Wow, I cannot believe that a week has gone by since the last meeting of us hagsaeng naebu with Master Pearson. I do realize that a calendar week has passed, but it still feels like it was just a day or so ago. When Master Shaffer gently reminded me on Friday that I had only one day left to submit a weekly post, I was flabbergasted. I’m thankful she did because I have had some things on my mind that I wanted to post about, and I certainly want to fulfill my requirements to this group and program.
This has been a very good week for me. The coming off of another excellent meeting of the group and returning to my study of the Law of Attraction1 have both put in a better mental state and a more positive attitude and outlook. So far this week, I have noticed an increased amount of flexibility in some of my stretches and I seem to be doing much better at using my hips and putting snap into my techniques. I have also returned to reading one of my favorite martial arts books2 which has gotten me back into some of the mental aspects of martial arts. It’s been a good week.
These things encourage me that I am moving in a good direction and boost my confidence that has otherwise been somewhat low lately. Things are on the up and up, and I’m still striving to improve my fundamental techniques and gain a better understanding of them.
Among other things I have been working on, one has been practicing blocks as attacks. This is something that I have been reminded of lately by the instructors in Cincinnati, and Master Pearson has introduced this concept to me both in Taekwondo and in Kali (I think it’s called “de-fanging the snake” in Kali). Somewhere along the way I either lost my focus of on this concept. The concept of blocks that are attacks too appeals to me very much; if our blocks are also attacks, our damage dealing is more efficient and our opponents are probably going to be a bit more hesitant to throw out an attack knowing that whatever they attack with is probably going to get hurt.
Towards this end, while we are practicing our blocks in forms, there has to be a “snap” in the blocks to illustrate using the block in this way. For the readers who may be unfamiliar with this use of the word “snap,” a technique has a “chamber” (it’s starting position) an “extension” (the path along which it travels to the target) and a “snap” (the final acceleration through the target). It’s called a snap because when performed in a form, the sleeve of the uniform will make a cracking sound due to the acceleration of the technique. This demonstrates that the technique will be optimally damage dealing.
So far, I have been able to accomplish snap in lower block, knifehand block, reverse knifehand block, outside-inside block, and (to some extent) inside outside block. The hip motion, chambering, extension, and snap seems more natural to me for these techniques. I’m not saying that I have superb technique for these blocks but rather that I’m coming along in these blocks.
Blocks that I’m still trying to figure out and seem challenging to me are hand blocks, backhand blocks, and ridgehand blocks. Handblocks aren’t as bad as the others, but I seem to do them more as hooking palmheel strikes or like half-knifehand blocks; I can imagine breaking a board with them, but I’m not quite satisfied with how they feel. Perhaps I don’t understand hand blocks well enough yet. I can imagine breaking a board with a ridgehand block, but I don’t think I could do it well, nor am I yet able to get a good snap out of it yet. Backhand block still completely eludes me in terms of giving it snap and using it as an attacking motion while blocking. I have no idea how I could get enough force behind it to break a board let alone cause damage to an attacking limb. Backhand block is currently my weakest block in terms of snap; I can use it as a flowing block that can go into a grab, but not as an attack.
Also in terms of snap, I very much look forward to refining how to create final acceleration in elbow strike, backfist strike, and ridgehand strike. I especially love elbow strike, and I’ll be much better at it when I refine the snap.
There are other elements of techniques that I have been working on, but this has been my main focus. The next time I get some time with Master Pearson, I definitely need to get all these things ironed out.
1) When I speak of the Law of Attraction here, I refer mainly to the teaching of the book Ask and It Is Given compiled by Jerry and Esther Hicks. The teachings in this book are very much informed from what may be called a spiritual standpoint: one which may seem “out there” for some readers. However, the core concepts of this teaching can also be found in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich (informed by business success stories), the docu-drama What the Bleep do We Know (informed by Quantum Physics), and Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret (which I am least familiar with, but which seems to be informed by life success stories); there a myriad of flavors for this sort of teaching, and I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in learning about personal success, empowerment, of life in general to partake in this sort of study.
2) I will detail this topic in a separate post.