Tag Archives: cebu

Freediving training February!

I’m in my final month in Korea and I’ve just started prep for the next step in my freediving journey. I’m aiming to become an instructor in March so I have to get back to my August form so that everything will be easy.

While I was stuck on a gondola ride at High 1, I came across this amazing video about Frenzel and equalization. I don’t really have an issue with Frenzel. My main problem is swallowing my air so I’d like to nip that annoying habit in the bud within the 1st few days of training in Cebu.

Since my two main goals for instructors will be to dive to 40m and achieve a static apnea time of 4:00 minutes, I decided to attend a very special templestay in Korea.  I needed a temple that puts a strong emphasis on meditation.

Golgulsa Temple is situated in Gyeongju, about 34km from Pohang.  “Golgulsa” literally means “Stone Buddha Temple” and it’s home to a 4m large Buddha carved into Mt. Hamwol, sometime between the 7th and 9th century.

Golgulsa is also famous for a form of martial art that was originally practised only by monks. Sunmudo means ““the way of doing meditative martial arts”.  It’s a unique combination of meditation, yoga and martial art. You can read more about the fascinating history of Sunmudo here.

I arrived on Saturday and had 3 meditation practices under the belt by the time I left the following day. I found it very helpful to have a refresher on what to focus on when meditating. Essentially, breathing and relaxation are intrinsically linked. It’s about acknowledging a distracting thought but letting it pass through as you return to breath. I also found moving meditation a really enjoyable activity. I’m hoping to use meditation and yoga not only for getting a good breathe-up but also to help me deal with contractions better. My training mantra is “contractions are your friend”. I hope that if I repeat this enough I’ll actually start believing it instead of being distracted by the discomfort.

Trying out Sunmudo is part of the templestay experience and it’s amazing how exercises that only use balance and bodyweight can cause such high lactic acid levels in your muscles! I thought I was relatively fit but I guess the training session targeted muscles that are not used too much in cycling and snowboarding. Two days later and I’m still stiff hahaha!

I met grand master Jeog Un Sunim during Sunday’s tea ceremony and I had a question for him (which has nothing to do with martial art, meditation or freediving). I noticed there was a statue of a Jindo dog next to a small, fat-bellied smiling Buddha on the temple grounds. When I asked him about it, he told me that he had a dog for 20 years and that she was like a daughter to him. After her death 5 years ago, he decided to honour her memory by erecting the statue on the temple grounds. She lives in through her daughter, who was happily snoring away in a corner while we were doing our 5AM meditation session.

There’s a lot we can learn from Buddhism and apply to freediving. Other than mediation and knowing the importance of breath and living mindfully (living in the now), it also teaches us not to attach to anything (other than the line of course. ALWAYS be attached to the line). Don’t attach to failure, don’t attach to nerves or negative feelings. Acknowledge that failure is part of the learning and growing process. Be aware of your body and your breath. Be aware of how your thoughts are impacting your training and performance. Be aware of where you tense up when you start stressing or when you feel discomfort (for me it’s my neck). Be grateful for your health and the beauty of the ocean.

By knowing yourself you can strive beyond your limits. This takes time, training and patience. I’d say the end result is worth it though 🙂

* You can find other useful articles about freediving here.

 

 

 

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Wanna be a mermaid?

The world is a random place and the internet often brings special people and experiences our way.

Were it not for Couchsurfing, I would never have met Kanghee and learnt about his company wa-ve.me. Kanghee is a crazy cool guy who used to live in Seoul and has a background in photography and media. He took his imagination to Cebu where he runs snorkeling trips with a twist.

Let’s face it, most girls have a mermaid fantasy. I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t get excited at the thought of getting their Ariel on. The trip is mostly aimed at Korean and Japanese tourists. Yes, mermen are also welcome to dress up for the photo op of a lifetime!

I had such a fun day with the Korean and Japanese guests on the boat. It was reassuring to see that despite all the WW2 issues still cropping up between these two great nations that their citizens really enjoy hanging out with each other.  I also found it  a great opportunity to practice my Korean listening and speaking skills as well perfecting my mermaid swim technique. And you know, when there are Koreans on the boat there will be free beer,  snacks and a party atmosphere!

The day will run along these lines: pick up from your hotel, a bit of waiting around for the boat to arrive, boat briefing, snorkelling/ scuba diving at Nalusuan Island (I’d recommend scuba diving over snorkelling because the snorkel area is tiny and absolutely rammed with people). After the dive/ snorkelling you’ll go onto Nalusuan Island for lunch: tasty BBQ and fresh fruit. The photo session took place while we waited for lunch which is good! Empty stomach= photogenic stomach! You’ll do some more diving/ snorkelling/ jet skiing after you leave the island.

Kanghee will email you a bunch of photo and video footage after the experience for you to wow your family and friends with. I highly recommend this as a day trip the next time you visit Cebu.

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Korean mermaids getting ready to strike a pose