Wednesday, November 30, 2005

If the boy only applied himself, he'd be AWESOME. This was the class before graduation for Drew, and for whatever reason, he was goofing off a bit. He did sit nicely during practice while waiting his turn, and there were plenty of instances where he was behaving fine and following stuff, but there were other moments-- UGH! When I yelled at him to stop whacking this one kid with one of those swimming noodles they use for sparring practice, Ma'am interjected for me not to say anymore and let the instructors do their job to get after him. I bit my tongue, but thought, "Then where the hell are they? I don't want the other kid to be beaten up senseless by Drew with that noodle!". I mean, as I said to JC tonight, this is why I'm not getting his mouthguard and "punches" (boxing gloves) yes. He'd do it wrong and try to beat up a kid-- he's not ready yet to do that. When he went a little crazy with the noodle again when switching partners, they took the noodle away and had him sit, but the purpose was to get him to watch how it's done correctly. He felt he was being punished. I couldn't open my mouth without Ma'am getting after me again, so I didn't. She caught that the instructor needed to tell him what was going on, but he was already in an upset mindframe. He chilled out, but it just set the tone for the end of class. He was happy that he got another stripe, and he also FINALLY got his permission to test form. And that helped raise his spirits a little.

It's just very frustrating, because Drew is a good kid-- don't get me wrong--but I KNOW him. He's the kid who needs to be front row and center in order to have him focus and do what he's supposed to do. I'm not expecting them to pay attention only to Drew-- the class is too big for that. However, if they want him to focus and do well, they have to pay more attention to him at certain times and give him more one-on-one instruction. And when they aren't doing it, I get annoyed at him and them and interject, but then *I* get in trouble. Geez. He can do this stuff, but I think their solution is to have him take class twice a week, and he's only 4, I'm not doing that anytime soon. I took ballet lessons for 12 years just once a week, and did quite well that if I lost about 60 lbs., got in shape, and reacquainted myself with "procedure", for lack of a better term, I could jump right in and keep up with the pros for the most part. I don't expect Drew to become a TKD master anytime soon, so if he feels he likes this and wants to commit to getting a high rank, then we'll talk. But no one is going to tell me otherwise.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Triangle, V-Cross and Sparring. Hopefully I got that second item listed correctly. Other than my form, that's what I was doing today. I still have a problem with my wrists and hands overextending, or over-rotating, or stuff of that ilk, but I have my form and my one steps down, and got my last stripe. Ma'am gave it today in class as I'm really only supposed to get one a class, and she couldn't give me two last night. No matter-- I have my stripes! :-)

So, foregoing board breaking, as Winnie didn't need to do it, and while I would have liked to have done more, I decided to try something else, I got some more lessons with the weapons, namely the numchuks. (If I'm spelling that right, that is.) Elbows up is the key for me, and not only did we review the triangle, I learned the V-Cross, or at least I think that was what it was called. It wasn't hard, but I just have to practice it. That should be interesting with Drew about! I think I will have to practice when he's at school or when he's asleep. But that was cool. I think with some practice, I'll like that.

I also finally got more pointers in the form of drills for sparring. I know I suck at it, but said something that I've been learning with Winnie and others how to even do it, and I feel lost. So today Ma'am finally showed me some stuff, on how to position yourself, etc., and Winnie and I did several drills. Now, at least, I have some basics down, and that counts for a LOT.

I don't have class again until next week, because I am not going to be going to class on Saturday, and both Drew and I decided to forego the Interschool Tournament on Friday. I did want to go, but if Drew didn't, and I have a lot going on with my TBSAH stuff, it didn't make sense. Drew has class tomorrow, and Ma'am again told me he wouldn't move up as fast if he only went once a week, but he's still little, and I think twice a week is too much for a four year old, so she respected that. January is when we re-up, so I think things will be changing for us big time then.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Graduation is almost here, and the buzz is in the air at the Princeton ATA. It's next week, and we were all getting our last pointers in for the most part. I have one more class this week, and two next week before graduation hits, so I'll be okay. I had to make a few adjustments on my form, but other than that, I'm good to go. Even got my last stripe for my belt before moving up. Hooray! I think it'll be a little harder next time around, because there's only one other person, whom I don't know, who will be doing the same form as I am. My form buddy, Laura, will be moving up, since she's a level higher than me. I will be doing my next form, which is actually Songham #1 (since I did #2, and doing #3 right now, gotta back track for the cycle). If it's the "white" form, I imagine it'll be easy, I'll have to check the DVD. I also asked Ma'am, out of curiosity, if Drew will continue on the cub track or if he'll be going on the Tigers track. I told her that since he was still little and not 100% focused yet that if she kept him on the Cub track, at least as far as his belts were concerned, that wouldn't bother me, but she informed me that she is making him a Tiger, that he will be getting a white and orange belt. She let me know he's not going to graduate each cycle since he's only going once a week, but I think that's fine. He's only 4 years old, why would I send him to class twice a week? He's too little for that right now. Maybe when he's 6 or 7, but not now. But, I'm glad we are both making progress. As I tucked Drew in tonight and told him that he wasn't getting a green Cubs belt, but rather a white and orange belt and he wouldn't get a new belt at every graduation like he used to because now he's with the big kids, he said it was okay. I told him Ma'am would still give him a reward of some sort, because if you work hard, and you do good work, you can get a reward. He seems to understand that. Onwards and upwards, I guess.

I am also trying to conquer my sidekick when breaking the board. I somehow put some sort of a hop in there that I'm not totally aware that I'm doing. Ma'am catches it every time. I find if I just kick and don't think too much about it, I tend to do better, so that's kinda what I did tonight, except I had to remember not to hop after Ma'am yelled at me about it. I will conquer this break! I like breaking boards, even if it's not my forte'. I don't like sparring. I totally suck at sparring. Fortunately, at this level, I'm not expected to break or spar for graduation. But after the next level, I think I will be expected to do it. I hope if I tell Ma'am that I suck at sparring that she'll give me some more pointers, instead of the people I'm sparring with giving me the pointers. I have quite a ways to go, for sure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Double award for Drew today! Drew had his class today, and generally did okay. I think he was distracted at times, and didn't focus at other times, but other times he was able to keep up just fine. I think considering he's the youngest one in the class, he holds his own just fine. He was happy today when he got two "prizes" today. The first one I knew was coming up already, which was that I submitted his parent-teacher conference notes as his "report card", and he got a gold star for good work. The surprise, but I think they were doing it for all the kids today, was that he got another stripe on his belt today, so he felt extra proud. So he was feeling very proud today. I told him that he and I do have to work on the one-steps with him, since I know them and have to know them for graduation anyway myself. Good thing we are working on the same stuff! His graduation form has seemingly disappeared, and he hasn't gotten one. They figured that it was just misplaced or something, which I'm sure it was. I'm hoping that Ma'am will keep him on the Cubs belt track for a while, because he's still goofing off a little, and until he can focus all the time and do the work as requested ALL the time, I don't think he should be on the regular belt track. But that's just me. He can still move up the ranks, just at a different level. Oh well. Maybe that way, I'll have time to catch up to him a little bit! At least he's improving, a little bit by a little bit. He's definitely better than he was when he started, that's for sure. And the fact that he can keep up with the Tiny Tigers is a big deal, especially for me. He's my little Tiger.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Beware of woman with weapons! Today's class wasn't too bad. My knee was still acting up a little, but it wasn't too bad. We mostly worked on some fine tuning of our form and one-steps. I finally broke the board with my #3 round kick (make a T with your foot, and ai-yah! with your heel). There was a lot to think about with the board breaking kick, and once she said just do X and Y, BOOM, there it was, finally breaking. Oy! I'll get it down one of these days. I also finally got my first lesson in using weapons, specifically the numchuck dohickey. I learned a basic triangle. It's not as easy as it looks! First of all, I have to turn my hand somewhat inside out for the first two corners of the triangle. Easier said than done. Then I do a once-around back swirl with the thing landing behind my back. Somehow when I do it, it seems a bit unwieldly. Man, it was worse when I tried to do it on the left side. And let's face it, I have to be able to do it on both sides! But at least I got my first lesson in that, and we didn't have sparring, which I don't like. And FINALLY! I got invited for graduation, and I also got my next stripe. Hooray! It's about time! Graduation is in about 2 weeks, so I have some practicing to do, for sure. My goal is black belt, Ma'am!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

It must be a trend or something. I took my first class since doing the number on my knee and ankle, and I didn't push it. Laura and I reviewed our form and our one-steps, and I know I pretty much have them down. Still no stripes though. Grrr. So, we were practicing board breaks, and Mr. Anderson was teaching me how to do a side kick to the board when a whelp was let out. A young boy, who I think is a black belt candidate, evidentally had jumped and landed wrong, or slipped, or did something where he really twisted his ankle badly, and understandably was crying. Mr. Anderson determined that he didn't think it was broken, and they were icing it down immediately, and he seemed to be recovering a little on the sidelines towards the end of class. Oh, and we did some sparring today. I sparred Winnie first, and she was helping me see that I was not covering myself with my other hand that much, and Laura was trying to whelp me big time, but it was kinda fun. I still suck at sparring, but I still feel like I'm learning from my "opponents" giving me advice, than from the instructors. That doesn't seem right, or as Drew would say, "that's not corrected". Oh well, I'll mention it to Ma'am on Monday. Drew has to come with me on Tuesday, and I hope Ma'am doesn't mind, because I really don't have anyone to watch Drew in the afternoon. I was hoping I'd be able to leave Drew with my mother for several hours that day due to parent conferences too, but she's only coming in the morning. That's life.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

No TKD for you! Still smarting a bit from the fall I took on Monday, where I twisted my ankle and hurt my knee, I ended up skipping TKD again on Tuesday. It's starting to feel a little better, so I should be OK on Saturday when I have class, provided I take it easy. I would've liked to try to go to Tournament, but I guess not this time around. That's okay-- if Mr. Anderson is there, I'll do fine. I think he's a good instructor.

Drew is the meantime is still trying to get the hang of Tiny Tigers, but managing okay for the most part. Even when they split the class up, his half is the bigger half, and I think he gets a little lost in the shuffle. He likes it, though, as I asked him if he'd rather switch to the Saturday class, and he said no, he likes the Wednesday class. Okay, if you say so!

Sunday, November 13, 2005

What's a gal gotta do to get her stripes? Yesterday, I felt I proved that I knew my form and my one-steps because I had to show them to Laura, my "partner" who'd been away and forgot almost everything in that time away. I knew ALL of it, and had the hands right and everything, and no new stripes for my belt. I mean, I know I'm not 100% smooth and clean with it, but I'm most of the way there, so I felt like I had earned them. Graduation is not that far away, so I want them if I'm going to move up. Otherwise, class wasn't anything special. While Ma'am didn't teach yesterday, Mr. Anderson did, she seemed like she was in a good mood, and she told me that she was just feeling punchy. I wish she was feeling punchy more often! Maybe on Monday, she'll notice that my stances are better, and she'll finally give me a stripe.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

It's a matter of smoothing out the bumps now, so to speak. Yesterday's class ended up being a private lesson. Ma'am apologized for really putting me through the paces, but I didn't mind-- I actually preferred it. I wish I could always get a private lesson! We worked on the forms some more, seeing where I'm making mistakes, etc. One of my main problems is my stances, namely my front and back ones. First of all, I tend to turn my feet, especially my back foot out. Secondly, I don't have a wide enough stance. I think that comes from many years of dancing, where legs and feet were usually kept closer to the body and you had to balance. To have the wide stances that Ma'am is trying to teach me is a little difficult, as I feel like I'm squatting instead of open with knees bent. It'll just take practice. I'm still getting some of the arm stuff down too. I was also having a hard time making the transition between the first section and the middle section, and the middle section to the end section. It's not that I can't do them, but I would just stop and have to think for a minute, and it will start to come. I just need to practice more. I was making the transition more smoothly after I did it several times. The more I did it, the transition got better, so I just have to keep going. I think I also need to review the DVD a few times to get a better idea of overall smoothness and flow of both the one steps and the form. Yes, even in my one-steps, I have to get better with my stances. Ma'am had me do this exercise where I had to do the new middle segment of my form across the room, with these dividers between each step to ensure that I would keep that wide stance. Part of what made it a little hard was that I was doing jump-kicks in the process! It's hard to land in a wide stance from a jump. But I managed. Ma'am does like my kicks, but I think that's due to my years of dancing.

In the meantime, Drew has his class today too. He was doing a little better, as he was yelling more, so the noise didn't bother him as much. It's a really large class, and I think what's noisier sometimes is the peanut gallery, aka the moms and dads waiting. They are all yacking away, and I'm sitting there, doing my knitting or watching Drew, and *I* can hardly hear the instructors. He was a little distracted watching some of his peers with the sparring while he and some others were still using the noodle to get that stuff down. That's fine. He's still wanting to get a star or something after every class, but I have to remind him that he doesn't get a turn each week. However, he still managed to hold his own overall in class, and Miss Nicki gave him an extra star for good behavior, so he managed to pull in 5 paper stars, so he can get an extra star for his uniform next week. He'll be happy. He's the youngest in the class by far, yet he's getting the hang of it, and I'm sure he's not completely held to the same standard as, say, the 7-9 year olds in the class. But he's doing well, and he likes TKD now. For a while he was resistant, but he does like it.

Well, until Saturday's class-- I need to work on this. I want my stripes, darn it!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Moving forward, for sure. I got the rest of my form tonight. I think I have just about all of it, or if not, almost all of it. Tonight's class wasn't so big, but Ma'am seemed preoccupied with the black belts, so that was fine for tonight. I'm sure she'll be after me tomorrow in the day class. One of the other moms taking class (mom of two black belts and a purple belt herself) told me that she'll ignore us unless we are doing something truly, terribly off, so that was kind of not so bad to be ignored. I was the lowest rank, and my Monday partner Laura wasn't there, so I had to go it alone, which was fine, it didn't bother me. I did my first board break (or is it plastic break, since I now have my practice board) with my hand tonight. It was the one where you break with your palm. Once I actually got the technique down (I would punch and follow through like a push, instead of punch and pull back quickly), BAM! The board broke. It was cool, and it didn't even hurt. I also had a chance to spar, since the only thing missing with my sparring equipment is my shin guards. So I had a little more of a chance to go at it. I first paired up with the purple belt person (I wish I remembered her name!), and then with "Miss Jodi", a teenager who sometimes teaches Drew's class, and she went easy on me. I told her that I was probably a break for her, as she barely did anything, but I think we were both tired. So tonight's overall session went well. I was hoping that Ma'am was watching enough so that I could get one, perhaps two stripes on my belt, but she wasn't. So hopefully it might happen tomorrow. I've got my form, and I've got my one steps, and I just have to smooth them out now. I'm ready for my yellow belt now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Well, in Drew's TKD class, he learned the 3rd one-step as well. And I misnamed it, as it's "Pizza Dude", not delivery guy. Oh well. At least I have the steps right! The other day during class, it was HUGE, like almost 20 kids, and he got a little out of sorts with overly loud and drawn out "ki-yahs" the kids were yelling. He would hold his ears and almost cry, and not do the work because it bothered him. I can appreciate that. It made me cringe too. Fortunately, Ma'am didn't come down on Drew on that stuff, or get after him because he wasn't doing some of the stuff quite right. It was too big of a class that day, and I think she understood that it was a little overwhelming for Drew, even though he otherwise continued to hold his own. I had asked Ma'am if there was anything that she wanted Drew's developmental pediatrician to know from her standpoint about Drew's development (as we had a yearly checkup the next day), and she said she felt that behaviorally, he has some issues, but they weren't that bad, and most were typical of most 4 year old boys. She also felt that he had great fine motor skills and that when he applied himself, he did very well. That was good to hear. I do think that Drew does enjoy TKD, and being in Tiny Tigers. He has to keep up with the big kids, and overall, all things considered, he does considering he's the youngest in the class usually. Even with some of his reactions and such the other day, some of the mothers were cooing over him, and how cute he was to watch. That made me feel good too. Now, if I could only get Drew to start understanding forms and one-steps and practice them with me, we'd be in good shape!

Oh, and I got my head gear and feet gear, so I'm just missing my shin guards for my sparring equipment. I think unless Ma'am gives me some more direction about sparring, I'm not going to like sparring very much. But if I want to compete, then I have to learn it. And besides, isn't that what learning all the moves is all about?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I learned the "Pizza Delivery Guy" one-step today. It was actually the 3rd one step that I have to learn, but the way they teach it for the kids (I guess including big ones like me), they teach it as the pizza delivery guy one. If I did the footing alone, I was fine, but it took me using the "Bob" dummy to understand and for me to start getting it. Just as I was getting the hang of it, then class was over. So I'm going to have to practice this. If I have this down, then there's a good chance I can get a new stripe on my belt, which would be progress.

Today, it was just Winnie and myself (Winnie being another mom who comes in mostly on Tuesdays, and she's working towards her 2nd degree black belt), and we mostly did stretching stuff before reviewing our forms. I got another few sections, one of them just being the end where I reverse what I do in the beginning, so it's coming along. If I can get it all down relatively soon, as well as the one-steps, then I'll get a few more stripes, and I'll be ready for graduation to my yellow belt. If it involves sparring or weapons, then I'm out of luck for a while. I stink at sparring so far (and told Ma'am how Dr. Albani was so tough on me to spur on the asthma attack), and I haven't learned weapons yet. I think Ma'am forgot and was going to teach me today, but I think she's kinda out of it right now-- just overworked and tired these days, and she apologized for it. I didn't mind-- I'm not in a rush to learn weapons at this point. All in due course, as far as I'm concerned. For all I care, I'll start weapons with my yellow belt, because I don't want to have to crunch to learn a routine or whatever you do with them for the next graduation.

Today was more typical of class. I was really put off by Dr. Albani's tactics, and I didn't exactly say that to Ma'am, but I would have liked to. I can deal with the pressure of having to learn something new fast with having to be shown a few times, but thrown right in with the sparring? I'm sure there's a few things I need to learn first to do it correctly and learn to do it effectively without having to get punched enough times, y'know? I was glad that it was kind of an easy going day, even if I was learning some new stuff in the process.