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December 2, 2012 Wyoming Black Belt Class
at Master Martin's

Senior Master Martin opened class, and mentioned that there are liability releases that some students have not yet signed - these liability releases help protect all our intstructors who teach Taekwon-Do. He thanked us all for a good turnout for Black Belt Class, and noted that we have four new students coming to the class for the first time. Congratulations to Mrs. Phillips, Mr.Jeliazkov, Mr. Martin, and Miss Jeliazkova, it's good to have you here!

He then said that our newest Master Instructor would be teaching today. He was happy to have promoted his first Master, and looked forward to others achieving 7th Dan. Master Johnson stepped to the front and began leading warmups. . .

Master Johnson told us that at his test nervousness had its effect, and he did not perform a couple of patterns correctly. He had the the opportunity to make those patterns up for Grand Master Winegar, at Senior Grand Master Sereff's request. These were performed at HQ, during the Class 'B' Instructor's Course last month.

Today he said we would work on body control, as warm-ups continued with arm circles til we could feel a burn, and lunges til the legs could feel it as well. He gave some cues for us to engage the core muscles, pull up on the pelvic floor, "close the exits", and tighten the quads by pulling up on the kneecaps. Breathe from the abdomen, allowing the chest to expand (not belly breathing), and fill the lungs from the bottom up. Hold the body steady and stabilized. Avoid flailing.

Walking stance, middle punch. Change the breath from short and hard,which creates tension in the chest, to a 'tidal wave' of air coming from the abdomen. This will be a bigger breath.

L-stance. Make sure you have a solid stance with no bounce at the end, core tight, shoulders relaxed, and good sine wave. Check your weight distribution - It is often easier to step backward into a good (70%-30%) L-stance since your weight is already going that direction. When moving forward, set your weight down onto the back leg; do not allow your weight to transfer forward to the front leg. (only 30 %)

4-Direction Punch. Look first, turning your head to imagine the technique coming toward you. This will allow you to perform your technique with realism. The body will follow the head, engaging the core during the technique. The core should be tight upon completion.

Chon-Ji. The prepataory moves are small but they create speed by utilizing the core first and taking advantage of leverage coming from the core, extending through the limbs to the tool. Movements should be smooth and rhythmic. We spent some time on just the first motion. There is a lot going on in each move; take care of all the details and practice them. It's those details that make a technique truly effective. Takewon-Do should be beautiful and graceful as well. When everything is in place your techniques will have devastating power, and they will flow smoothly.
Some things to work on:
* Economy of motion.
* Hands/arms may 'float' between moves but must stay with the body as it turns so that the cross or preparatory motion is at the side front of the body. For instance the blocks in Chon-Ji must come across the body, not from behind.
* Pivot ALWAYS on the ball of the foot. Do this by keeping the pivoting leg bent - if you straighten up, your weight will rock back to your heel.

  Click on any picture to see a larger image.  
Master Johnson taught class today 4-Direction Punch Chon-Ji  
The whole class did Chon-Ji by count. Red Belts did Chon-Ji Then their highest pattern
Continuing to work on controlling body movement, engaging the core, good posture, plus a few pointers for the 360 jump in Choong-Moo

After everyone did Chon-Ji we went to our highest pattern to work on the same principles. We repeated each move many times, working on different aspects of the technique. There are many things to keep in mind! For the Red Belts:

* Eyes up - posture is ruined when your eyes are on the floor. If you want to check out width or length of your stances, execute the movement, then look down, making any corrections with the foot that took the step. Then eyes back up, and do it right the next time.
* Watch facing on L-stances. It is always half-facing. Do not allow your hand technique to pull your shoulders into side facing. Remember your opponent is towards the front of you so that's where your focus should be.
* When correcting a stance, always move the last foot that stepped.
* Foot position bending ready stance A - footsword should be parallel to the floor, not toes pointing to the floor.
* Full range of motion on all punches, from intermediate hand position to the belt, up to the armpit and out in a contunuously accelerating motion.
* Continue drawing in and moving from the center, keeping your core engaged.
* Choong-Moo 360 degree jump, a few things to keep in mind - hands must come back before you jump so that the block can be executed rather than formed; get your head around first to see your target; prep by bending at the knees, not at the waist which will tip you in the air (jump from an upright posture); knees up during the jump.

Master Johnson asked the class - who knows how much room their patterns take? At a tournament or testing you need to know how much room you need for each pattern so that you can position yourself properly.
He then asked each person what they found they needed to work on most.

Note: use good etiquette at all times. Class is a good place to practice this so that it is a habit - you won't have to change your etiquette in more formal settings.

The Black Belts went through their highest patterns by count . . .
. . . there are many things to keep in mind on each technique; just work on one at a time until it's fixed - then go on.

A few comments on the Black Belt patterns:

* L-stances too wide.
* Walking stances, the back heel is coming up.
* Gae-Baek low twisting kick needs to stop on center line to hit the target - inside knee or thigh.
* Prep for front strike with the back fist is also a strike, remain full facing with the elbow bent at 90 degrees. Then the delivery of the front strike brings the fist past the ear so it doesn't resemble an inward strike w/outer forearm.
* Pressing block with the twin palm - deliver in a single continuous motion, in a downward motion, not forward at an angle.
* When stepping, create rhythm and sine wave - avoid stepping flat-footed or stiff/straight-legged.
* Pressing block with the palm - on the preparation, arms should be long and extended and kept in line with the body. Avoid a wide preparation. This keeps you in line with the technique you are defending against.

If you keep in mind the tool and application for a technique it will help you execute it with realism. Remember your tool is how power from your body is transferred into the target or opponent. The better the use of the tool, the more effective the concentration of power.

Senior Master Martin presented Black Belt Certificates from the October testing.

January Black Belt Class and January Testing - TBA. Check the calendar page. It will be posted there.

Master Johnson received his 7th Dan Certificate Mrs. Popp received her 1st Dan Certificate

December 2012 Wyoming Black Belt Class
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