When Life Gives You a Sidewalk, Make Sidewalk Class

Saturday morning class stalwarts arrived at the dojang this morning to find themselves unexpectedly locked out in the frigid January air. It seems that the building management replaced the front door lock on Friday, and the keys we were provided didn’t work. Fortunately, Sabumnim was there to turn a morning lockout into a master class in how to defend effectively on a hard and sloping sidewalk.

Let’s face it: when we’re called upon to use our techniques of self-defense, are we really likely to be in a room full of mats, wearing comfortable clothing and bare feet? Much more probable that we’ll find ourselves in street clothes, wearing shoes, and faced with negotiating a hard and uneven concrete surface.

As we gradually warmed up on the sidewalk of Atlantic Avenue, Sabumnim showed us how to practice moving and kicking on an uneven, sloping sidewalk. He showed us how to connect plum blossom hand strikes with diagonal movement and downward-directed kicks to an attacker’s lower leg.

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When Darren, our reliable front desk attendant, finally arrived with the key, we’d completed almost an hour of impromptu class in street defense on the hard concrete of Atlantic Avenue. And even though it was an amazing class, I was happy to get inside and defrost my toes.