Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Only the legacy remains...

I hadn't realized that the last time I wrote on here was in November 2008.

After testing for my 5th mid-term in the 1st degree curriculum, I called it quits.

I had been trying to balance my new job, at the time, that was about to increase its hours with TKD time and family time. It just wasn't working. To add to that. I was just not finding TKD that much fun anymore. My body hurt too much, between my knees and back. It was time to walk away.

That was in December 2008.

It is now March 2010. I don't regret walking away. While I miss my friends at the ATA, and I still enjoy martial arts, my body is just not in any shape to do it anymore. I did gain some weight after stopping, and I'm working on ways to get back in shape that won't tax my knees so much. I know that I'll always be welcome to go back, but I don't forsee that anytime in the future. Ironically enough, I ended up getting laid off from said job, and so I suppose I could go to the one or two day classes, but it costs money I don't have right now, and even if I did, I'm putting my energies elsewhere trying to find a new job while going back to school. Right now, my intellectual education is more important than my physical education.

Do I regret my years in taekwondo and the ATA? No, not at all. I do regret that Drew doesn't continue with it. He was able to graduate to brown belt before he quit. And yet, due to his great love of Star Wars these days, runs around doing martial arts moves worthy of any great Jedi, but doesn't want to go back, even if it's a different martial arts school or form. Oh well. Maybe he'll change his mind.

For both of us, I think we learned about a great way to physically exercise and learned how to discipline ourselves. There's times that Drew will snap into place with the "Yes, ma'am!" or "Yes, sir!" or have a take charge attitude that he would've learned over there. I find myself still acting like an instructor trainee outside of the do-jahng. So in that respect, we got some good out of it for both of us.

For myself, I think the accomplishments I made were ones that I needed to make. I needed to earn that black belt. I needed to earn those titles, especially that state championship. I didn't think that I could ever do that. My black belt certificate is framed and sits in my dining room. It is a reminder that I can achieve many things if I choose to do it, and put the work into it.

Now, instead of trying to get to my 2nd degree black belt, my goal is to earn a Master's degree in Professional and Technical Communications at NJIT. I'm still getting through my first semester of the graduate certificate program first, but I think I'm on my way, and just have to remind myself that if a person at my age with a bum knee could earn a black belt and a state title, then I can definitely earn this Master's degree as well.

To anyone reading this who is interested in martial arts, don't see this as the end of a story-- it's the beginning. If you love martial arts, keep doing it. While I really can't practice it anymore, I still believe in the power of learning it, and how it really can enable you.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Decision...for now

After some thought, and consulting with the hubby and my good TKD buddy Sandy, I came to the following decision. Drew will take his break. It may be permanent, and it may not, we'll see. I decided for myself that I will continue for the next two months (which equals a cycle), at least until the end of the year, and then make a decision about myself, whether to continue or not. I guess on the plus side, I can go back to adult/teen classes again, and have to contend with a bunch of grade school kids all the time. Even when telling SW that Drew was taking a break, I didn't say anything about myself other than applying Drew's tuition to myself next month instead. She pretty much responded that it wasn't a problem, that Drew is one of those kids that needs breaks and he always comes back doing better, so it was fine. She also added that she didn't want me to feel that just because Drew was taking a break that I needed to take a break too because "you like it for yourself", as she said. I didn't admit to her how I haven't been too thrilled for months and the temptations of stopping or going somewhere else. I just nodded and said that's why I'm still going, and at least perhaps with the adult classes, I might have the cameraderie back with the teens and adults, and I'll be more challenged again, even with the "boring stuff". We'll see. I'll take it one week at a time.

So there you go. Perhaps the winding down of an era, perhaps not. Only time will tell.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

TKD dilemma, shredder style

(Crossposted from my regular blog with some edits.)

I'm upset tonight about Drew and TKD. Or should I say, Drew and not TKD. Drew had been good all day on his day off from school, according to his father, no problems. He was even cooperative when I got home and had him getting ready for TKD class. I don't know what happened completely, but when we got to the ATA, Drew had some sort of misconception that today was the Weapons Camp (which is not until the day after Thanksgiving). I don't know where he got that idea, and he flipped out. When I explained it was regular class today, he continued to cry and flip out, and even in getting him to calm down and try to talk about it, he kept saying that he hated TKD, and wanted a break. Well, I tried to convince him that he wouldn't be allowed to go to Weapons Camp if he didn't go to classes, but he didn't care. No matter what I tried to do to get him to take class, it just wasn't going to work. The best thing to do was just to pack up before even starting class, and go home.

On the way home, I kept asking and giving him leading questions as to why he didn't want to cooperate. He constantly gives mixed signals. He likes class sometimes, loves the weapons especially, but hates doing the other stuff. He wants to be a student helper, but he doesn't want his black belt. He doesn't understand why he has to do Songham #4 form again when he's done it already and it's "easy". (Well, for one thing, he only did the half form before...but I digress.) We didn't come to much of a resolution in discussing it in the car, so the conversation was continued when we got home.

Once home, we included the DH in the conversation, and I was trying to get Drew to make a commitment that after a cycle break (2 months), he'd start again in January. He was hesitant, and saying he hated it. Now, the kid's got some talent in this, and can enjoy it, some I'm getting frustrated and confused. DH was reminding me that's he's 7 and doesn't know what he wants, and we'll make him. I reminded DH that he doesn't take Drew to TKD classes, and doesn't have to fight with him when things go awry. I'm just tired of Drew going in and out, in and out for months at a time. I have no problem giving him a summer break, or giving him a break now and then as long as he can be committed to classes. Otherwise, why put me through a 2 month break only to have him go for 2 months, then take another break? I'm tired of the years of see-sawing, adjusting my schedule constantly, and working my butt off to pay for classes. And if he didn't do TKD, I want him to do something else, but what? DH agreed that it shouldn't be a team sport, and that he should do something that will make him focus on what he's doing.

I also pointed out that if we pull Drew permanently (or, I like to think optimistically, for a long break, as I really hopes he can get back into it eventually), where does that leave me? I still like it, even though I don't have the energy or motivation as of late. Once I started with my new job, my schedule and energy levels changed dramatically. I'm not as entrenched as I was before. And while it can be seen as a compliment that I am fairly self-sufficient in my martial arts studies, it was getting boring, and I wasn't getting the kind of attention that I felt I needed anymore. I had to ask for help constantly, and things that were wrong with my form were being corrected after doing them wrong for a YEAR. I know my weapons half-form is pretty ugly, but functional, if that makes sense. But that's because I didn't get a lot of help when learning it. So, I can understand Drew wanting to do something different; however, I have a certainly loyalty to the place, and I feel like I'll be losing a huge part of my social life and friends there that I've made over the almost 4 years we've been there. I've worked hard to be able to afford classes and gear and such for both Drew and I, and I feel like he's throwing it down the toilet for the both of us.

DH is convinced that Drew doesn't mean it when he says he never wants to go back. Fine, I'll let him argue it out with Drew instead of me. It's a little too gut-wrenching and emotional for me.

In the meantime, just because DH was more interested than me (although I will admit I was mildly interested), we went to the new gym nearby tonight. We have some friends who are over there and like it, and know one family that sends the kids for swimming lessons there. It's a nice facility, very up-to-date. We checked it out a little bit. We saw the gym, got the basic info about the swimming classes for kids, saw some of the gym without the full tour, and that was that. I looked at the website a little more when we got home, and I know they have TKD there as well. Not the style that I've learned, but at least there'd be a TKD option there, while still being able to use the weight equipment and such (which is usually how I've lost weight-- weight training). Of course, we don't know the pricing. And the pricing for 2-1/2 hour classes/week vs. the 1 hr/week of TKD twice a week for Drew is different-- the swim classes would be slightly higher, but not by a lot. So, it's something to think about.

This whole thing has just has me ripped to shreds. I really don't know what to do in this situation. It's too much too fast for me this time, so I think I'm going to let DH handle this. He understands why I want Drew in TKD or some other discipline of sport that can help him focus his mind and his self-control-- he agrees with all the reasons I want Drew in martial arts. But as I said, where does that leave me? Try a new place for kicks, (no pun intended), yet feel like I am betraying the place that "brought me up", and where my friends are, where I know I have emotional support if not educational support? Or do I stay, and just voice my concerns that I want a little more personal attention? Or do I just try something completely different, like join this gym and do Pilates instead? I feel a lot of stress with this. I recently went through a very emotional and stressful time dealing with a problem with my family (parents, siblings, etc.) and it tore me apart to make some painful decisions about my relationship with them. But the decisions in the situation were pretty clear cut. This time, in this situation, it's not as clear what I need to do. And it's really eating me alive.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

We're still here!-- again!

I know, I haven't written much in months. Drew and I are still taking TKD. I took a month off in August, and in September with the new school year, we started back up, and just had another graduation this past week. It's amazing to think it's been a year already since I earned my 1st degree black belt. If I hadn't taken some breaks this past year, I would be about halfway to my 2nd degree black belt by now, but it's not a race, as SW would say. Drew is definitely evidence of that. Due to circumstances and breaks he has taken, he's far behind some kids who started after he did-- they are earning their black belts now. He's not quite there yet-- BUT he's getting much closer now. He finally earned his brown belt this past graduation. He broke his board for permission to test (and I didn't think he would), and he held his own doing Chung Jung #2 (the hardest color belt form) as a blue belt.

And then, there was freestyle weapons. Weapons are Drew's favorite thing to do. And this cycle, he was able to do his favorite weapons, which is the Jahng Bang.


Drew's JB moves!

Okay, so he dropped it, but a big part of the success of this routine is that he didn't freak out for all the times he dropped it, and he didn't have a meltdown afterwards because of it. And he actually has some decent moves in there for a 7 year old, if I do say so myself.

Drew is a total contradiction when it comes to TKD. He wants to be in Leadership so that he can be an assistant/junior instructor trainee, but he claims he doesn't want his black belt (and yet he's so close now!). He also wants to train only on weapons, as that's his favorite, and is not so cooperative about doing the forms, sparring and board breaking. He's actually very good at sparring too, but it's not his favorite. Well, it doesn't work like that. You have to do it all, after all. Oh well. I just get him to plug along, and if we can have a day where he doesn't fight or argue too much, we're happy. The other day he was pissed at another kid for not holding the pad firmly still for a drill. So rather than freak out, he actually just went to the side of the mats, and sat down and sulked. He didn't cry or anything. He kind of put himself in a time-out. Hey, that was fine. It was better that he did that, and started back when he was willing to cooperate than have a total meltdown/freakout that disrupts the class. We'll take what we can get, after all!

My own studies are going slowly. I finally have the first half of the BME form down now. It's far from perfect, but it's acceptable. I know the second half is mostly the same thing but doing it with the left hand. That's going to be quite the challenge, as I've rarely done anything left-handed with the BME. So that will be interesting, but at least it will be easier now that I understand the first half. In looking at the 1BD curriculum, it's okay. I always do the same form, and each cycle, I make a change with weapons, spar, and I don't have to board break again until I'm ready to get to my 2BR level, and then again at 2BD level.

So, we're plugging along, and there's not really that much to report. But we're still here, and still doing taekwondo! Ai-yah!