KMAA’s TKD Demo at Mundelein Community Days Festival 2016

Like last year, I went along with Keumgang Martial Arts Academy to the Mundelein Community Days Festival, in celebration of the United States’ Independence Day.

I whipped out my trusty phone to record the full demonstration, then went through and took stillframes of action moments and compiled them into a photo album.

Luckily, not only was this later on in the evening (instead of right in the afternoon when the sun is strong­est), but it was in a much shadier region, so I didn’t end up getting my skin slightly burned, like I did during the Lambs Farm demonstration.

Here’s the video and the photo album:

And finally, here’s a bonus photo not included in the album above – this is Mike, one of the masters of the academy, holding a sword with an apple wedge onto the tip, for one of the acts:

Mike holding a sword with an apple




KMAA’s TKD Demo at Lambs Farm Fun & Fit Family Day 2016

Earlier today, I went to Lambs Farm, which is a disability services facility not far from Keumgang Martial Arts Academy. KMAA was participating in the Fun & Fit Family Day 2016, and also had a demonstration as part of the festivities.

I agreed to attend because I didn’t realize the entire thing was outside, but luckily, I was aware enough to wander off and find some shady and scenic areas away from the hordes of people.

(Click photos to enlarge)

I also took a video of the entire taekwondo demonstration. It was almost 20 minutes long, and I literally got slightly seared on the areas of skin that was exposed to the sun.

I almost never burn, so this is literally a first for me – I’m assuming that the fact that this farm was in the middle of nowhere is the reason why the sun shone down stronger and had a more detrimental effect on me.

If you’re interested in seeing the video, as well as the full photo album that includes stillframes of action from the video, check out the post I made on Keumgang Martial Arts Academy’s Facebook page:




Photos from ESL HotS Global Championship, Spring ’16 Circuit, NA Regional

I’ve already posted quite a bit about the event that I attended with Tempo Storm, but there’s one more post left – I just got the links to the professionally-captured photos from the tournament. I decided to embed and share some of the ones involving the team and me.

On the first day of the tournament, we had some catastrophic computer problems. Two of our computers just wouldn’t boot, one blue screened, one was in a start-up loop, and one had critical system files missing and corrupted.

These problems caused the stream to be delayed by literally over 50 minutes. This is a snapshot of the ESL operators and administrators trying to help us get everything working again.


This is Zixz getting very excited and yelling at some unknown thing on his computer screen. Zixz is the sup­port, and out of the five players, he’s probably the one who’s always the most excited and hyped.


Our first set was against Panda Global, and this photo was snapped shortly after defeating them in a best-of-three. Pictured brightly smiling in the center is Srey, the shotcaller and tank; to his right is Goku, the bruiser.


Another set in which we played was against Team Naventic. This was one of our more difficult sets, because Team Naventic was seen as one of the favorites to win, coming into the tournament.

Although I generally always have a somewhat cold and emotionless expression on my face (when I’m not in­ten­tion­ally trying to be funny or friendly), I look particularly concerned in this photo in anticipation for how the set might turn out.

The player in white is Kaeyoh; he is the captain and carry of the team. Hidden behind his monitor, to Kae­yoh’s left, is So1dier, the flex player.


Shortly before making it out of group stage, we had to play against King of Blades Alpha in our group decider match. We were less worried about this set, so I look slightly less concerned.


Here’s the famous bunny ears shot, from a different angle. I already posted a screencap from the broadcast of this scene on my blog and on my Twitter – our team was laughing here because there were literally four cameras on Zixz at the same time. Here’s another angle of the shot … now all I need to do is find the remaining two angles.


And finally, this was the last set we played, against Cloud9, and the set responsible for knocking us out of the tournament. I already knew that this was going to be a tough set, so you can see the onset of my con­cerned face coming right back.


All these photos are taken by Carlton Beener, and were uploaded to ESL’s Flickr account. If you want to view the other teams in the rest of the photos, you can check out the album at:




Black Belt Promotion Testing for Keumgang Martial Arts Academy

For a majority of the day yesterday, I was attending a black belt promotion test as a spectator to take photos, film video, and support the students.

Generally, for color belt promotion testing, I’m one of the judges because I provide a third-party opinion on the students’ performance (seeing as I’m an independent coach and guest instructor, and I’m not officially an employee of Keumgang Martial Arts).

Although I’m sure I would’ve been able to do that for black belt promotion testing as well, I chose not to for two primary reasons.

The first is because the black belt testing was being held at a different academy, other than ours. This a­cad­emy has a huge staff base, and presumably is proportionally wealthy. There really isn’t any reason for me to volunteer for this other academy, especially because I have very limited relationships with the staff there anyway.

The second is because it was far more important to me to be there supporting the students, rather than making sure they were doing their taekwondo correctly. I wanted to capture this moment for them and their parents, and this was meaningful enough to me that, even if the other academy were to pay me, I would most likely decline so I can be there as a supporter.

Unfortunately, saying that the lighting there was less-than-ideal is an understatement, and a lot of the pho­tos ended up being not-that-fantastic. But, through the power of Photoshop magic, I was able to en­hance them enough that, through white balance and contrasting, they look decent.

Shortly after I got back home from having dinner with the students and their families after the exa­min­a­tion, I posted 63 cropped and enhanced photos to Keumgang Martial Arts Academy’s Facebook page.

For the video footage, I clipped out the interesting parts and put them together in a compilation (and threw in some photos for short slideshow segments as well).

Yes, I am very much against Facebook video because they are essentially thieves, don’t compensate their content creators, and don’t react appropriately to copyright takedown requests.

But, I decided to upload this video to Facebook anyway because I used a copyrighted song in the back­ground (to which I synchronized the transitions), and I wouldn’t have been able to monetize it any­way.




Keumgang Martial Arts goes to Mundelein Community Days Festival

I went to the Mundelein Community Days Festival today with my martial arts academy’s and filmed their demonstration.

Persevering through sore shoulders and people pushing and bumping into me, I managed to keep the camera up and recording for the full 21 minutes of the performance.

For those who don’t have the time or desire to watch a 21-minute video, I have some stillframes of the highlights of the video.

A blindfolded jumping back kick:

A vaulted roundhouse kick:

One of our instructors does a quadruple kick, four kicks in the air before landing:

Through-the-legs flying side kick:

A 540° tornado kick:

A 720° spinning hook kick:

A spinning aerial twist kick:

A flying side kick:

And the grand finale, power breaking ten bricks:

I uploaded a complete album of 60 stillframes on Keumgang Martial Arts Academy’s Facebook page, so you can go check that out at




Trip to Chicago with Californian relatives

Last night, an aunt and uncle from California came to visit us as a part of their road trip across the United States.

I took a bunch of photos during the trip. The full album can be found on my Google+ profile in my “Trip to Chicago with Californian relatives” photo album, but I’ve picked out a few to highlight here in this blog post.

On our way to Chicago, we stopped by a restaurant. They had some ginger suspended in water on display in the corner.

Apparently my parents knew the owner of the restaurant. The food wasn’t exactly the best – my meat was a bit burnt when I usually like it cooked rare, and my soup was a bit bitter – but it was a decent-enough restaurant with good value for the price.

After we finished eating, we entered the heart of Chicago, and went to the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sear’s Tower). We went through the skydeck tour; on the path to the elevator, there was a lot of informational stations, one of which was a video.

The elevator ride up to the top took only about a minute, which meant that we were traveling at about 18 miles an hour.

Once we got to the top, I took a ton of photos looking out the windows. I uploaded these in higher-than-1080p resolution, so it’s definitely worth checking them out in full quality in the Google+ album.

The last time these relatives visited us, back several years ago, we went on a tour via boat. My dad managed to find out where it was, so I took a picture.

There were souvenirs at the top of the tower. I didn’t really want one, so instead of buying them, I just took pictures of them. These are wooden replicas of the Willis Tower.

After making our way back down, we went on to tour Millenium Park.

This was a stage near the exit to the parking garage where we parked.

Of course, we visited Cloud Gate, commonly referred to as “The Bean,” and widely accepted as the finest piece of art in Chicago.

There must’ve been a field trip going on, because while we were at Cloud Gate, a bunch of tiny children flooded around the sculpture and stood under it. This is another photo, this time from the opposite angle as the photo above.

Near Cloud Gate, there was a tree with white flowers; according to my dad, it’s the exact same tree that we have in our backyard.

On our walk to Crown Fountain, we encountered a bunch of art students drawing “1004 Portraits,” a series of sculptures by Jaume Plensa.

And finally, we made it to Crown Fountain, the last notable Chicagoan feature in our walk. Unfortunately, it wasn’t activated, but the shifting faces still worked.

Remember, these photo highlights are just that – highlights. Be sure to check out the complete album to see all the photos I took during our trip in 2048-pixel-width resolution.




Trip to Chicago to visit Hao, Days 2 and 3

Hi humans.

Here are the photos from the second and third days of my trip to Chicago.

After waking up, showering, eating breakfast, and playing a few games of League of Legends, we left to take the CTA to Oak Park.

Blue line CTA

On the train ride there, Ed played some intense Candy Crush.

Candy Crush

This is right after arriving at Oak Park and getting off the CTA loading area.

CTA bridge

On the way to the movie theater in Oak Park, we came across this house. If you take a look at the gutter, you will see that the owners of this house appear to be collecting leaves in there.

Leaved gutters

We also came across a plant with very soft, fuzzy leaves.

Soft fuzzy leaves

While Ed was feeling the leaves, cool guy Hao walked ahead of us.

Cool guy Hao

“Why is the top of that church so shiny?” “Because it’s piercing the heavens.”

Piercing the heavens

As we got closer to the movie theater, we decided to get some food before watching the movie. On our way to finding a restaurant, Ed tried to take a photo that looked like he was holding a car. He failed.

Holding a car between your fingers fail

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Trip to Chicago to visit Hao, Day 1

Hi humans.

Ed and I went on a trip to Chicago to visit his old roommate, Hao (who you might already know as someone with whom I frequently play League of Legends).

We got on the train to travel from our home village to the Chicago city area. In the photo you can see Ed’s chin and his headphones, artistically obstructing the view out the window.

After completing our train ride and taking our first steps of the day into Chicago, we came across this structure. Ed said that it was the “Olympic torch for giants.”

Olympic torch for giants

Then we noticed that it was actually called the Batcolumn.


Ed decided that he likes the name “Olympic torch for giants” better.

While we were walking from the train station to Hao’s apartment, we walked across the highway.


As well as this brilliantly named restaurant – El Famous Burrito.

El Famous Burrito

We also walked across this truck whose logo resembled a Pokéball.

Chicago Corporate Photography

After a bit over a mile of walking, we finally made it to Hao’s apartment.

Apartment hallway

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