of bodies and belts
always hustlin’. always movin’ between art and martial art and children and housework. always checkin’ my energy level, my health, my home, my obligations. never on top of everything all the time, though on the whole, i feel better about all of it.
my body has been annoying me here and there. it’s hard for me to pretend i am surprised about any of that. the strain and stress i put on my body is above and beyond the norm, obviously. much of it is healthy, but some of it will have to be curtailed as i grow older. maybe in ten years time, tai chi will be the martial art for me. meanwhile, i deal with jammed fingers, fractured ribs, pulled muscles, and the like. sometimes it’s the little things that really irk you. the nerve thing in my back/shoulder/arm/hand is, on the whole, better than it’s been in a long time. i’m grateful for that. tho right now i’ve got this annoying little thing in my neck. some kind of pulled muscle that catches when i swallow, or yawn. and i aggravated my old busted rib last week in sparring drills, taking (and giving out) a pounding to the ribcage. i don’t know what happened, exactly. all i know is that after that night, there is a quarter-sized spot on my rib where if you press with a finger, a jolt of pain leaps out…but the rest of my side is fine. there’s a general pain in that spot, too, when i stretch and such. but at least it is not debilitating, like when i first injured it. honestly, i was surprised to feel it act up. surely, the rib must be healed by now. in which case i might have an injury that acts up any time i get hit in the ribs. which is not a great thing to have! especially as a martial artist. oh well. like i said, i can’t pretend i didn’t have these things comin’!
still, pain and discomfort hurts just as much as when you’ve went out and courted it as it does when you did nothing to bring it your way. that massage and chiropractic attention i’ve been dreaming about for at least half a year now is sounding better all the time. i think for my birthday i will hook myself up. those are two appointments i just can’t wait to make.
AND as you can see by the photo above, i’ve finished my black belt reports. wooo! handed ‘em in a few days ago, which felt great, and did a lot to put my mind at ease. i didn’t care for them hanging over my head, and wanted to hand them in with time to spare—not at the last moment. (i think there’s about a month to go, still, before they are due.) i’ve done that many times in school…but this is a degree that, i dare to presume, i’ll be prouder of than my college degrees. i mean, come on: school is a rather easy system to figure out. there is really is no similar mechanism to figure out and game in martial arts, should that be a person’s desire or tendency. everything shows up clear. in college, cramming for a test can produce results that look indistinguishable from a test taken by someone who studied all the year through. but in martial arts (at least in my experience), what work you’ve put in shows. and what work you’ve shirked, shows, too. there are no short cuts here.
so anyway, that is out of the way. i’ve been running over all the rest that will be on my black belt test, as well as all the knowledge and techniques that i’ve learned as a color belt. it’s a lot! but i’m very close to having everything memorized. the best part is i don’t really have to cram because i’ve taken my time all along the way to make sure i was paying attention to what i was learning. i have everything memorized in my body; that is, i know all my poomsae, breaking techniques, self defense, one step sparring, and kicking techniques; i can perform them. there is not one taegeuk that i’m hazy on; i can do them all, though that took me most of the time i’ve been a color belt. still, there is some mind stuff that i have to memorize, like answering random questions that a color belt will ask of me about the number of a technique, or what they need to know. like if someone came up and asked “what are my kicking techniques?” as a blue belt. or “what are my self defense moves?” (the answers here would be firstly “Kicking Technique #11: Round Kick, Spinning Heel Kick, Punch; and 12: Inside Block, Punch, Spinning Knife Hand Strike, Punch” and then, “Self Defense #11: Hair Grab, and 12: Around the Neck One Armed Grab.”) i’ve only a few that are hazy in my mind. but since i’ve been assisting instructing for a while, i’m used to leading the lower belts in these exercises, which has kept it fresh in my memory. to smooth out the rest, i’m making up some flash cards. i’ll definitely be fully ready by march. the only thing i have not practiced is breaking concrete. it would be nice to get a practice slab so i know what i’m in for. i know who to talk to to get a hold of one of these. in fact, these are things you can get from the local lumber yard, i’m pretty sure. but if i don’t get to that in time, that’s okay, too. i’m confident i can break it on test day. meanwhile, it’s just about working out. refining. conditioning. keepin’ on.
i could write some more stuff on the topic…especially on how paloma and luna are doing. but it’s about time to go get ready for a few hours at the dojang.