Grandmaster Joon Pyo Choi Biography: Kicker of Bugs, part 8

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     I slept in my room at the empty university each night. It was near the ocean, so always there was sea life around: fish, shrimp, clams, and the like. But no humans anywhere. There were however flies and mosquitos. I had no air conditioning in my room, so when I slept, hundreds of flies covered me. They landed on my face, nose, ears, and lips. They entered my mouth as I slept, and when I realized, I awoke and spat them out.

     The flies bothered me quite a bit, especially during meditation: the sound of the flies all around me, the flies landing on my body, hair, and face. I swatted at them to get them away. I realized as I swatted at them that I was using my martial arts skills: knife hand strike, palm strike, punch! I tried to hit them square with my strikes.

     At first, I missed them most of the time. They were too fast. But I was determined to strike them, so I studied their motion for hours and practiced my strikes.

     Finally I was striking them more often than I was missing. With the hand, it became very easy. I could slap with the palm every time. Splat! Then I practiced with the knife hand, with the edge of the finger. After some time, I was able to strike them easily with my knife hand. Then I decided to start kicking.

     I started with the front snap kick. I had to practice a thousand times, over and over, until I finally hit a fly with a front snap kick. But now I knew how flies flew. They flew straight most of the time. There were no curves in their movement.

     These flies, they came close to me while I rested, and one landed on my nose. I saw it eye-to-eye. It was as if it knew what it was doing. It and its fly brothers were playing a game with me. They knew I was trying to strike them from the air with my feet. This made me mad and I kicked harder trying to strike them with kicks. Seldom did I hit one. And if I did, it was by chance.

     They were winning our game. I could not see the angle or the speed of their flight. I realized that if I was too fast, I would miss them every time. It was all about how fast you hit the fly. If I was too fast, they would bounce right off my foot. Timing was very important. I figured it out after that.

     After many months of practice, I was kicking the flies most of the time. I knew how the flies flew. If it was a big fly, it flew one way. If it was a small fly, it flew another, more of a straight line.

     I switched to roundhouse kicks. Again, I learned how to time my kicks to hit the flies. After a while it became too easy. I had won the game against the flies.

     Because I was near the ocean, there were also many dragonflies. The dragonfly was much bigger, but faster. It flew in a straight line too, but also up and down, left and right. They had no flipping motion like the flies did.

     They played the game too. They had bigger eyes, so they watched me closely as I watched them. I would advance and strike, advance and kick. Once I understood their motion, my timing changed and I was able to strike and kick them as easily as I could the flies.

     The last bug was the butterfly. Butterflies are always flipping over and over. They flew in a way totally different than the dragonfly and the fly. They flip and flip and flip, with no straight lines at all.

     I chased the butterflies through the fields, running after them. To strike them, it was about controlling my power. I worked hard to not destroy them, to only flip them in the air, or knock them gently to the ground. In time, I was able to touch each of them, fly, dragonfly, and butterfly, with my foot precisely.

     This is how I perfected the speed, timing, and angle of my kicks. Each one of the bugs taught me something different. I became the Kicker of Bugs, and not one was a match for me.

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