Hanmadang 2006 this week

This coming week is the Hanmadang 2006 at the Kukkiwon in Seoul. I will try to go, although my work schedule is a bit longer than this time last year, so I can probably only go for one afternoon during the event. I will take my camera and endeavor to finally finish the film and get pix of all events to date uploaded here.

Hang on...

There is also a great collection of martial arts tutorials I discovered recently on YouTube. The poster is Erle Montaigue, a.k.a. 'Moontagu' and it seems he is an Australian based in Wales, UK. His styles include chiefly Tai Chi and Wing Chun. His commentary on some of the videos is really informative as he guides you step by step along particular moves.
Visit his YouTube channel here.
Visit his website here.



Something I need to work on - memorizing the South Korean national anthem. Can't remember, though, whether I would have to sing 1 verse or all of them. Here it is:

1 동해 물과 백두산이 마르고 닳도록
하느님이 보우하사 우리나라 만세

Donghae mulgwa Baekdusani mareugo daltorok
Haneunimi bouhasa urinara manse

Until the East Sea's waters and Baekdu Mountain are dry and worn away,
Heaven protects, our nation eternal!

2 남산 위에 저 소나무 철갑을 두른 듯
바람서리 불변함은 우리 기상일세

Namsan wie jeo sonamu cheolgabeul dureun deut
Baram seori bulbyeonhameun uri gisangilse

As that pinetree atop Namsan is wrapped in armour,
wind or frost, our spirit is unchangeable.

3 가을 하늘 공활한데 높고 구름 없이
밝은 달은 우리 가슴 일편단심일세
Ga-eul haneul gonghwalhande nopgo gureum eopsi
Balgeun dareun uri gaseum ilpyeondansimilse

Autumn sky, a vast void high and cloudless,
the bright moon is our heart, undivided and true.

4 이 기상과 이 맘으로 충성을 다하여
괴로우나 즐거우나 나라 사랑하세
I gisanggwa i mameuro chungseong-eul dahayeo
Goerouna jeulgeouna nara saranghase

With this spirit and this mind, give all loyalty,
in suffering or in joy, love the country.

무궁화 삼천리 화려강산
대한사람 대한으로 길이 보전하세

Mugunghwa samcheolli hwaryeogangsan
Daehansaram daehaneuro giri bojeonhase

Rose of Sharon, three thousand li of splendid rivers and mountains,
Great Han People, let us long preserve the Great Han.

Countdown continues...

I've just completed my second week of the eight week training build up to the second Dan Taekwondo test. The first week was fine, but all of a sudden, the last week felt so exhausting. I struggled to get through a double bout of Hapkido and Taekwondo each day. I'm pretty delirious by the time I get to work at 7:30am each morning - nevermind, as my student's commitments to my English classes are often not too inspirational themselves! I also have to contend with our workplace's Halloween Party which will clash with Taekwondo class. I think the Halloween Party is the worst moment as far as work goes. It was fine for kindergarten, but it's pretty twisted to do face painting, sip cola and pass the pumpkin among adults. Thank Ghost, at least it's just one day of the year...

Anyway, the build up to test countdown has a very strange feel to it. I'm no where near as anxious as for the first Dan test, and I'm not even doing extra exercises such as going out running as I had done for the first Dan. My build up is not the best physically, but I think I have gained some psychological wisdom about the whole procedure. Furthermore, this time around, I have to aim towards learning the Korean national anthem. I'm up to line 3 so far.


Apparently, I'm a black belt...

(Photos re. World Poomsae Championships and Korean Open will probably be ready in the 1st week of November, after I finish my camera film at the Hanmadang!)

Unbeknown to me, I am apparently already a Hapkido black belt. I'm not sure when or how it happened, but I suspect it was when I handed over the whooping W250,000 (=US$250) fee with an extra W100,000 month's class fee.

The confusion is really confusing.

Under normal schedule of one belt promotion per month, I should have achieved black belt rank next month. However, as I felt I wasn't of sufficient ability to be promoted that fast, I was planning on attaining the rank perhaps some time early next year. I needed more time to polish my falls and self defense moves. They are okay, but not sharp enough to be worthy of black belt in my opinion. However, all that schedule changed, and I 'had to' take the black belt test this month.

My Korean is not very good, but it's been good enough to communicate with the Hapkido instructor thus far. After discussion about taking the black belt test, I was of the idea that the instructor said the black belt test would be scheduled for the 22nd of October. But last night, when mentioning to the instructor that I didn't think I could be ready to perform the self-defense part of the test to a sufficient level by next Saturday, the instructor simply told me that it didn't matter. I had already 'passed the test' and there was no test on the 22nd, and he didn't know what I was referring to as far as that test date was concerned. Well, I was pretty surprised at all this information which contradicted the schedule I was given for the 22nd. I don't know when and where I was apparently graded, and what on earth was I doing, coming in to train for two hours every day and all through our week long Chuseok vacation for this test I could swear I was told would be on the 22nd???

I simply PAID to pass. Of that, I'm quite sure. So, it's a bit of an anti-climax and I'm not sure how I should continue with the Hapkido class until the year is up. Should I just continue to train my heart out for the next couple of months to try and make up for the gap I feel is missing in truly justifying myself as a Hapkido black belt?

It's not so straightforward to continue the Hapkido on a daily basis for another couple of months, as also I have started a new Taekwondo class - NEW news is that I'm going to take the Taekwondo 2nd Dan test in December! - and have moved into a 'Goshiwon' accommodation (done so in order to compensate for the expense shelled out for the Hapkido black belt), where I can expect just three or four hours of sleep per night because of all the noise and heat in that place. On top of that I have to get up at 6am to go to work. I've survived the first week of this 15 hour training schedule a week, but I don't know how long I can keep such a routine up without something giving. Especially, if I get some serious cold at this stage - many of my students are already sick with the changing of the seasons here - then it could spell disaster.

I apparently have to at least attend some ceremony in November which sees the official handing over of the black belt certificate in front of all the kids' parents. For the price I paid for that piece of paper, I'm expecting that it will be inlaid with gold and diamond trimmings!

So, I'm also back at the Taekwondo gym. I will take the 2nd Dan test at the Kukkiwon (something I just couldn't let pass while I'm still in Korea) in December. I'm not going to Elite Hwarang gym. Their class time of 9pm-11pm is unmanageable when working full-time. Instead, I've found some backstreet basement outfit just 2 minutes walk from my home, called 'Chung Woo' gym. They have an unusually early class time of 5:30, but this fits in fine with my work and Hapkido schedule. The training is also only half as demanding of that of Elite Hwarang, but again, it's more manageable with my schedule. The students in that gym are all black belts, except one or two, but there is a vast difference between their ability and that of the Elite Hwarang students. The Chung Woo students have little technique in their poomsae and seem to wear out pretty quickly. 20 sits ups is the norm. NOT the 200 of Elite Hwarang!

Btw, I the Hapkido black belt is from the International Hapkido Federation.


Martial Cuts

A new video. I wanted to see how the webcam would capture outdoor shots, so I took my laptop up to the rooftop and kicked ass. Quality and speed capture is not so great, but it's just a sampler of what I can do.


For reasons that will become apparent later, I will be taking the Hapkido black belt exam in less than 3 weeks from now despite not being entirely prepared for it. Stay tuned.