山 Comes In Useful

금강산도 식후경

Last night I started actually learning the 2 Dan form, 금강. Geumgang is a mountain in North Korea, right over the border, and is considered may many Koreans the most beautiful mountain on the peninsula. (I believe Sorak-san is considered the second most beautiful.) You can do tours to the area or drive in your own car, but I haven’t gone and probably won’t before leaving.

Now, Geumgang the taekwondo form is another beast entirely. There’s this waist-twisting, foot-stomping thing that confusing the heck out of me. When you do the foot stomp, you end with your arms in the air so that the shape of your arms and head makes the Hanja for mountain: . The shape of the entire form (as seen from above) is also that of a mountain.

Sabumnim the Man could tell I was struggling a bit. He patted me on the back and said, “어려워요.” It’s hard.

“이상해요.” It’s strange, I replied.

During our break I started jumping rope while Sabumnim the Man started doing stretching exercises. A student would sit in front of him, legs spread, and he’d also sit, legs outstretched, pushing his feet against their legs while pulling their body forward as he leaned back as far as possible. My studiomates were whining, but I really wanted to try it. After I’d done 600 turns and it looked like he was going to start class again, I said, “그 하고 싶어요.” I want to do that.

He seemed surprised and pulled me into position. He also seemed impressed by how far I stretched. It felt really, really good though. Sometimes you need that extra push.

Tonight’s class was good, too. Lots of kicking drills and then some sort of calisthenics obstacle course. It was hard work and my entire body ached by the end of it. A nice feeling.

“비밀! 비밀!”

Good Man came over Monday night and we ended up speaking Korean—only Korean— for a good 45 mins to an hour. At one point I lay down on my bed to think about what I was going to say next. I was trying to formulate something or other in my head.

We also got into a minor cultural tiff over something. I didn’t know the word for “private” but kept speaking Korean with “비밀! 비밀이야!” Secret! It’s a secret!

It was nice only speaking Korean with Good Man. I need to figure out how to convince him to do it again.

Finally, I’ve started working on the 3A workbook. One thing I like: the grammar summary at the back of the workbook, meaning I don’t have to tote around the textbook while working on the workbook. Things I don’t like: the grammar summaries no longer seem to include irregular rules and the examples in the workbook are in this faux handwriting font.

Also, I’ve passed the midway point of the graphic novel version of 어린왕자. Despite the ups and down of studying Korean, I know the only way I’ll become fluent is to keep at it.