After some time to rest up from the session, I fondly look back at the activities we performed and the things we learned. As a whole, even though I still feel sore, in just about every way I had a tremendously positive experience at our first session. More than ever, it was impressed upon me what an amazing martial arts opportunity this is for me.

I’ve come to think of this past meeting of Ho An Seok as a martial arts intensive. In less than 24 hours we had a staggering number of classes and were always learning something; aside from a short break at night and a handful of sleeping hours, we were in class working on an activity or learning something. As Master Shaffer’s previous post describes, we hammered in three forms and would have gotten to a fourth had our cooking not taken so long. There were also many lectures and activities on mental aspects of martial arts including meditation, ceremony, breathing, and an overview of Burmese martial arts. It was like a month of classes all in one weekend – aka awesome.

Some of the activities definitely left me a bit sore. For those of you who have been reading our other posts about the weekend, you might be surprised that I found the penny exercising to be far more painful than the finger striking exercises (see Master Shaffer’s post “And we’re back . . .). All four penny exercises left the tips of my fingers sore: especially the one in which we had to move the pennies from a bowl to our cup. The bowl exercise was particularly trying because of the necessity to rapidly shoot one’s hand from beside one’s ear, into the bowl, retrieve only one penny (a lot harder than it sounds), and then place the penny in one’s cup. Though this sounds simple, I found myself stubbing my fingers a lot. As my fingers got more painful, my dexterity lessened from the pain which caused me to stub my fingers more, and this led to more pain and a downward spiral of stubbing already sore fingers. Throughout the various exercises, we have all picked up at least 800 pennies (100 per exercise); I had to pick up 1,100 pennies because I lost three of the exercises.

However, upon returning home and dropping some change out of my pocket, as I was picking up the dropped change, I noticed a heightened level of perception regarding the movements of my fingers; even the minutest angles and movements of my fingers were so clearly at the forefront of my mind that I found the task to be an event of great detail as it was so precisely and vividly experienced and I had vast control of even the slightest motions of my fingers. I can only imagine that this was indeed the point of the exercises as to hone and develop our dexterity. As the day went on and my mind moved to other things, I found the great sense of my finger movements left me, but I imagine that if I were to keep to the discipline of these penny exercises, my mind will become more in the habit of being aware of finer and more detailed movements of my digits. I very much look forward to how this will be built upon.

Going forward, I will continue to work on the homework that was given and continue practicing the forms that we learned. It is with much eager and enthusiastic anticipation that I await the arrival of the next meeting of Ho An Seok which will involve one of the bi-monthly trips to Cincinnati, Ohio. Stay tuned form more posts and reflections about Ho An Seok.

Walsh

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