Post from the Road

Cincinnati…49 miles away. We’ve been in the car now for about 7 and a half hours and here’s what we’ve already done…
– Played with our balls – not as gross as it sounds (see below).
– Planned programmatic and administrative aspects of our upcoming Black Belt Winter Retreat
– Reviewed and memorized pressure points along the lung, heart, large intestine, and small intestine meridians.
– Passed pressure point quizzes with flying colors
– Listened to an “interesting” rendition of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War until our internet cut out…no wictory for us Bulwards
– Presented our homework that was assigned two weeks ago at our last meeting (the book reading)
– Discussed the evolution of forms in Taekwondo
– Read this blog post aloud to the car

Don’t worry be happy: Have you ever seen those Chinese worry balls? What do you think their purpose and function is? Maybe you thought they were some mystical healing tool or perhaps just a cool adornment on your desk? I bet you never considered the possibility that they could be elements of torture, by which I mean tools to increase hand and finger dexterity. Instead of using the traditional “worry balls” like you see in the picture, Master Pearson decided to give us an extra challenge and instead passed out golf balls (two per person). His drill consisted of four, 15 minute rotations, during which we mastered (and I use that term extremely loosely) the art of passing the balls around in our palms without allowing them to clank into one another. Why did the golf balls provide an additional challenge, you ask? After all a golf ball is almost identical in size to the traditional worry balls, and yet, you must account for the hundreds of dimples dotting its surface. This factor significantly increased the amount of friction and resistance and made it nearly impossible to push the balls around each other. With some practice though, each of us developed our own favorite technique (mine was to put my hand palm down against my leg and use that for a little extra help – this was not received kindly). Each round we either changed hands or changed directions, so yeah, check your math…we did this drill for an hour!! As with most of Master Pearson’s tasks, this exercise was significantly harder than we had anticipated. A few years ago I broke my wrist while working at a summer camp in the “middle of nowhere” Ontario, CA. The clinic there set my bones extremely poorly and my wrist has never been the same since. Without much wrist flexibility I found that the balls kept popping out of my hands and flying about the vehicle, which didn’t earn me any props from the driver (AKA Master Pearson) – he kept threatening to re-start the clock, but fortunately it didn’t come to that.

After the dexterity drill ended, we took a few hours to discuss our upcoming Black Belt Winter Retreat. We can’t believe that this is our 20th annual retreat! It’s going to amazing and we all feel really privileged to have a hand in the planning. We also broached the subject of using one of the lectures at the retreat to give a presentation on Hagsaeng Naebu and inviting our classmates to apply to this program, so who knows, there may be a few more of us soon.

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. Master Pearson asked us to work on some pressure points so we spent the next hour or so pushing on our arms till they ached and quizzing each other on which point was which. It was really fun and I realized that pressure points aren’t quite the intimidating mental obstacle that I had once thought. After our stop at the infamous GOASIS rest stop and gas station in Ashland Ohio (Mile Marker 186 on Highway 71!) Master Pearson sought to educate us with an audio book of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War. The book is fascinating but perhaps its wisdom might have been better conveyed to us silly uncultured Americans by a reader who’s English language skills were a bit more polished. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one who was relieved when the 3G cut out on Master Pearson’s I-phone.

Finally we arrived in Cincy and met our hosts at their Taekwondo School. We were exhausted but rest was still many many hours away (more to come on that!). It’s good to be at Ahn’s again…thank you for having us and thank you for reading!


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