There is one activity that we completed this weekend which we have yet to really comment on, except in summary. If you checked out the pictures you may have seen each of us holding strange looking boards as well dozens of pieces of paper on the floor with holes punched in them.
As we previously mentioned we practiced efficiency and accuracy of technique as well as honing our focus by executing various strikes through the holes in the boards. The long board with the slots was used for spear hand strikes and the small boards with 9 holes a piece were for front punches (with a finger extended of course — not practical but you get the idea!).
I run the risk of sounding egotistical here, and please know that I don’t mean to sound like I’m “tooting my own horn” as they say (actually I hate the phrase…it’s so weird!), but I honestly did not find the exercise to be too difficult – I can’t understand why, since, nearly every task in martial arts proves itself to be difficult for me. I simply tried to put aside the thought of smashing the ends of my fingers into a 1″ thick piece of wood with little resistance. On the occasion that I missed the hole, though it certainly hurt, it was not quite as overwhelming as I had anticipated – Master Pearson pointed out that perhaps I ought be grateful that I once spent months (at his encouragement) slamming my hands into a bag filled with gun shot, a hand strengthening exercise known as iron palm training. The pain that I felt, I simply saved for later, allowing myself only to feel it after the activity was over (hence my comment about how hard it was to type with bruised fingers). Master Pearson tells us all the time, “pain is a state of mind.” All in all I rather enjoyed the drill, finding it pleasantly challenging, with just the right amount of “pain” so as to ensure better focus on the re-do! In actuality, what I found to be humorously frustrating was Master Pearson’s requirement that we bend our fingers over the edge, gripping the far side of the board after executing the punch or strike. This aspect of the drill completely eluded me and I consistently forgot to do this final step on nearly every single strike, leaving the room echoing with Master Pearson’s shouts of “Bend, Bend!” followed by the guffaws of laughter from my fellow classmates.
If you’re handy with a bandsaw, try to make some of these cut-out boards for yourself and give it a shot. At the very least you now have a bit more clarity on what those pictures were all about!
Thanks to everyone for reading and following our progress this weekend. We can’t wait to update you on our trip to see our dear friends at Ahn Taekwondo in Cincinnati, OH!