Archive for July, 2005

Haidong Gumdo – the Way of the Sword and a martial art test

Saturday, July 23rd, 2005

MM,

I recently started taking Haidong Gumdo classes – a Korean sword martial art. So far, I’m enjoying it.

When I was studying taekwondo, I was introduced to a variety of weapons arts – short sticks (Tahn Bong in Korean), nunchakus, and long staff (Jang Bong in Korean, or commonly known as bo staff in Japanese). While I enjoyed these weapons arts, at the time I was primarily focused on learning taekwondo and getting a base in that one martial art first (i.e., finally getting my black belt). I also particularly wanted to learn Sais (if you don’t know what a Sai is, it’s the weapon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Raphael uses) and sword. For Sais, I’m pretty much learning it on my own right now as I have not found anyone to teach it. But I’ve been lucky to find that a taekwondo do jang teaches sword – Haidong Gumdo. After my first three classes this week, I already feel that the sword is my weapon (see “What Kind of Weapon Am I?” quiz below). It has a grace and feel that is natural and seems to complement what I’ve already learned from taekwondo. It also emphasizes learning patterns, something I learned I love from taekwondo, and teaches Dahn Jun, a breathing exercise very similar to many other moving meditation styles utilizing the tantien (an energy center located a few inches below the naval; Reiki students, Tai Chi students, and other martial artists should be familiar with this concept).

This week too (yesterday night), I also got a taste of what to expect from a sword test. Patterns, of course, but also blowing out a candle with a sword. In order to blow out a candle with a sword, one must develop excellent technique and create wind with the weapon. This is a concept that is very important to any kind of strike in martial art. This recalls to my mind my taekwondo instructor (one of the best!) saying that we should hear the wind every time we punch or strike. After seeing the candle blowing yesterday, I decided to have a go at it. Even if I don’t blow the candle out with the sword, at the very least it will let me know how good my technique is and be good practice for me!

In doing this sword practice (today!), I decided to try blowing out the candle with an empty hand technique from taekwondo. This I thought much more than breaking concrete would be a very good test of my martial arts abilities. So sitting on both knees and leaning over slightly, I started doing knife hand techniques passing over the candle flame. Now, this is tricky because you have to make sure you do not exhale sharply and blow out the candle with your breath! As a taekwondo student, I got used to doing my kiap (Korean for “yell”) while doing techniques, but could not while trying to blow the candle out with my hand. All I could do was control my breathing through my nose. To my amazement, eventually I blew out the candle with my knife hand strike! Yay! I was a little stunned and happy. “Wouldn’t my instructor be proud?!” I tried this again with a standing candle (the first one was a tea light), and did it again. A third try today did the same thing.

So, now I know I can blow a candle out with a knife hand strike. Next, I’ll have to do that in less tries (I lost count but I think it was around 10 tries) and of course, I will have to do this with a sword! Thinking I will need roughly one month of sword practice…

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress and “kickmeister”
Brigid’s Flame

P.S. On a theoretical note, all martial arts deal with developing and controlling internal energy through practice. It is good control of energy that allows a martial artist to accomplish some amazing feats.

A New Look for Brigid’s Flame

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

MM,

This week I have updated my website again, Brigid’s Flame.

There is now a new design for the site and the site is better organized. One should be able to find one’s way around easily.

Hopefully, in the near future I will be adding more content to the site itself. So far, I have been primarily Reiki focused, but that is not the focus of the site overall.

So, please don’t forget to check out my website every so often.

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress
Brigid’s Flame

P.S. Many, many thanks to my sweetheart, Nathan Simpson, for helping me out this week!

Emily Strange – Have You Seen Her?

Friday, July 1st, 2005

http://images.quizilla.com/U/uselessmelody/1055891791_entslostem.gif

You are Lost Emily!! You prefer to stay
Lost Emily
“You are Lost Emily!! You prefer to stay “lost”, you are a loner and do your own thing.”

Which Emily Strange are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

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That is definitely me!

BB,
Cassandrah
Your local webmistress and Emily Strange’s doppelganger
http://www.brigidsflame.com/