Hong Ik Martial Arts of Tarrytown HST (Hyunsa and Susa Training) June 19, 2022
HST Training June 2022 – Ki Jaang Training and SUSA Recruits
On Sunday, June19, 2022, SUSA gathered at the Tarrytown Hong Ik Martial Arts location for our monthly HyunSa and Susa Training. The Hong Ik Spirit Award for the month of June is Ki Jaang training, and this day’s activities were rooted in that principle. It is the principle of stable emotional energy.
At the beginning of practice, Ji Do Ja Nim reviewed basic requirements for each SUSA level as a reminder to all candidates of their path forward. At each level, there are certain physical requirements that should be met, as well as clearly learning the philosophy behind their rank teaching, and clearly learning the curriculum that the SUSA is responsible for teaching and assisting. The levels of SUSA are the following: Recruit, Apprentice, Journeyman, Mentor, Captain, and Chief.
After stretching lead by Master Sara, Ji Do Ja Nim instructed us to warm up by using Recruit kicking combination number one. This is a series of kicks in progression: first right leg rising kick, then turn around, left leg rising kick. The next set is: step forward rising kick, bringing the foot all the way back; turn around and one step forward, as a sort of reset – here we pause for a split second; then another step forward rising kick, bringing all the way back, and turn around with one step forward to reset. The intention is to practice both legs, while keeping good focus and concentration.
Next, we had partner practice with Shin Min Hyunsa Nim. The first stage was a step-by-step instruction with our partner. The pattern starts with open cover: attacker roundhouse kick, defender one step back and returning a roundhouse kick; the original attacker does not step back; the pair resets. We practiced both left and right leg starts, and switching first attacker. Then, we added the kicking dummy between the partners and practiced the same pattern.
While still working with the same partner and kicking dummy, we also practiced avoidance. The attacker would kick the kicking dummy with a modified front snap kick using the bottom of the foot, striking near the heel. The opponent on the opposite side of the dummy could not see the attacker, and had to respond by quickly avoiding the dummy to not get hit. We learned that it is best to step and lean slightly forward, so that you will have momentum with your core to return a strike or kick to your opponent.
Next Master Sara reviewed Recruit kicking combinations 1-4 with all candidates. Number one we mentioned earlier. Number two is the same pattern, except we replace the rising kick with a front snap kick. Number three is a roundhouse kick pattern: rear leg roundhouse kick without touching down, turn around, rear leg roundhouse kick. The second part is step forward, roundhouse kick – landing front, turn around, one step forward (pause) and then step forward roundhouse kick – landing front; turn around, one step forward reset. Number four is the same as number three, except you replace the roundhouse kick with a side kick. Since the patterns change, it’s important to keep good concentration. Also, the turning and stepping requires you to have good strength, and agility, as well as good balance.
In continuation, we moved on to SUSA recruit qigong: a set of stances and blocks that follows a pattern of changing direction. The first step is a 45 degree turn, then as we move through the pattern we next turn 90 degrees, then 180 degrees, and then 90 and 180 again, so we end up facing each of four directions. This day we only did the first half of the form using the first stance posture: forward stance – lower block, inner block; there is a second stance posture combination that uses outer block and rising block.
We gathered together again and Ji Do Ja Nim reviewed in more detail the SUSA Recruit principle of SVA – Smile, Voice, Action:
- Smile energy is more than just smiling with your face; it means keeping a positive attitude, even in adversity. When we smile, it releases fear, and helps us grow confidence. There is an energy gate near the base of the skull, called the Amun gate, which you can feel is the soft spot between the muscles and tendons; the same ones that we use when we smile.
- Our voice is a good indicator of present energy. The quality of sound produced can tell us a lot about our mood. In fact, even over the phone, people can tell if you are in a good mood or not by your voice. For example, if you are not in a good mood, your voice might sound low, gravelly, slow. If you are in a good mood, let’s say cheering or celebrating, your voice will likely be louder, clearer and have a smoother tone. In this way, we know that your mood and your voice correlate; so, given this example, it can also be true that you can use your voice to change your mood. Try this next time you are not feeling great and see if you can cheer yourself into a better frame of mind! Having a strong, clear, and confident voice can open the minds of those around you.
- Taking action is an excellent way to build self-trust. When you are clear, you know what to do, and when to do it. The more times you act quickly to help others (or yourself) the more trust you will have to do the right thing.
Self-Respect: in order to show ourselves good respect, we should take good care of our physical (Jung Choong), emotional (Ki Jaang), and spiritual (Shin Myung) energy. For the month of June, we have been practicing Ki Jaang and learning the theory behind it. Ji Do Ja Nim explained that we should become aware of our emotions, and learn to listen to them carefully; we should not deny them or pretend that they do not exist. If we try to suppress them, they eventually will come back, often in negative ways. We can acknowledge their existence, pay attention to how they make our body feel: tense, anxious, nervous, or even giddy, elated, excited. What we should avoid is allowing those emotions to drag us or create too much attachment to them. We can use what we know about our emotions to learn more about ourselves and others, and to help guide us in the right direction.
You may recall in a previous HST class, Ji Do Ja Nim reviewed the principles of Um and Yang and how they relate to training. Using Ki Jaang practice, by focusing our attention between our open palms, we necessarily need to cut off distractions and thoughts. We are now working on noticing/following energy where it goes (um/passive) as opposed to moving or forcing it (yang/active). In this way we are settling energy, and in turn settling our minds and emotions. This practice is simple and can be very empowering. Every evening, before bed, we should try to incorporate 3-5 minutes of Ki Jaang training to help us calm and center our energy. In this way we will not waste time or energy chasing thoughts or negative emotions, but instead come closer to knowing our true self.
Written by Master Sara M Simonetti