Friday, April 25, 2014

V is for... and Celebrate the Small Things

V is for Vertical

Tang Soo Do Moo Duk Kwan is performed on ones feet but I've gotten comments throughout this month about the proposed likelihood of that given the difficulty of some of the forms and techniques I've discussed.  So today I'm going to review some basic tips on how to stay vertical while doing techniques.

These are general tips and tricks which I believe would be applicable regardless of what particular style of martial art one were doing.

1) Breath- There's far more complex reasons for this (meridians, pressure points and physiology I won't get into) but the most basic reason to pay attention to breath is for balance.  We inhale on the chamber and exhale on the attack- whether it's a punch, kick, sweep, what-have-you.  In forms we inhale during the transition and exhale when we hit the move.  This affords us power, protection (that physiology I mentioned) and, most importantly, helps up keep our head over our hips, where it's supposed to be.

2) Eye contact- Another trick for any good technique is to focus your gaze on a single point.  When practicing on a person or a target this is relatively easy- you look where you're striking.  But when learning a form or a one-step technique for the first time most people (myself included) look down at the floor.  We're thinking about the next move, trying to turn our hips and otherwise occupying our mind thinking about the technique.  Not surprisingly, when you look down your body tends to go down.  So when we practice our forms and techniques we have to constantly remind our students (and ourselves) to look in the direction our technique is supposed to go and focus on a single point.  This combined with that all-important breath will keep you vertical.

3) Change the plane of attack- When spinning we tend to over-rotate which will force us to lose our balance.  When moving forward we might gain too much momentum and have trouble stopping.  When balancing on one foot we tend to tilt.  Something that helps with all of these is change the geometrical plane.  For example, when balancing on one foot (think Jin do) we try to think about our vertical energy pulling us up so that we don't tilt on the horizontal plane.  When spinning we explode into the move on a north-south orientation to help us stop on a dime.  And when moving forward we try to think about our base foot or ready hand snapping back at the same speed that we're throwing our attacking hand with (that equal and opposite force I was talking about yesterday).  By mentally focusing on a different plane, our body tends to remain vertical.

And of course, the number one way to remain vertical while performing any kind of technique?  Practice.  None of us look very good the first time we do something, as a general rule.  Like everything that requires some skill, regular practice is required to perform these techniques at a high level.  Great martial artists have that in common with all greats of any variety (writers included)- they practice all the dang time.

And now it's time again to celebrate Friday with our friend Viklit!

This week I've got one super-awesome thing to celebrate: I'm visiting my super-awesome friend!
One of my BFFs from college lives in Jersey and, like me, has a busy life.  Subsequently, we don't get to see each other too much (even though Jersey really isn't all that far away).  We usually only see each other 1-2 times a year.  This weekend is one of those times.  I'm driving up this afternoon and crashing with her and her husband until Sunday night.  The plan includes an amazing restaurant or two, a museum of some-kind, board games with friends and a pottery show.  Not to mention tons of incredibly wonderful conversation.

As Friday has drawn near I've been getting more and more excited and by the time I actually arrive I anticipate that I'll be vibrating out of my car with giddiness.  And then I will bear-hug my friend into oblivion and the weekend will commence.  It's gonna be so awesome!

What about you all?  Fun things this weekend?  Rocking the A to Z?  Let me know what you're up to in the comments, and happy Friday!


  1. Woohoo enjoy the weekend! Catching up with friends is bound to be fun.

  2. Have a great weekend! Sounds like a lot of fun. :)

  3. Suzanne- It sure is! Thanks for stopping by!

    Madeline- You, too!

  4. Makes sense to look in the direction of your movement.
    Have a fun weekend with your friend!

  5. Sounds like a fantastic weekend - have fun!

  6. The most important part would definitely be to practice. That's true of a lot of things.

    I hope you have a great weekend with your friend! My husband has family coming in from out-of-state, so that's how I'll be spending my weekend.

  7. Alex- It does, and yet we so frequently forget. Or at least I do...

    T- Thank you! I will!

    L.G.- That sounds fun, too! Enjoy it!

  8. I'm no good at deception; my eyes almost always go exactly where they shouldn't. But then again, I'm no good at combat either!

  9. Hope you have a wonderful weekend with your friend!

  10. I hope you have a fantastic weekend with your friend! Made me smile to read of your plans as I just met up with my BFF from college a few weekends ago after not seeing each other for far too long. There's nothing like old friends. Have fun!

  11. Hope you have lots of fun with your friend, Beverly! Can't wait till you tell us all about it next week.


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