Only a few more days until our big trip to Cincinnati! Though I lived there for four years and enjoyed many wonderful visits with Master Pearson at good ole 4890 Hunt Road, it was rare that I had the opportunity to make the trip with him. While I was grateful, I suppose, on the one hand because I could sit comfortably on my couch and relax while the rest of those guys endured 8 hours in the KIA Soul with their knees pressed into their chests, on the other hand, there is something very special about traveling with Master Pearson.
I don’t know if it is the distraction of the road or what, but he has a tendency to be, how shall I put it, looser with information during a road trip. The opportunity presents itself to ask almost any question martial arts related (or really just in general – I have learned a lot about life on these trips as well – as Master Pearson will reflect on some of his own profound moments and personal experiences) and get a pretty decent answer – which is saying a lot for an art and a culture that is extremely esoteric and secretive. It is rare to find Master Pearson’s students, without a notebook in hand as they squish into the dreaded KIA Soul.
This being our first road trip as Hagsaeng Naebu, I find myself wondering how it will be different if at all (probably no visit to Hofbrauhaus huh?). In reality, the exact same group of us traveled together to Cincinnati no more than two moths ago (that was the trip which sparked this whole group as a matter of fact) so one would expect the dynamics to remain the same. And yet, our teacher always has something interesting up his sleeve, so, who knows!? (maybe we’ll spend all 8 hours putting trigrams onto a movable wheel and seeing what happens when they are put together in strange patterns and combinations — I hope not! Been there, done that!).
Travel to Cincinnati recently has presented an interesting challenge for me personally. As you can imagine after living there I acquired friends and formed relationships in the Queen City. Being back but without the opportunity to socially reconnect with friends (even from within the Taekwondo school) and professors, and other people that came in and out of my life during that time, without being able to visit my favorite places (outside of Ahn’s Taekwondo of course!) is a bit sad. It’s hard to focus on martial arts and remember that that is what I came down to do when I have all that social distraction around and I struggle to maintain the appropriate attitude of dedication to whatever practice we happen to be working on.
That said, I’m really looking forward to the trip and I’m excited to see the Hamilton’s, the Begley’s and Master Newburn. I’m gearing up for hours of weapons classes, throws classes, getting Dillon through the Taegeuk forms (oy vey that will be interesting!), and Do Meditation practice, and while I may be missing my friends, I’m anticipating a very fulfilling weekend!