Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Visiting Yang Jongsung

September 7th, 2010
In the morning National Folk Museum of Korea Senior Curator 양종승 Yang Jongsung, one of my most important mentors (an MA thesis committee member, recommendation letter writer for my Ph.D. applications, author of the book that has most influenced the direction of my research, et al), called me and changed the time of our meeting forward an hour and a half, so I had to scramble out the door with Karjam (who wanted to look around the museum) but then the museum (I had forgotten) was closed on Tuesday… so he sat and studied Korean while I had a great conversation with Yang Jongsung. It was really awesome. We discussed how I was going to approach my project (my methodology) and he approved of what I had planned, but had some great insight that will help the direction of my study. He was particularly excited about my ideas for looking at performer to audience transmission. I think I won’t write all that here, though.

Karjam and I found a place that can mount one of the thanka that we bought during our pilgrimage on a hanging fabric scroll. Really happy about that. It should be ready next Tuesday.

I had 상모 sangmo class in the evening, and I made the most progress I have yet. It was so amazing. I left there walking on clouds. There were SO many students, twelve spinning most of the time plus the two instructors. A new guy came, and 변재원 Byeon Jaewon, the assistant instructor spent a lot of time on him and 지수 Jisu, the beginner girl. I got more time from the instructor, 이종휘 Yi Jonghui, than I did last week. And I finally achieved a perfect form spin! The move that I did awkwardly wrong at the training camp for a week is now correct, and right as he told us to take our sangmo off for the end of class, I spun around six times with correct form. He wants me to do 50 consecutive spins next week. I had really better practice at home! I wonder about 구철회 Gu Cheolhoi’s instruction. The way I figure it, these guys gave me a lot more constant feedback and correction than I ever got from Gu Cheolhoi (admittedly there are two of them), and there is a mirror (I can really see what my motion looks like, at least out of the corner of my eye) and I’m accustomed to the sangmo now, but still, how could an entire week of class before not get a real 왜사위 Waesaui (spelling?) motion of out me, and yet in two classes here I can do it? I find that both of them are extremely perceptive about body mechanics. They can see that my weight is moving differently and give simple corrections
“You’re bending your knees and moving forward a little, which is cancelling part of the swing” Jaewon told me, “try to feel where your butt is, almost like you’re sticking it out a little, that will make sure you don’t move it (and your body) forward as you bend your knees.”
Jonghui instructs me “your swing is too equal, you go 1,2,1,2,1,2” he shows me his arm as a pendulum with a very measured equal speed “you need to have an accent” the pendulum falls downward with gravity and springs up just a bit faster than it went down. Later he points out that I move like I’m in the military, too stiff. “You’re so flexible, why not move that way?”
My knees, especially the right, were screaming by the end of class, although I had my new stretchy knee joint guard on.

Since I just Photoshopped these if I inserted them in last month's correct spot you'd never see them: Sangmo shots from the training center final performance and a shot of our class (one of the students took it, another student was sick that day). Instructor Gu Cheolhoi in the center back in black.

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