I like the pace of this course. Every week (still only in week 3 though) I’m given a new stroke to practise. Today I arrived a few minutes early to get settled and begin the warm up (below) as I find that I really need this time to calm down and clear my head. Korean conversations go on around me as more students arrive and set up their work, getting ink stones from the cupboard at the back of the room or cups of tea from the refreshment table. I think this warm up could be used for various psychological tests including personality assessments or even as a (cheap) lie-detector test because I can see that my state of mind really affects my strokes. For example, if I’m in a hurry and can’t be bothered to brush enough of the excess ink off on the side of the ink stone before I start, then I get a thick blotchy line that gets bigger and uglier as the ink soaks into the paper (see top line below). If I lose concentration, the line starts veering off in the wrong direction. If someone comes and looks over my shoulder then there’ll be a little hiccup in the line or it will wobble because I suddenly feel nervous. So I bet it would be possible to asses if someone were telling the truth by making them paint straight lines and interrogating them as they go. Then all we’d have to do is assess the wobbles and hiccups in the lines. This test could also be used at job interviews to reveal personality traits such as if the candidate is able to pay attention to detail. I’m obviously not able to, because my lines don’t even start or end at the same level as each other which reveals (I bet) that I’m a generalist and not a specialist. I think I’m on to something here.
Anyway, today, again we started by reading a short poem in hanja for 20 minutes before the actual practice session began. Then I started on the vertical stroke I learnt last week. A group of more advanced students gathered around the teacher and he folded his paper into four and in each square wrote a hangul character while everyone watched in silence. Then his example was photocopied and all the students in the group got their own copy to refer to. I’m not at the whole character stage yet so carried on with my one stroke. I think it’s getting better (I practised this week at home) but it’s still impossible to get each stroke the same size and length and although it’s tempting to get frustrated about this problem, it’s not a good idea because it just makes things worse. I’ve noticed my strokes go through three stages during the two hour class. They start off nervous and wobbly, move on to more confident and hopeful and finish on tired and ready for a lie down.
Here’s my confident and hopeful period. Quite nice.
Here’s part of my tired phase.
The new stroke of the day was tricky. It starts off strong then becomes thinner in the middle and then ends strong. It should look like this.
Here are some of mine.