You Just Kata Do It!

I can hear the groans already from my bad pun. Moving on....

So I've had a lot that I've been working on since my last post. From the title, you may be able to tell what form my thought patterns have been consumed with. Call them what you like. Kata, forms, patterns, hyung, tul, or poomsae -- that's been my main area of concentration.

In my style of Tae Kwon Do, we have three basic forms and five advance forms before you get to the black belt form Hwa-Rang. I hope I spelled that right...  4th advance is what I call "my" form, as it is the one I am required to demonstrate for my test. I will most likely be asked to demonstrate everything I know, including all of the forms, but 4th advance is the most important for me to nail at the moment.

I know my forms well enough, it's just a matter of polishing them until they shine. What I mean by polishing is that the forms need not to be just technically correct, but they must also have proper snap, good timing, smooth transitions from one stance to another, and a dozen other technical things that I'm trying to keep straight in my head. All that, but also the addition of the constructive criticism and suggestions that I receive from my instructors. Believe me when I say that this is hard work. I have to think about this, but also try not to think about them at the same time. Make sense? Well, in a straightforward way, what I mean is that I need to know the forms inside out -- so well that I could do them in my sleep. Or blindfolded.

Blindfolded. Now that's an idea. I have tried practicing forms with my eyes closed before, which presents a challenge in itself. But never blindfolded when I wouldn't have the temptation to peek. I might have to try that this week.

Anyway, I have been getting a lot of experience with practicing on a variety of surfaces which I will give the pros and cons of.

Away from class, the most common surface is carpet. Rough, awful carpet. I can't stand it. I must be a little too heavy on my feet, because I keep getting carpet burn on the side of my big toe and the ball of my foot when practicing. I think I'm dragging my feet too much. That and my feet keep catching when I slide forward. I can't think of any pros to training on carpet. Maybe if you're only doing hand technique drills and kicks, but not forms. Ugh.

Smooth, waxed gym floor concrete. This is the floor that we have in our dojang. I've been training on this type of floor for years, and I cannot find many cons to it. The only horrors of this type of surface would be in the following situation. Imagine that your martial art class is meeting in the gym/lunchroom area for a church that also houses a school. Picture what training on a lunchroom floor means. Even with sweeping, there's still going to be who knows what on that floor. Now look at your feet and groan with horror and disgust at the layer of black gunk stuck to the underside of your foot. Got all of that firmly in your head? Good. I'll leave it at that.

Regular Concrete. Ie: the concrete of your driveway. Not one of my favorite surfaces. Either you have to put on shoes, or try desperately not to scrape a layer of skin off the bottom of your feet. I'd rather deal with the former, so that's what I've been doing. Most of my at home practice takes place at the bottom of my driveway, which a portion of is at a slight incline. Not ideal, but I make do.

Grass. Again, not my favorite, but better than carpet and regular concrete in my mind. The pros? A somewhat more forgiving surface than concrete. The cons? Grass + dirt + rain = muddy mess. Grass can also be slippery and have hidden rocks and other nasties. Don't forget the bugs and for me, the multitude of mosquitoes that seek me out when I take to the grass at my home.

Lineoleum and Wood. I haven't had much experience with these. I would like to find a place where I could train on the latter, especially if it's a smooth hardwood floor.

I didn't realize I was going to spend so much time talking about training surfaces. It's getting late and I have three classes tomorrow, so I'm going to call it a night.


Perpetual Beginner said...

The problem with concrete, polished or not, is that as you get older, it's very hard on the joints. There's no give to the floor. My favorite of the floors I've worked on has been the padded puzzle floors. They're firm enough for good footing and turns, but have enough give to be kind to feet and joints, and even to allow for most throws.

Felicia said...

My home dojo has a wood (gym) - floor, which I love. The sister dojo where I trained twice a week for two years was concrete with a very hard rug on top, which I hated; the room we did forms in was linoleum over concrete, which was even worse. Like PB said, concrete is tough on the joints (especially the knees - ouch!) as you get...umm...wiser :-). I tend to slide on mats and puzzle floors - especially in sparring kicks, but prefer them to concrete for sure.

We share our dojo with an after-school program, so I am too familiar with the muck that sticks to your feet - bleck!! I carry baby wipes in my gear bag to get as much of it off as I can before I slide my socks and shoes back on...

Have fun with your forms :-)

CrimsonPhoenix said...

You both make good points on the concrete. I hadn't considered the wear that they could have on the joints. I like the sound of the puzzle mats and the hardwood floor though. The puzzle mats we have only cover enough area for a few people to work out on at a time. I would love to have them spread across the entire gym. Oh, the baby wipes are a good idea! I tend to just slip my socks on and then wash-- er...scrub my feet off at home...yuck.