Friday, November 04, 2016


Let's start this post with a little Vadering:

I've been putting in a ton of overtime at the office to stay ahead of my boss's large project while he's away in the States (he's back next week). This is finally taking a toll on my creative energy, so I haven't been as inclined to write anything—especially anything lengthy. My apologies. Unfortunately, I'll be putting in full days on both Saturday and Sunday as well, so unless some topic comes along that truly energizes me to blog about it, you can expect minimal blogging from me for the next little while.

This is the reality of working in publishing, which I knew when I signed up for this job: the deadline is always king, and everything revolves around the deadline. For an older guy like me, who can't be forced to work faster, the only alternative is to work longer, so that's what I'm doing. Luckily, I'm racking up some comp time, which I'll use up by taking a day off here and here, and/or by ducking out a few hours early on certain days.

Tomorrow morning, fairly early, I'm going to walk up the street from my place to poke my head into the local boxing gym. I'm pretty sure that, like so many taekwondojang in Korea these days, the gym is primarily for plump kids whose parents want them to lose weight and eat better. I'm hoping, though, that the trainer(s) there will take pity on an older guy looking to kick-start his weight loss and recover some measure of strength, endurance, and agility through private lessons (no way I'm training with kids—sorry).

There's a chance the gym might be closed in the morning: if it really is for kids, it'll work around the kids' school hours (and many Korean students have Saturday school, which should be no surprise even if you're only superficially acquainted with East Asian culture). If it's closed, I suppose I'll come back during business hours, assuming those hours are posted somewhere (Korean businesses often neglect to post them, and many businesses, especially low-end restaurants, close pretty much when they feel like it).

If I do start boxing, the plan will be to train five days a week, then restart taekwondo after about a year (we have a for-kiddies training hall in the building where I work, and I think I'm twice as old as the masters training those children). After that, it'll be a mix of boxing and TKD, and depending on how much free time I have, I might branch out into haedong geomdo (a type of Korean fencing). A few years after that, when I'm well into my fifties, I'd like to switch from TKD to hapkido, which I consider a more evolved and street-effective martial art.

But we have to begin at the beginning, and that all starts with a trip up the street to the local boxing gym. Wish me luck. I'll write again when I have more information.


Surprises Aplenty said...

I don't like to call any kind of geomdo fencing but it is common here.

I found HDGD a great form of exercise, better than TKD although I guess you get out of it what you put in. I was an athletic guy but not a coordinated one so HDGD's focus on poomse or specific dances was a plus for me. I think I could mess someone up with a cane or stick but I mostly did the required dance moves.
Man, it would be nice to be that flexible again.

Kevin Kim said...

Yeah, HDGD is more about forms than it is about sparring. Daehan geomdo is more like Japanese kendo and thus is true fencing ("geomdo" means "sword-way") in the brute practical sense. That said, HDGD might qualify as fencing if the moves have some measure of practical value even if there's no sparring.

FWIW, defines fencing as an art/practice/sport in which a sword is used for attack and defense. (Not an exact quote.) By that standard, both forms of geomdo qualify as fencing.

Not sure where the nearest HDGD-jang is. Gonna have to research.

Surprises Aplenty said...

I always thought my geomdo buddies should also be good at tennis or baseball but I never saw evidence of such.

I have played around with fencing epees and sabres and foils; a university roommate was a fencer. I guess I use the term to describe the Olympic sport. I also dislike hearing 'Olympic sized swimming pool' unless it is better defined. Speed swimming pools have different requirements than water polo pools, for example. WP can be played in an Olympic racing pool but Olympic racing cannot go on in a purpose built WP pool

Charles said...

I've been putting in extra hours at the office as well, although I don't get overtime. I did just take an entire week off not too long ago, though, so I guess I'm paying for it now.

Good luck in your quest for better health. I will do my best to stymie you with cake next weekend. (Actually, it should be a relatively healthy cake—emphasis on "relatively," of course.)

Kevin Kim said...


I don't "get overtime," either, if by that you mean getting paid overtime. (Who pays overtime in Korea, anyway? Sookmyung supposedly had overtime when I was there, but as I recall, they fucked me and didn't pay a single won for my summertime work.)

Looking forward to death by cake.