in the division. The consolation is that my point scores were respectable in all three events.)

The humility comes from knowing that I made profoundly stupid n00b mistakes that I shouldn’t have made. I came into the tournament not expecting to do particularly well in sparring but to do a respectable job with my hyung, pyang ahn cho dan, and to do a respectable two-board elbow break.

Elbow strike, two boards, clean break

Part of the scoring in these events is in presentation and I think I did a decent job presenting my form. It’s a shame I omitted the kwan do from the third step and realized it a millisecond too late not to just keep going  and let it go… My break was clean and I felt pretty sporty about it especially since I had never done a break with an actual board before — nevermind two at once —  until one and then two of the judges mentioned that I had completely skipped my introduction before doing the break. Color me mortified.

I came to the event worried about two things: the soo dos in the last four steps of pyang ahn cho dan and not keeping the turns on my left ankle crisp (I managed to twist it badly a few days before the tournament.).  Neither of those ended up being a problem; overconfidence and lack of concentration in other areas altogether were.  I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll never make those two particular mistakes ever again. The trick will be not making mistakes in those categories again.

The most embarrassing part is knowing that I was trained better than that and that my error reflects on LTSD and SBN & KSN Krantz.  Live and learn: There are two more interclub tournaments to go this season to redeem past mistakes.