Friday, March 4, 2011

March Already

March 1st, 2011
It was a holiday, so no 상모 sangmo class, which was good, because I felt pretty darn sick. Tried to get computing done, but not as much progress as I'd hoped.

March 2nd, 2011
I came back to 대구 Daegu for more 합기도 Hapkido. In the morning, on the train and even up until around 6 pm I felt pretty much normal, then I started to feel really ucky again. When I got to the area near the hapkido studio I realized I had enough time to stop and see the 택견 Taekkyon instructor that I learned with the longest.

Tangent: I started Taekkyon in 1998, I moved across town, so I switched to this guy, 정석재 Jeong Seokjae, in late 1999. I like him a lot. He's extremely humble and sweet, but his skills are –amazing-. Incidentally, the guy I started with quit teaching in maybe 2000 or 2001. I kept doing Taekkyon with Jeong Seokjae (and started teaching under him) until 2003. I took a year off (because I was out of Korea) and continued to train Taekkyon starting in 2004 in Seoul, but when that instructor quit (in 2005), I ran the place myself until I finished my MA in 2006. Tangent finished.

I went to see my old Taekkyon instructor, who was practicing on his own when I got there, and we had a great talk for an hour until a class of his students showed up. He looked like he hadn't aged a day. He's also formed a sort of demonstration/performance group for Taekkyon and they've started to participate in various events. He still is sort of struggling to keep enough students (Taekkyon is Korea's most traditional martial art, but it really lacks name recognition and visibility, not to mention that in general Koreans are turning away from the martial arts) but told me he had nothing he'd rather do (making a lot of jokes about wasn't he supposed to worry about money at his age and wasn't he still living life as though he was a twenty year old? But honestly he still looks like he's in his twenties, unless you look really closely (he has a son who is the same age as Hyeonggeon).

(And, random internet person, if you want to learn Taekkyon in Daegu, you only have 3 schools to choose from, I'd recommend this one, the other two schools are run by his students, anyway: In Korean: 053 586 3033). But if you are a random internet searcher for Hapkido schools in Daegu my school, 한양대 신라 합기도 Hanyangdae Shilla Hapkido is in 용산시장 Yongsan Market, nearest 이곡역 Igok Station on Line 2 (same directions for Taekkyon), and you can call the instructor (김유림 Kim Yurim) for more info (in Korean: 010 3535 2245). Obviously I highly recommend the place and the instructor, since I've been learning from him since before most of his Hapkido students were born.)

Subway photo on my cell phone in Daegu- I was struck by how the two friends had their hair cut exactly the same.


I practiced a lot of staff twirling and helped teach the classes. Unfortunately by the time that 박형건 Bak Hyeonggeon showed up (he's back in school now so he can't get off too early) I was feeling weak and listless but trying to convince myself I did not. After all, I had to practice. I managed only a little kicks before I decided I didn't have the energy, so mostly we just practiced the belt and cane and response to 호신술 self-defense moves stuff. I didn't do any falls, at all. I dragged myself back to Georgy and 진홍 Jinhong's house on the last subway of the day.

March 3rd, 2011
I woke up feeling totally lousy, and barely dragged myself out of the blankets periodically to drink some water and use the bathroom. Eventually (although I had hoped to hit the downtown area before going to Hapkido) I went to the E-mart next to Georgy and Jinhong's house and picked up a snack (which I had no appetite for) and some juice (which did seem attractive). I made it to Hapkido around 5 and the 관장님 instructor immediately told me to teach this kid who'd just started while he taught the class. So, I didn't get an opportunity to whine about feeling sick. I was busy teaching straight through until the 7:30 jump rope class, at which time I practiced a little on my own. Hyeonggeon showed up and we went through a few moves, but after I threw him twice in a row I felt so worn out I collapsed, then curled up on a mat and slept just to the side of all the noise and commotion.

After my nap I used almost all of my remaining strength on rehearsing my falls, ran through all the partnered moves with Hyeonggeon (not full speed or full strength however) and then we co-taught the 10 pm class. The class, we'd decided the day before, needed to go back and re-learn everything from the white belt, but learn it precisely this time. The students in the class are mostly 2nd degree blackbelt, and in the upper levels of middle school or in high school, but because they learned white belt when they were in elementary school, they didn't really learn precisely. More like they went through the motions well enough, but if Hyeonggeon or I grab them and say "get away" they can't. They just try to pull (partially afraid to be too aggressive on an instructor, this being Korean culture), or half-heartedly execute a hold-break, but they don't actually properly apply the techniques that they've been taught. Not even the girl who is the tallest member of the class (getting close to 6 feet, a giant in Korea with a strong build) or the boy who has to weigh 75 kilos (at least most of which is not fat) could get away from me. So we lined everyone up into the grabber and the grabbed and Hyeonggeon and I ran through about five moves with them making them practice again and again until the other person really couldn't hold on, or really was having their joint locked.

When I got back to Georgy and Jinhong's, only Jinhong was awake, but we haven't had a chance to have a nice talk, just the two of us, for months, so that was kind of nice even though I was pretty sleepy.


March 4th, 2011
In the morning I lolled around Jinhong and Georgy's, laughing too much over Georgy's new favorite site "damn you autocorrect" or some such name. Some of them really are funny.

The driver of the bus back to Seoul brought me a coffee when we were at the rest area/ bathroom break halfway back to Seoul. How sweet is that? The bus company is called 중앙고속 or Jungang Express, however they've taken to using their internet ID as their primary English name. This is amusingly Jabus (JungAng Bus). I just wish they were using like a dreadlocked head holding a giant spliff for their mascot instead of a running lion. It would definitely set their image apart from the other major bus companies (금호 Geumho (they spell it Kumho which is neither M-R of NGR, grr) and 통양 Tongyang are the other two companies that run over the entire country, though there are also regional bus lines that only service certain areas).

After I got home I spent the rest of the evening wishing I felt better and working on the computer.

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