Learning Uruguay

Every day brings ????

Getting out – getting fit

Posted by urufish on July 3, 2007


It’s been 18 months and I’m finally aclimatizing myself to Montevideo.  Yesterday, for the first time, I finally got out and about with Aaron on the golf course.

This started me thinking about all the rest of us here in Montevideo (and future visitors).  Most of us, (with some notable exceptions), have a lot more spare time than we did back home.  The rat race has mellowed.  Time is money is no longer rule #1.

It’s time to get physically active again.  I’d like to hear from others here (or those coming to Montevideo) with time on their hands, wanting to get into social exercise/sports. 

One idea is to form a biking group, going out once or twice a week for a couple of hours and just ride around with a bunch of friends, maybe tying in lunch, exploring different parts of the city, certainly biking the Rambla is always fun.  I brought down a couple of bikes in the container.  They’re somewhat dated :), but I’m going to find a bike shop here in Pocitos to restore them to their prime.  This time of the year, it’s much more exhiliarating and comfortable because you can dress for the temperature.  We could even organize the odd trip out to the east or up north.  Uruguay has beautiful scenery that is wonderful to explore on 2 wheels.  

My personal favourite will be to take up Taekwondo with my daughter.  When she got her blackbelt, I promised her if I ever had the time, I’d train with her, and go for mine.  Tonight or tomorrow, I will try to find a dojo, where my fundamental Spanish wont get me killed in practice.

I doubt we could get a shinny group together, playing hockey at nights but maybe others of you have other sports (like Adam’s darts), that you’d like to float for the group here (and visitors) to see if there’s enough interest.  Heck, if there’s a diamond around somewhere, we could get even get a slow pitch game going here.  That would be kul.

Anyway, anyone else got any ideas for keeping ourselves eternally young?  And in case you’re worrying about the downside of sports we’ve got access to the doc that does the national football (soccer) team.  He’s right here, in the heart of pocitos.  Physio is very reasonable 🙂


13 Responses to “Getting out – getting fit”

  1. juan del plata said

    i love biking. so does my family. we are bringing our bikes. my favorite bike is now over 30 years old. i still ride regularily.

  2. urufish said

    Let’s hope a few others want to go riding…. then we’ll be ready for you when you get here..

  3. Enzo said

    I might have to purchase a bike and join your group since my scooter won’t be making the trip. 😦

  4. juan del plata said

    Urufish says “Heck, if there’s a diamond around somewhere, we could get even get a slow pitch game going here. That would be kul.” one of the things i fear i will miss about n america is baseball. rugby can substitute for football, and there is always soccer , but i will miss baseball, especially now that my youngest son is playing. i look forward to when he can pitch – what an arm! what a swing! something i never had.

  5. gaberoo said

    Tae Kwon Do? Years ago there was a 5th or 6th dan Korean master by the name of Byup Sung Lee who had a school (is it called a dojo?) in the “ciudad vieja” (by the port actually). I visited the school accompanying a friend who was interested in that art (he was into shotokan karate at the time). Another friend, Daniel, was a first dan who was studying under Byup Sung. I lost track of these guys and now I wonder if any of them or other Byup Sung students have opened Tae Kwon Do academies of their own (I’ve always wondered what became of Byup Sung and why such an advanced degree black belt would wind up in Montevideo?).

  6. urufish said

    Yes, it’s a dojo.. the jacket is called a kimono… dan is degree. 1st dan is black belt, first degree. I believe the highest degree is 7th. I think you need a 3rd degree to be accredited as a teacher in one of the Taekwando federations. I dont think Taekwando is the same as kick boxing.

    All of these ‘martial arts’ teach different techniques. Taekwando stresses hittings things with the legs. Karate stresses hittings things with the hands. Judo is all about holds/wrestling. All of them incorporate elements of each other, to a lesser degree.

    People who dont study or spend time with these disciplines dont understand them. I always thought the training was good for her but I had no idea how effective (and dangerous) it could be. An advanced student can deliver a powerful combination of blows so quickly and so accurately, it’s like a blur.

    On the three occasions back home and here when she had to defend herself, the other persons, guys or girls, bigger and older, all were a bloody mess in one or two seconds.
    It’s OK when you’re playfighting but you have to be crazy to pick on someone, red belt or beyond. It really is like being hit with a baseball bat whether it is karate, taekwando or kick boxing.

  7. gaberoo said

    Glad your daughter made good use of her art and got out safely.

    I’ve been very lucky in that I’ve never had to get into any serious fight with anyone (I’m extremely fast when I’m scared).

    My philosophy is “99.99% of the time you can get out of a sticky situation without getting anything other than a bruised ego and that is better than getting seriously injured”.

    The thing I’ve noticed is that you can never predict how fast, how strong, how crazy, and what weapons your would be antagonist is concealing so it’s best to back down.

    I had no idea that a Korean art such as Tae Kwon Do called their school a “dojo” (just like the Japanese). Learned something new. The only one of the techniques that I’d like to learn would be the “sticky fingers” technique which looked like a great defensive manuever (Kung Fu…maybe dragon style). A friend used it on another friend (a tiger-style Kung Fu enthusiast)and blocked all of the shots. Very impressive.

  8. gaberoo said

    I think I remember what “fat legs” Tony practiced: win chun (did I spell this correctly?) Kung Fu (don’t know if this is a particular style or whether it is part of dragon style or what). Mario (my attacking friend) practiced Fu Jow Pai (tiger style) kung fu. Mario and I were duly impressed by the “sticky hands” technique. Yeah, if ever I was to learn one of these, it would be something evasive, defensive, and graceful (not that I currently am any of these) like dragon style kung fu and that win chun. I’ve heard that Brazilian style jiu jitsu is particularly effective though I don’t know exactly why. Maybe your daughter knows. The Brazilian art I like to watch is capoeira (it’s all the rage in big metros like NY; they might even have it here in Miami…haven’t looked). Very fluid and graceful. Kind of like a dance.

  9. urufish said

    Maybe I gave the wrong impression about my kid.. so let me refine it… These situations weren’t those confrontations where a kid or a group of kids makes fun of you or pushes you and things eventually escalate out of control. They were more or less random events.

    In the first case, it was at school. One of the guys was standing too close to her and bugging her and made the mistake of reaching for her head or shoulder and she reacted unthinking with a programmed defense.. block and strike… to the kids nose. It wasn’t broken, but there was blood everywhere. He didn’t say anything because he was too embarassed. She was scared to death too. It was the first time she ever hit anyone.

    The other two times was here in Uruguay.. Once on the beach when she got into a shouting match with a local girl who was making fun of her accent. My kid figured it was just a shouting match until the other kid did pushed here and same thing. A defensive block with counterstrike. This wasn’t so bad. She knocked her down but no blood.

    The last was just over a month ago. Some idiot grabbed her hair from behind. She never learned holds or hold breaking. You learn that in your 2nd and 3rd dans. So she conterstrikes… Twice.. Nose and eye. Blood everywhere. I was afriad the other person would go to the police, but she was bigger, older and embarassed.

    The point is this. When people are trained to react immediately, without thinking, to physical attack, perceived or otherwise, the attacker (innocent or otherwise) can get hurt.
    If you bang the rubber hammer on someone’s knee, you dont straddle the leg do you? Same here.

  10. gaberoo said

    Wow. Scary. Sorry she’s already had nasty experiences in Uruguay. Conditioned reflexes are a powerful thing, huh! Glad no one was seriously hurt.

    I’m sorry if my words gave the impression I was commenting on your daughter’s physical encounters.

    I was just airing my general views on the topic and my experiences. I’ve had quite a few friends who’ve taken martial arts and, increasingly, I’ve learned to be very careful about physical fights. Our 13-year-old was taking some kind of martial art up north (karate I think) and I always worried that this might, in spite of all the teachings of the…sensei (yes, it’s coming back to me…some of the terms that is), tempt him to use it rather than to altogether avoid possible physical confrontations. The stories I’d heard from my friends were a bit concerning since they showed just how unpredictable fights can be (and how, at times, dangerous they can turn as well): I’ve learned of black belts getting the stuffing knocked out of them in fights with just very strong and nasty street fighters (one guy was in the ICU for a while). Cops I’ve spoken with have confirmed this impression (they get trained on how to defuse potentially violent situations).

    Your daughter’s experiences show just how potentially dangerous/lethal the martial arts can be and how scary (both for the martial artist and her/his opponent) physical encounters can get.

  11. urufish said

    That’s because black belts are not trained for street fighting. The truth is you get a black belt if you can demonstrate you know the black belt patterns and you can break boards with both hands and feet given 15-20 seconds to prepare the strike and within 3 attempts. Your opponent wont stand still for you to hit him nor does he care what handwaving and feetwating you show him.

    The 2nd half of the 3rd degree is where you learn the bad stuff… You dont get there unless your sensi believes you have the ‘right stuff’ and have learned the manoeuvres to make you a really tough opponent. I think you have to be born with unusual talent, speed and mental ability to get to those higher levels.

  12. urufish said

    Forgot to mention I have 3 extra bikes avaialble if you dont have one of your own. They’re going into the shop next week to be cleaned up and tuned up and made road ready.
    2 are Cross country, sized for average adults… The 3rd is a BMX for a littler person.
    You’re welcome to borrow them to ride with the group.

  13. gaberoo said

    “Your opponent wont stand still for you to hit him nor does he care what handwaving and feetwating you show him.”

    Funny. How true. Was it Bruce Lee that said “Boards don’t fight back”?
    I didn’t know that they taught the “really dirty stuff” at the higher dan levels. Now I’m even less inclined to take up a martial art (just kidding)! I have a hard enough time getting motivated to go to the gym (I try to justify this in my mind by walking around a lot at work and carrying a pedometer).

    You guys are really troopers; we once biked from Carrasco to Pando (a bunch of us cousins) and I think that trip convinced us that we were not cut out for it. Still, wish I were down there (it would give me a reason to fix this darned Trek mountain bike: I crashed going downhill on a trail resulting in my first dry somersaults–into dirt, not a pool–and a U-shaped front rim. Never been back on a bike since then.). Have fun.

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