Poomsae seminar – making sense of softness

Attended a great seminar this evening near London – just like a regular taekwondo training session except focus on patterns and basics leading to them. There was a mix of different ages, experiences etc – so many there were very strong and co-ordinated in their movements, especially some of the younger children – they happily perform in front of many others demonstrating great flexibility too.

Great advice at the beginning, its not about the overall form itself, its about making sense of the different parts in it, making sense of combinations and turns. These will inform the rest of the taekwondo practice and sparring. With that level of practice where you are repeating the patterns – not too quickly, you do start to notice small errors that you have been making – that have kind of slipped in – such as inner block when it should be a back fist strike and small turns – e.g. on Taegeuk Oh Jang, just making sure you really turn properly after the side kick – I tend to rush it and not turn hips as much.

Its wonderful to have the opportunity to have a practice seminar like that, it grounds you again. I have been reading Tai Chi Heartwork following a recommendation from Real Taiji blog recently, especially some posts on softness, incl:

“I shall call them ‘soft’ technologies: a textural description, intended to mean not vague, mushy, speculative, or ephemeral, but rather flexible, resilient, sustainable, and benign.” (1)

Although they are referring to technologies, this sounds very like the softness needed for movements in Yuk Jang (current pattern). I realised finally with Yuk Jang, that I have tended to keep softness for Tai Chi, QiGong etc and hard movements for Taekwondo, never really connected softness with it as in feeling it. As per the quotation above, it doesn’t mean my taekwondo patterns become mushy because you have to have strength, balance, co-ordination and control to demonstrate ease of soft movement, it totally changes the form.

Not going to overthink it though – it will come in time, no need to rush:)

1. Moore S (2010) TaiChiHeartwork blog, available at:  http://taichiheartwork.blogspot.com/