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
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.
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.
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.
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”…
Continuing 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.
No, I haven’t abandoned the blog. I just haven’t had much time to spend on it lately. There are several half finished entries in need of work before posting them but I hope to get to them soon. (Preferrably before the next belt test rolls around!)
Say 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.
Humorous 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.
For 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
: 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.
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.
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.
Arctic cold will not defeat me.
Epic snowfall will not defeat me.
Five hyung will not defeat me.
Il soo sik dae ryun will not defeat me.
Kyuck pa will not defeat me.
Getting my @#$%& patches sewn on my do bohk straight may very well defeat me…
I’m counting down the days at this point confident that, if I continue to train regularly and stay focused, I will regain my green. My plan is simple. I have the tools through yuk gup and am committed to sharpening them all as best as I can over the next four weeks.
One of my Tang Soo Do instructors posted a sad notice on Facebook a few days ago announcing that Dr. John Larlee, 10th dan Soke of Beikoku Mizu Ryu JuJitsu, had passed away at the age of 83. I never had the privilege of meeting Soke Larlee but something about the post caught my attention. It seems Soke Larlee was a remarkable man; instructor, Grand Master in Jujitsu, Master in Kodokan Judo and Shotokan Karate. He was also a notable past champion competitor in Connecticut and New England.
Soke Larlee was part of the first generation of martial artists to bring the martial arts to the United States after encountering them overseas while in the military. The American martial arts community largely owes its existence to men like him, some of whom have already passed on leaving their legacy to their students and successors.
Active in the martial arts community until the very end, Soke Larlee was a member of the World Head of Family Sokeship Council, a prestigious and very exclusive organization of 9th and 10th degree black belts internationally recognized as Masters and Grand Masters. The photos and biography pictured on this page are from the WHFSC Grandmasters Council 2011 Compendium.
“Bernard of Chartres used to say that we [the Moderns] are like dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants [the Ancients], and thus we are able to see more and farther than the latter. And this is not at all because of the acuteness of our sight or the stature of our body, but because we are carried aloft and elevated by the magnitude of the giants.”