Friday, November 18, 2011

Board Breaking Hints

By William R. Jones, 5th dan

From a class presented at MSK Summer Expo XXV.

Board breaking is a way for the MSK martial artist to gauge their ability to focus and create power.  You can note your improvement by the successful breaks
Blindfolded Black Belt Breaking a Board
and the techniques you use.  We are covering two types of breaks;  power breaking - boards supported by holders, and speed breaking -  unsupported targets. The following information will help you improve your ability to break, which will coincide with the enjoyment of breaking.

1:  Practice your kicks and your focus against a target.  Make the focus point small and at a good height, for your kick to be at its best.  Work on improving your speed by involving good hip movement, fast chamber, correct chamber and re-chamber.

2:  Work in front of a mirror to see your foot position and body movement.  You should be using the whole body to create movement to the break.   Your punches and kicks should be finishing in a horizontal or vertical plane to be in alignment with the grains of your boards.

3:  Practice with light targets that bend.  This will help you note the contact point on the boards.  Cardboard or dense foam will leave markings to see if you are hitting the right point on the board for an easier break.

4:  Pick your wood.  Look at grain, density, bowing of wood, and knots.  Prep your boards so not to injury your holders.

5:  If breaking multiple boards, make sure they are tight together, grains in the correct direction. Make sure the grains are in the right direction for your selected break.

6:  Set up and check your holders.  They should hold the boards where you want them.  Make holders turn their heads for their protection and decrease the flinch factor.

7:  Pick experienced and strong holders for power breaks, less experienced can be use for speed breaks.   Make sure holders for shorter students are in deep front stances to keep the arms arm parallel with floor not pointing down.

8:  Plan your breaks in advance, have yourself prepared for what you are doing.  Be ready as soon as you get your holders set.  Do not give them time to get tired or move out of position.  Don’t do several practice kicks while your holders are ready.

9:  Condition your hands and feet.  The sin on the knuckle area is not very thick and must be conditioned for hand breaks.  Condition knife hands so you have the strongest and tightest hand for the break.  Same with the feet, your foot must be ready and tight for the contact.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lee H. Park Team Championships

The 2011 Lee H. Park Team Championships on December 10, features our third CTI Hanmandang.

Usually, there are dynamic sparring competitions at each of our CTI tournaments and other CTI events – and we do love to spar!  But once a year, we take this special time and honor MSK / AMASEA founder Lee H. Park and our parents, family members and friends with a special CTI Hanmandang.

A Hanmadang differs from other Taekwondo competitions in that participants do not fight each other.  The CTI Hanmandang is a day to come together and celebrate all of our hard work and successes.  This is shown through demonstrations and competitions of all belt ranks and ages at the hanmandang.  CTI students and instructors will show many dynamic things that they learn day-in and day-out in our regular class.

At this year’s hanmandang, many areas of our Moo Sul Kwan martial arts will be represented through exciting demonstrations and divisions like:  Team Poomse, Team Creative Basics, Team One-Step / Self-Defense, Individual Breaking, Most Kicks Kontest, Basics Challenge, Team Staff Poomse, Staff Poomse and even a Black Belt Mystery Competition.  To see more information on rules click here.

The many important benefits of the CTI Hanmandang are derived from the amount of time and effort that students and instructors will spend refining their technique and power for this special day.  They know that they are representing their CTI Campus, their instructor, their fellow students and themselves.  The successes received from the whole process of; getting ready for the Hanmandang, performing at the Hanmandang and evaluating their Hanmandang performances will be longlasting.

Get ready for an exciting day at Alameda High School - this will be a fitting way to finish up this fabulous year of 2011.  Bring a camera!

Our CTI Christmas Party will take begin at 5:00 PM after the hanmandang!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Being a Leader

By Shekina DeTienne, green belt

When I was looking for a martial arts school, I looked at many different styles and qualities but one thing that impressed me most was the leadership at CTI.  All the students were polite and respectful to the other students no matter their belt.  Within the first month, it was evident that the CTI Black Belts not only teach Moo Sul Kwan Martial Arts, but also the qualities of a good leader.  Respect, patience, self control, strength of body, mind and spirit are just a few qualities taught on a daily basis.  Anything can be taught and recited  but if not practiced regularly it loses its meaning. As students who are learning the attributes of leadership, we need to be exercising them constantly.

All students, no matter their age, can be a leader to their family, friends, and community.  We can show obedience and respect towards our parents for our siblings to see and follow.  To use patience, understanding, and humility when with friends, either at school, work or play gives them a friend they can depend on and look up to.  Whether around the neighborhood or at the store we show leadership bybeing clam, level headed and willing to help.  Helping mom with the dishes, walking with a friend, or bringing a lost dog home are small simple ways to be an example of leadership.  By living life with the qualities of leadership we earn respect and loyalty from those around us.

There are dozens of qualities that every good leader must posses but depending on the responsibilities and situations some of these qualities are more important than others.  While I was training to be a shift manager, one of my biggest role models and trainer said 'every good leader can also serve.  A servant leader.'  At the time I nodded my head and smiled and carried on with my training but that phrase and many others she gave me have stuck with me to become some of my founding motto's.  To have respect, a willingness to give, to be a servant leader, to use their team wisely, and to be open minded are some of the top qualities that I have found most necessary in leadership.

A leader who lacks self respect and so acts recklessly and without regard to safety is not likely to keep the respect and loyalty of their team.  By respecting themselves and those around them, the leader will be better at their job and will have a loyal team.  In my opinion, nothing is more effective than a loyal team that respects their leader and is therefore willing to do anything and give all.

The leader who understands that their team would do anything to accomplish their goal also understands that the leader themselves needs to do the same.  A good team is not a dictatorship but a partnership and all parts need to be equally committed.  If the leader backs out of this partnership they will lose the respect and the loyalty of their team and will be replaced.

Being a leader and having a team under you can sometimes be more like a game of follow the leader.  A good leader can serve and take orders and suggestions from their superiors or the team under them.  A smart leader realizes that they don't know everything and that by taking advice, using different points of view and analyzing the situation they are serving and leading their team better.

From the moment they meet each person of their team, a leader is assessing, understanding, and using their team.  Knowing their history, talents, flaws and passions allow a leader to best plan and execute any endeavor that comes their way. This also teaches the team how to better rely on and use each other.

A leader who is able to be open minded and willing to consider all options and opinions will be able to better earn the respect of their team. They can also accept changes when necessary but also firmly stands by their beliefs. Such a leader can explain and defend themselves with a level head and will be able to better handle the little surprises life hands us.

I believe the phrase 'too many chiefs and not enough Indians' is irrelevant and inaccurate. The best leaders understand when to step up, when to step down, and when to lead by example.  At school, I can be a leader by talking to new people and making them feel welcome.  I also do what my instructors ask, get my homework done on time, and am available to help and teach students when needed.  At work, I come in early and am willing to leave late to prove to my employers that I am happy to be there.