Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Today was the last TKD class of 2005, and it belonged to Drew. He did pretty well overall today. He was doing his form, and he worked on his cowboy one-step. Some of the warmups were funny, because they involved partner stuff, and he seemed to get along with the boy he was paired up with, and it was a little harder for them, but they were up to the task, and he seemed to enjoy himself. He still seemed to have some noodle problems, as usual, but it wasn't as bad as usual, fortunately. What was funny during the noodle sparring was that he was paired up with a little girl who seemed perfectly fine and sweet. When the kids had to shake hands, Drew did so, but then wiped his hand on his shirt and said "Yuck". There was nothing wrong with the girl's hand. I think he was just being a boy. :-P But I thought it was funny. As usual, Drew jumped around a little, but the more I watch him, I think it's hard for him to stand still. He's having fun, and he's excited to be there. :-) I'm looking forward to TKD in 2006, as I think both of us will progress. I'm thinking that by the time we hit April, when it's been one year since we started our journey together (I didn't start classes until this past September), Drew will hopefully be a full yellow belt, and I'll be a green belt, I think.

Oh, and I found out that Ma'am eliminated the Black Belt Club program, so I'm now in the Masters program by default. Sweet.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I love Tuesday classes. I think I've mentioned this before. It's because usually it ends up being a private lesson or a semi-private lesson (with no more than 1 or 2 other people in attendance). Ma'am gives me more of a workout, and is bound to pick on what I'm doing more, but then again, it's the attention that I'm getting that I don't get in a full class.

Today, I got another part of my form and my second one-step. The next few parts of the form were easy. It's just fine tuning some things like wider stances, and hand-foot timing (like the hand strike coincides exact with a step forward, that sort of thing). The next one step was easy-- I might end up trying to complicate it. While I had "Pizza Dude" last session, this one is called "The Cowboy". It's actually very simple, so I have no doubt that I'll get all the one-steps and the form down in no time, just like Ma'am said. In fact, after today's exercises and putting together what I learned last time and today, she said I had 10 of the 18 parts to my form already. That's cool. No weapons today, but that's okay. It was kind of an easy going day. I did do the kick in board breaking a little better today. I was on the right track, and Ma'am said had it been wood, I would've definitely broken it sooner. However, I still broke it a little sooner than I have been doing it, and I'm holding my overall form together better when I've been doing it, so that's progress. Hooray!

Now, a week off! I'll be practicing, for sure.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Here's some totally random things. First, just as I was about to start writing this post, I realized that I meant to go to TKD class tonight and totally forgot. Oh well. I'll be in class tomorrow.

Second, I realized recently that I have this weird curiosity of mine while in TKD class. Don't laugh, but I am constantly looking at people's feet. Not in the sense of me checking their feet to see what they are doing, but rather the condition of their feet. I think it's because in ballet and every other sport I've done, people had covered up feet. This is a sport where people always have bare feet. And I'm realizing that for a person that spent most of her childhood bashing her feet in pointe shoes dancing, my feet are in pretty good condition. I take care of my feet in comparison to others, and I really don't even do that much! Or I look at the configuration/shape of people's toes. I remember seeing one kids very long foot, and I swear there was an eight inch difference between where the top of his big toe was and the top of his smallest toe, and his foot couldn't have been much more than 4-5 inches wide! (So think of things at an angle). It was kinda freaky! Or another gal I noticed the other day had long toenails. What's the point in that? You can't wear shoes comfortably. I cut mine way down from habits when I danced, and I could kinda see having your toenails to the end of the nailbed, but extending over your toes like fingernails? Ewww. I know it's weird, but I've always been made fun of my toes (well, JC does that), and I tend to have a squared off set of toes. They look pretty normal to me. But some people really do have monkey's amazing!

OK, enough of my weirdness, that really has nothing to do directly with TKD class, but something I do at TKD class.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

I don't like sparring. That's it. I have NO skills at it whatsoever, and either I'm THAT out of shape, or my asthma acts up, or both. I just tired out so quickly, and gasping for breath. Today, by the time I finally got my gear on, I only had one round, which was fine by me. It was against a black belt teenager who forgot her mouthpiece, not like I was going to aim for her head anyway. But she had no hesitation going for my head, and getting me a few times. It was more me fending her off than me trying to go at her. I was so tired and gasping for air after a little bit. I really hate sparring.

Stretches were fine. I'm relatively flexible for an old, fat girl. I only have 2 steps to my form, and I have it. It's so pathetic that I'm not taught more than that so I can concentrate on other stuff. When I went to get my weapons, I'm told that I'm not using the bahng mahn-yee (or however you spell it), but the numchuks, and then I ask, well, then why is Ma'am telling me that I had to switch? Oy. I practice both anyway, as it doesn't hurt. It just seemed disorganized today, but then again, it's a big class on Saturday. I was also told that I shouldn't be working on my foot break in board breaking, but rather a "hand" one, so a few black belts were teaching me one with my elbow. It's still new, and I'm pretty sure that I was doing it right. Oh well. Nobody seemed to know what I was supposed to be doing except me and Ma'am, and Ma'am wasn't there today. How annoying. I really do like my one-on-one classes much better. I get a lot more out of them, for sure.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Motivation and doing much better! Today was Drew's first class as a full Tiny Tiger, complete with his half orange-half white belt. They changed the new mantra for the cycle, and it went from goals to "discipline". That was a mouthful for Drew, and I practiced the word with him on the way home. If anyone needs to have more self-discipline, it's Drew! But then again, he's only 4 1/2 years old. He is learning much of the same stuff today as I was learning yesterday. I think he gets so excited that he doesn't always pay attention as he should, but he was still doing well. He was even doing better in the "noodle" exercises today. He didn't whack a kid silly like he usually does. I think it also helped that the class was smaller today-- about half the size. I think the older kids who moved up into intermediate levels, and were just plain older, were put in another class. That helped a lot, as that was really distracting, even for me in the peanut gallery with all the gossiping mothers about (I talk a little to some, but usually concentrate on my knitting instead). He did much better, and I think he's feeling really good about himself and enjoying TKD now. Over the summer, we weren't so sure, so I now know that the move upwards to the Tiny Tigers was the right thing to do. Today, he even got a gold star for his uniform for the 5 happygrams he got at preschool, and so he was very proud. A good day for Drew!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I feel like a slicer-dicer. Today's class ended up being a private lesson again, but not that I mind! I like having the one-on-one lessons from Ma'am, as I get more done and learn more, I think, since I have the personalized attention. If I ever won the lottery and could have a personal gym and trainer, she'd have a good full-time job, as I really enjoy this sport, even if I'm not that great at it. She said since it's a new cycle, I have to switch weapons, and now it's the bahng-mahn-yee (that's my phonetical spelling, and I'm not even sure that I'm doing that right or calling it the right thing), but it's supposed to be a cutting type weapon, kinda like something with a knife edge or hatchet kinda sword thing, but for the sake of learning (and not having the real thing), we have these hard foam sticks, essentially. So I learned all 9 basic moves and the 2 basic blocks for it, and I have to get the hang of swirling it around like a sword. I have the rotation in my right hand, being a righty, but definitely not my left. It feels and looks awkward, so it's something I have to work on. And just as I was getting the hang of the numchuks! Oh well, another cycle. I also got my first two steps of my new form, and my first one-step. Easy, just have to think about it a little since it's new. Ma'am has already warned me repeatedly that I will get this down in no time, since it's easier than the first two that I learned. However, she is going to be much more nit-picky about how I do it, so I really have to pay attention to details, more than ever. I also am continuing to work on the board break. I got some more pointers, and broke it more quickly, but still making mistakes. Something to work on as well. I don't want to move on from this board break until I can break it more quickly and more consistently, and Ma'am didn't seem to have any objection to that. She seems pretty supportive and truly encouraging, especially when she said that she knew I'd get the form and one steps down very quickly. It's nice to know that your intelligence is acknowledged sometimes! Felt like a good day in class. I like it when I have "personal lessons". :-)

Monday, December 12, 2005

More weaponry! Since it was the end of the week, and we had just finished graduation, Ma'am decided to work on weapons. We did some warmups first, but then we got out our baton-like things. I don't know if they are supposed to be like clubs or swords, but we were learning how to defend with them. Nothing like fencing, of course. That was a new one, but I think it's because most of the black belts in class have to work on that stuff. I also continued to work on that freaking board break. I like board breaking, but I hate that plastic stuff, and I'm having such a hard time with this simple break. The problem is that I don't know how to gauge the kick. I can position myself correctly, I can chamber correctly, and I can touch the target correctly when practicing the kick. But when I actually have to employ the kick, then I run into problems. There's a lot to think about in getting to the kick. The other problem that I think I'm running into is the execution of it, specifically where the energy is distributed. What I mean by that is that in everything I've ever learned in any sport, it's basically a windup and the pitch, and the windup is where all the energy is built up, and the pitch is the release of that energy. Well, evidentally with this kick, it's the other way around. TOTALLY contrary to everything I've ever learned in any other sport or in dancing. The energy is the kick itself, and not the chamber or set up. How confusing! The black belts working with me were very patient, to say the least, giving lots of tips. I think Ma'am still reminds me not to hop too. :-S It should be so simple theoretically, and it's not, but I won't move on until I master this. It's frustrating, but I don't let it get to me. Life won't end if I don't master this stuff right away, after all.

Tonight, we'll see how class goes. I'm extremely tired from a long winded weekend, and I had to get up extra early today to take Lynn back to the train station. We'll see how much energy I have!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

New Ranks in the Villegas Household!

There were two graduations/testings today. Drew had his first. He held through and followed through fairly well. Even Ma'am told me later that she felt he did pretty well, all things considered. One thing that was funny during his graduation towards the end was that the kids all had to line up by rank, but of course, they have no clue. Drew was the only one still in his Cubs rank before receiving his belt, so Ma'am would call up all the blacks, all the blues, then all the purples, then all the yellows, then the oranges, and then she called, "All those with a white belt with a camo stripe come up. (quick pause) That's you, Drew!" He jumped up as if to say, "Oh!" and got right into his spot, because he didn't realize he was being called because of his unique belt. I was glad, that at least he was recognized as being a higher rank than the white belts. That made me proud. He was very proud of his new orange/white belt. In the scheme of things, compared to being in the Cubs, he jumped up about 6-8 belts! It's going to be a while until he gets another belt, but that's okay. He's holding his own in the big kids' class, and he'll focus more with maturity. Ma'am told the parents that at this stage, the kids can buy their punches and mouthpiece. Since he can't even do what he's supposed to do with the "noodle" for defensive stuff, I asked if he could wait, and she said sure. He's too young for that, and for taking class twice a week. I mean, he just turned 4 1/2 two days ago, for goodness' sake! But Drew is happy about his new belt, for sure.

As for me, as I said the other day, no worries. I admit I still sped through it with Laura despite what I was supposed to do, but I remembered a few things that Ma'am pointed out yesterday, so hopefully she noticed. When we were supposed to declare our "jun-be", I said "Black Belt Excellence, Ma'am!" instead of, "My goal is Black Belt, Ma'am!". She corrected me, but still said it was okay. I covered up by saying that I guess I'm achieving high for now! ;-) But it all went pretty smoothly. Even at one point, everyone except certain black belts and certain colors were supposed to put on sparring gear, and here I didn't listen right, and put mine on. It was the first time I actually got my chest protector on by myself, and then as I got everything on, Laura tells me we don't have to spar. Oy on me! Oh well. I suck at it anyway, so I was glad. Two ladies, a mother and daughter (and we are talking the daughter is MY age!) both were going for their black belts tonight, and they broke their boards on the first try (then again, wood is easier to break that those damn plastic boards!). It was beautiful to watch. I hope that's me in time! In the end, I did my form and my one steps fine, and people who know me from classes came up and congratulated me and said I did a nice job. I didn't hear that for Laura. :-) I guess I actually have some talent for this, and maybe they see it. And ultimately, I earned what I was seeking at this point: my yellow belt.

Next rank to work on is my camoflauge belt. The first three belts are done in three form cycles, and I came in on #2, so I've done #2, tonight I did #3, and now I start back on #1. As a result, it will be WAY easy, but Ma'am already told me (as I may have mentioned yesterday) that she will be much more nit-picky about the details in order for me to move onto camo belt, which is an intermediate level. I'm thinking that's fine, because a) it's good to work out the kinks when you are still in the lower levels, and b) if I've already done the two harder forms and one-steps, the ones I have to do next will be EASY. Ma'am also mentioned to me yesterday that with me doing an easier form, I'll have more time to work on weapons and sparring. That's good, since I'm just starting weapons, and I suck at sparring and need help with that. I like weapons so far, but I REALLY need to practice to get even close to good. I was watching some of the stuff tonight with the numchucks (and these kids were using doubles), and man, I look like a wussy even with what I have learned so far! I've got my work cut out for me.

So, I'm excited that both Drew and I get to move ahead, one step closer to our black belts.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

No graduation jitters and I think I like weapons! Did okay in class today. Showed Ma'am my form and one-steps for graduation, and it's tomorrow. I think if I just ignore Laura tomorrow and not do it at the same time, and just concentrate one how I do things, I'll be fine. Ma'am's only suggestions were that I need to do a few hand movements in conjuction with the feet, not as separate motions from the feet, and also not to look back at the double knifehand strike. Easy fixes if I take my time. So we got to work more on weapons today. Left hand is harder, being that I'm righthanded, but I can do it. Ma'am said she really didn't get proficient with her left hand until she had to do double numchuck routines, so that's encouraging. She showed me the "lasso" move today, which is where you cross in front, then swing around in back, catch in back, swing it around your neck to catch in your original hand, then down and up to reset. It's pretty cool looking, and I felt I was getting the right hand down fairly well, but the left hand wasn't coming quite as easily, but it was coming. So now I have THREE weapons moves. I have to practice them, however. But I like them! I like this a lot better than sparring. I also am still working on that board break with my foot. Still hopping, and not chambering enough. It took a while, but it was coming. I'm gonna keep working on it until I get it. It's just hard. I always put this jump in, or can't coordinate the movements in such a way that it flows properly, but I think I was getting closer today. Gotta lock my ankle more too on the kicks, that'll help.

Yellow belt, here I come! Ma'am told me that my next form is actually the easiest one that I will have done so far, but that will allow me to work more on weapons and sparring and board breaks. And she will pick on me more on technique to not make mistakes as much, as the form is so easy (I've been doing the beginner cycle out of order, and now doing the easiest one last), so she'll be working more on the details. It should be interesting. Then getting to camo belt after next cycle, I'll be on the intermediate track! Woo hoo!