My biggest surprise when I started to practice Kumdo in Seoul is thatI didn't actually get hammered as much as I thought I would be, until yesterday.
Because of my schedule I was going to the 7.30pm class with mostly beginners and some more experienced people. Yesterday I decided to go to the 9pm practice. Little did I know that I would end up drunk my brain out with master Seo, 7th Dan Kyoshi, who I mentioned in my previous post (member of the Korean national team twice and highly respected in the Kumdo community). But more on that later. All of the people who were practicing yesterday were fast and acurate. Most of the time I felt like a dummy, receiving whatever was coming. At some point I actually felt like an open book that was read over and over again and ended up, well, striken with a stick! Then I fought master Seo with who I applied as much seme as I could and then tried to look for openings. If our oponents are houses or buildings with doors and windows (openings), then master Seo is Taipei 101 without any doors or windows. How could I get in there? So the beginning of the fight was a lot of moving a little forward and then backward, let, right, moving the shinais. Then the strikes started, I mean his strikes, not mine. He came on with more power and more speed, a few tsuki and quite a few shinai under my arm pit or around my Do when I was trying to attack.
If anyone in Guatemala sees my ass, could you please be kind to post it to 'Songmu Kumdo Club, Seokchon, Seoul, South Korea'? I would really appreciate it as I expected at least it would be given back to me on a plate. Not this time.
Overall it was an outstanding practice. I am strengthening my seme and adjusting my distances. It is still all wrong but the few people with who I practice at my dojang are giving me lots of challenges and good advices. Later on, we all went for a drink with master Cha, master Seo and other dojang masters. We had some 'bottoms up' and challenged each other by drinking. I learned that, at the sake of my stomach, if you return the cup you were given after drinking it, hoping to be polite by giving the cup, you are actually counter challenging the person who WILL be kind enough to challenge you again. And when that person is Seoul's Kumdo association's president, then you're in trouble, you know that the next day, geting up will be the next challenge. Also, when master Seo taps the side of your almost full cup with a bottle, ready to serve you more, there is no way around it, you have to drink it all and then be ready to receive more.
I had an amazing time yesterday but today was such a difficult day and the prospect of visiting my girlfriend's family for the lunar new year and its over drinking times does not sound that appealing to me. Don't get me wrong, it's gonna be great, but my stomach might get on strike!
I hope that all of you find what you seek in your kendo. Nowadays, I am looking to get into Korean society and find a little bit of peace within myself through constant refinment of my skills. It is a long process but such a rewarding one. I feel lucky to be around so many good practitioners already and look forward to deepen my relationship with them. I wish you all an excellent lunar new year and success in life, relationships, business and kendo!
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