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June 7, 2009 Wyoming Black Belt Class
at Master Martin's

Mr. Cunningham taught class, with the concentration on flexibility.
There are several reasons why improving flexiblilty is important. First and foremost, flexibility equals speed. Also, especially as we get older, having good flexiblility will help avoid or reduce injury, and if you do get injured you are likely to have a faster recovery.

Note that being warmed up before you stretch is essential!

Stretching with a partner using a wall:
* Front kick position, back against the wall, keep your back flat and use good posture so that you're not just tipping the pelvis but stretching the back of the leg, partner pushes up on your leg for the stretch. Release the stretch and push down for 5-10 seconds, then resume the stretch.

* Side kick position, partner pushes up on the leg.

Everyone worked on splits on the floor. Front splits, side splits.

* Back to the wall or back to the floor: put your foot on your partner's chest, your partner will push until the knee goes as far as it will go toward the wall. If stretching on the floor, you can put both feet on your partner's chest, keep your back and hips flat on the floor, partner will press both your knees toward the floor.

Individual stretches:
* Stand in open parallel stance, stretch forward, bending at the hips with your back, legs and arms straight. Arch your back (tailbone tipped up) to keep the back as straight as possible.
* Starting from a side plank postition, with one hand and one foot on the floor (same side i.e. Left and Left), lift the top hand and foot off the floor, keeping straight arms and legs, extending the arm and leg up in the air.

* Starting with both hands and feet on the floor, raise one hand and one foot off the floor (opposite i.e. Left foot and Right hand), straight arms and legs, extend the arm forward and leg behind.

Mr. Cunningham demonstrated two other stretches that use a yoga ball (he used a mat):
* With the feet in the splits against the wall, upper body against the mat, then lift the entire torso up - this is NOT a crunch, but lift from the hips.

* Facing down, with the feet in side splits, extend the arms in front of you, and lift the torso.

Now, on to Taekwon-Do techniques to continue to work on speed:
* From an L-stance, side front snap kick, stepping forward, execute guarding block with the forearm, * Front leg side front snap kick, stepping back, execute guarding block with the forearm, side front snap kick with the front leg.

* Side piercing kick - for the preparation, lift the leg flat as if it was on a table. Pull the knee in. Keep in mind the kick is controlled with the hip. The shoulder, hip and heel should be in line; the kick will go out and come back on that line.

Double kicks - reload with the hip, speed comes from the hip, don't reload the whole body; the knee doesn't come all the way back for multiple kicks. This is for speed. Be careful not to over-rotate on the reload. Stay in side kick position, not back kick.

* Turning kicks - shoulder movement is very slight, hand position is guarding, the body should be in line at delivery, similar to a side kick. Don't allow your body to bend into a V shape; stay upright. Energy flows best in a straight line. If your body 'folds' into a V there will be a loss of energy into the kick, the energy will go out your butt. (Excuse me!)

not like this...
like this.

* Hook kick - just a short little pop through with the hip to pull the kick through the target. Shoulder position is similar to a spin backfist strike. Make this kick come from the hip, not the shoulder.
Mr. Cunningham asked the seniors "Are you getting anything out of this?"
Seniors: "Yes Sir."
Mr. Cunningham: "Are THEY getting anything out of this?" (referring to the rest of the class)
Seniors : "If they are working on it, yes they are."

Jump Kicks and Flying Kicks - you don't have to jump high to execute a proper flying kick.
Mr. Cunningham demonstrated a side kick with tuck from a squatting position, landing gear down no problem.
Single target, two targets in combination, then two targets in combination with a hand technique, then two-direction kick, then adding a front kick, then adding a hand technique also. Flying kicks, multiples - you must reload between kicks using knees and hips. The last kicks we worked on were flying twin foot front kicks, two targets, one target consecutive.
Everyone in class worked on all the kicks.

Mr. Cunningham then sat everyone down and spoke:
We have a Gem here in Wyoming - - Master Martin. He is concerned with each and every student, and we should take every opportunity to train with and learn from him. There were very few in class today; we need to strongly encourage all red and black belts to attend all Black Belt Classes.

Then Mr. Cunningham took off his belt, folded it and laid it on the floor in front of us. He asked what it was. It's just a piece of cloth with some stitching. What gives it significance? The person wearing it makes it what it is. It comes from your training, what you yourself put into your Taekwon-Do. It is in your brain, your body, and your heart. We show respect for rank no matter what. It's a bonus when we can respect the person too.
We have a responsibility, a duty to work to be the best we can be at whatever rank we hold. None of us is perfect. Be humble. Admit if you don't have an answer or if you're mistaken, and take steps to correct it. follow the high standards of General Choi and GrandMaster Sereff.

Mr. Johnson added that we should consider the Tenets as a code of ethics and use this code to influence the decisions we make through the day.

Schedule notes:
USTF Nationals June 26-27.
Next Black Belt Class is July 12.
Wyoming Color Belt Test is July 25 on Casper Mountain.
Wyoming Invitational Tournament is September 19 in Casper.
Grand Master Sereff's Fall Championships is in October.
Utah State Championships is November 7th.

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