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Happy, Tired, Sore, Excited, Fatigued... all at the same time

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HRD Day 1: What's that in your head?

Today was the first day in the 6 day long Black Sash Conference. People have come from all over the world for the conference which is being taught by Do Joo Nim and his oldest son, Chief Master Henry Taejoon Lee. We have Black Sashes from all over California, Arizona, the East Coast, Mexico, Denmark and Italy!

If you are in a hurry and want the coolest bit of this, skip to the end. :)

The schedule posted on the above linked site got changed around a bit, so today it went like this:

9-10: Introduction and warm-ups
10-12: Jang Bong (Long staff) drills and form
2-4: Tae Guek (the Korean term for Tai Chi)
4:30-6: Techniques (joint locking, personal defence, etc)
7:30-9: Hyungs (forms)
9-10:30: Acupuncture

The practice with the staff was totally awesome, I really feel confident with my movements now. Obviously I need a ton of practice and fine tuning, but I feel at least I finally have a strong foundation on which to build. During this section, we didn't have enough room for everyone to practice, so Master Lee took us outside into the parking lot so we could spread out and swing away. :)

The Tae Guek was frickin' cool! Master Lee showed us the basic concepts involved in Tae Guek (or Tai Chi). He showed us how to convert one of our Hwa Rang Do long forms into a Tae Guek form and then told us to convert another one as our home work. *glances at the clock through tired eyes* Yeah right. Regardless, it felt so good. As we practiced the movements I could feel tingling at my finger tips which Master Lee explained is what ki feels like. I totally felt ki. I rule the universe. :)

I learned 8 new techniques (that's a fricking huge number to learn in one day. I usually learn 1 per day (2 days a week). We finished up the last of the Defense against Throws and moved on to Defense against Knives. Thankfully we don't have to practice with a real knife. :)

Then we moved onto long forms. The 4 of us who aren't Black Sashes yet grouped together and went through all of the forms we know. Kyle and I, Kim a (male) student from Denmark, and Marco a student from Italy. We kibitzed on the minor and major differences in what we learned. We asked Do Joo Nim a million questions. Very tired and sore, we moved onto the last bit.

Acupuncture. Do Joo Nim drew lots of diagrams of the body and the meridians (the pathways where energy flows through the body). He talked about Eastern philosophy and medicine. Very, very cool. Then a strange thing happened... he started handing out needles. *blink blink* Um, excuse me, but when did this class go from a lecture to a lab? Oh yeah, just now. So, he handed out little packages that each contained 5 pre-sterlized needles and a needle sleeve. A plastic little tube that helps you hold the needle as you push it in. DJN shows us how to load the needle intot he sleeve and plops a needle into his hand. Then says, "Now you try." *blink blink* Uh... ok then. I don't know how many of you have every voluntarily pushed a needle into your own skin, but it is an interesting mental event. In the needle went and weird feeling it was. Then we pulled that needle out and he tells us to lay down and close our eyes. Breathe slowly and deeply..... slowly and deeply. "Are you sleepy yet?" he says, answered in the affirmative. "Good, we wake you up now." Then he proceeds to show us a point in the very center of the top of the head and shows us how to put a needle there which will stimulate our minds and wake us back up. You've GOT to be kidding me. I've been doing this for 5 minutes and you showed me once and you want me to put a needle in my head? No, no, no... of course not. We have to put the needle in someone ELSE'S .... head. Kim is a brave man, he volunteered to be the first victim and I put a needle in his head. DJN said I got the placement correct, but the angle was a little off, so he wiggled it into the proper place. We moved on to watch DJN put needles into people to show other special places. It was freakish, to be standing in a sea of people, all with needles sticking out of their heads. It was like we were all aliens.

Freakish and scary and oh so fricking cool. It's 12:35am and thankfully I don't have to be at the dojang until 10am. Calgon, take me away.

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