February 10th, 2011
I had a frustrating morning. After a bit of work on the 나비사 nabisa move (which is getting very fluid), I was assigned to work with 범준 Beomjun on steps. I got stuck on the second step we tried, I just could not get the timing right and it frustrated the heck out of me the rest of the morning. REALLY frustrated me. It seemed so simple, and I understood what I was doing wrong, yet… After lunch all the students with high enough skills met and had a mini group concert in the dirt expanse between the two main teaching buildings. I joined in and learned how much harder it is to do nabisa when you are timing it to the music and the other 상모 sangmo people, while being too close to each other so 지용 Jiyong's ribbon kept smacking me, with a pesky wind that kept trying to snatch the ribbons and take them out of the course we'd set them on. It was not easy. Nor were the other spins that I did, or combination spins, but the challenges I've named here are pretty much what challenged with all of the moves. Fortunately 진영 Jinyeong was at the front of the sangmo group and she knew what to do with each musical cue.
In the afternoon after everyone stopped playing it was starting to snow (it never really got going) but 이재정 Yi Jaejeong had been promising us all week that he'd cook us a bunch of chicken (it took people various amounts of time to realize he meant eggs). So we boiled eggs over an outdoor fire, spinning while waiting. Jaejeong taught us this really interesting way to peel an egg. You take a bit off the shell at each end; then you blow really hard in one end. The whole shell just slips right off. Totally wild. He's very sweet but he's also quite Korean in his teaching methods. When students are roughhousing for just for fun, he'll hit them. That sounds bad to American ears. Hmmm, how can I explain. It's funny, for one thing. Everyone laughs a lot, even when he's slapping their wrist with two fingers as hard as he can. None of it really truly causes any physical distress (except possibly the wrist slapping when it happens too much, but it only happens too much if people have been losing games and stuff like that. Today's games included a relay race while spinning the sangmo. Things like that. It's sort of affectionate.
Photo of Jiwon and Jeonghwa from the Hallym University team and of course, me. Not sure I like the treatment i did on these photos though.
Awesome instructor Yi Jaejeong
Uiyeong (yes, this is a woman)
My afternoon practice was MUCH more successful, I immediately nailed the steps from the morning, and started working on hitting the 소고 sogo while doing nabisa. Jaejeong definitely teaches people really fast. He doesn't make anyone perfect a move before they can move to the next move. I think this is because he feels that teaching us the basics of a lot will let us have more to practice on our own later, when we can polish things. But of course I worry that people don't realize how different their move is from someone like Beomjun's move—we don't have mirrors in the room we're in. I also think Jaejeong gets bored and wants to avoid student boredom as well. But I could be wrong. Anyway, when I had class with 구철회 Gu Cheolhoi last summer he didn't teach people more than two moves in a week. And in Seoul with 이종휘 Yi Jonghui he definitely nitpicks each move before he allows anyone a chance to try something new. In 5th week of the winter session Jinyong was studying with Yi Jonghui and he studied the whole week and only worked on 양사 yangsa and 자반 jaban (giant jumping spinning move) but I suspect he worked on the latter without Jonghui around. He's been learning that move since last summer. Jaejeong keeps saying "it has to be interesting! This class has to be fun!" Jinyong thinks this is different than the way he used to teach, that he's mellowed out a lot and lets us goof off a lot. Of course there is also the factor of the space (size of space for the number of students) and the total number of students the teacher has to divide his (her) time between.
Our entire class (except Minsu who left on Wednesday). Click on the photo and it'll get larger
After class we had a special 민요 minyo session. The minyo teacher was very young, she taught us 성주풀이 Seongju Puli. Or rather she taught the chorus and one verse, the shortest one. After leading everyone through the song, she started calling people out to sing it on their own. 박주동 Bak Judong was practicing the song starting last night, so he volunteered to sing right off the bat. At the very end she called on me, but I flat out refused. I will do a lot that makes me look silly (like the sangmo move with my hair last night) but I will not sing absolutely horribly in public.
After dinner we had one more sangmo practice. Everything I'm doing is getting pretty smooth and nice, but I have a long way to go before I will look good in performance. I ran out of energy half way through the practice, though, and didn't even get on the case of the other people who were talking instead of practicing.
We're getting visitors today. 다원 Dawon from week 3 came, and then later after the last practice 태강 Tae'gang showed up. They both brought food and presents for the group. 뒤풀이 duipuli was pretty normal, just drank a bit of 막걸리 makgeolli and tried hard to circulate to have a last few minutes with each groups of students that included someone I'd gotten close to during the week. I try hard to talk to everyone, or give everyone a chance to talk to me if they want to take it, and I think I did an excellent job, socially, during this week. On the other hand I'm physically exhausted after battling a cold for the whole week while practicing sangmo which is intense and sweat-inducing.