Wednesday, February 20, 2008


We are strapped into padding that reminds me of the Ninja Turtles, but doesn't actually feel like it would protect much if I really got hit. I'm red. She's blue.

We giggle. Sa Beom Nim explains in Korean, no punching the head, no kicking the legs, three rounds one minute each. I still don't know how you get points or what exactly you're supposed to do when he says go.

We throw some kicks, some punches. She seems unsure, too. I think we are both half trying, not really wanting to hurt the other but still wanting to try this sparring thing for real.

Lots of giggling, a couple of minor bumps and bruises later, we're both declared the winners. Sa Beom Nim then spends the next few minutes explaining what we did wrong while demonstrating on one of the (increasingly frightened of Sa Beom Nim's flying legs) uni students. I think I'm starting to understand. Maybe.

And maybe sparring is not so dissimilar from swing dancing--moving with another person, responding to their body's movements; knowing the technical moves are less than half of the point when confronted with the real situation. I think Sa Beom Nim was telling us that yelling when we spar can help throw off the opponent's thinking and is therefore important. I know he was saying something about watching morning drama programs to study yelling. I think this man would strike me as even more hilarious if I understood everything he was saying.

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