Saturday, February 25, 2006

Workout! I went to class today, having dragged myself out of bed while the guys were still sleeping. But I got there in plenty of time, and had time to settle into the place mentally, so that helped. Talked to Ma'am about Drew, and she pointed out that for the very reason of holding off on the gloves and mouthpiece for Drew might be the very reason to get them. She is not out to get sales, by her own admission, but she noted that Drew is a smart kid, and that more than likely he's bored, and so he'd have something to look forward to if he had them. I discussed it later with JC, and his comment was, "Well, how much is that going to cost?". I can understand his point. But I think the fact that we are not going for the whole shebang right off with Drew is fine. So, next time I'm in, I'll ask Ma'am how much it costs, and I'll debate whether to get these for Drew. I think she may be right, as she even noted that he doesn't really start to act up until they separate the class into different categories, and he sees the other kids he started with progressing, and he's bored at the bottom. I have to admit, it IS a good idea .

But then I had my class, which was run mostly by Mr. Anderson. With the color belt club, there was one boy who was an orange belt who had to work on his own stuff, and then there was me with 3 tweens, Alejandro (I think that's the kid's name), and the geek sisters. The geek sisters really are sweet, don't get me wrong. I was saying to JC later that I suspect that maybe their parents put them in this class so they wouldn't be wallflowers and could come out of their shell a little more. Once you start talking to them, they are quite social, but you can see how awkward they still are. I guess maybe I was like them as a kid, I don't know. Anyhow, after doing a total class warmup that MORE than got my cardio going (think asthma attack), we split into the group of color belts and black belts, and I was with the group I just mentioned. We worked on our form, which I think I generally have it, but I do have to practice it, for sure. From what I can see from the cheat sheet, we've learned 10 of the 44 moves to the form. That's fine. It's all new for me, and a little bit of a challenge. Then we did an exercise to practice our crescent kicks, which is in the form. Younger geek sister wanted to pair up with me, which was fine. I guess she's taken a liking to me that I'm not threatening or intimidating to be with. I got her to improve her kicks when I said to imagine it was her sister instead. Even Mr. Anderson laughed and saw the immediate improvement. When we had to do weapons, we got our bahng-mah-ees out, and worked on "creative", which is different from freeform as creative is like having a form, but with a weapon. It turns out that the freeform that Ma'am had taught me WAS the creative, and I could make up stuff at the end. I also asked Mr. Anderson if there would be any penalty in doing one extra move in the creative that was part of my routine before, and he said no, in fact the move I did would be a good one to add if any. So that was easy, and it was nice to know I was already ahead of the game that way. We also did a few good warmup exercises to get our wrists warmed up for using the bahng-mah-ee, so I'll have to practice those. Breaking boards time was still "hand" week, so I'm still working on that elbow break. Damn if I can't still get it coordinated together. I have to say, though, Ma'am really knows her stuff with this part. She can say, "OK, you need to do X and Y" that's specific to you to make you get it, and then BAM, you break it. Among the things I have to work on is keeping my wrist up with my hitting arm, as Ma'am said that I can break a wrist doing it the way I do it. Yikes! I'll have to learn to get out of that habit. Lastly, it was sparring time, which I always dislike. I first sparred younger geek sister, as she picked me out again. I told her, like I tell everyone, "Go easy on me," and she walloped a punch! But it wasn't too bad, not like the black belt kids like Lindsey, which I said today, "I'm not going with Lindsey 'cause she always beats me up!". I next went with Older Geek sister, and she was pretty good and kept me on my toes too. It's really obvious that I suck, so Mr. Anderson was giving me some pointers. Lastly, I finally went with someone who understood my pace, and that was my dear pal Winnie. I also got another pointer that I should relax until I actually throw a punch or kick, otherwise I'll tired myself out. New dynamic to try, but Winnie, even as a black belt, was more my pace, so it wasn't as bad.

I was so hot and tired after class that a refreshing shower when I got home was VERY welcome. Not a bad day. Just have to work on the new stuff, and figure out how to improve the board break so that I actually do everything I'm supposed to and it comes more naturally, like my side kick break is coming along, and I have to figure out how to better spar. No one can say that I don't try offensively with that, but I swear my defense sucks eggs. And if I want to compete, I know that I will do better with the weapons and form than sparring, but the better I do in all formats, the better I will do with points. It makes a big difference. I've got my work cut out for me in the next few months.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Maybe Drew's just not cut out for TKD. I'm not sure. Today was his first time back in a while, and while overall he wasn't too bad, he still had his issues. He still was jumping around and not paying attention half the time. He got upset when other kids were putting on their punches and mouthpieces or getting weapons, and he didn't have them. Now, bear in mind, he's not the only one in this position, but he still got upset, because I know he really would like to have punches and mouthpiece. However, at the same time, he doesn't always seem to be so interested in class, and we are paid up for another month. JC thinks that maybe Drew just isn't cut out for TKD, and not interested, and it would be better to put him in something else. I'm not sure. Part of me says (and JC agrees) that Drew doesn't know what he wants as he's only 4 going on 5, and we should make him go. But maybe he also genuinely doesn't like going and we shouldn't force him. It's a real conundrum. I'm not sure what to do. Other kids his age are able to keep up and behave better and pay attention better. I'm not sure if him not paying attention is his sensory issues acting up or not. It's a hard call to make. I don't know what to do. Maybe I'll ask my mom her advice on the subject, since she's had her kids either stick with something or quit stuff. I'm a little disappointed in Drew. Maybe he's just not mature enough for this yet. I mean, if he quit and decided to go back in a few years, I wouldn't object. Or if he quit and picked up something else and stuck with it, that'd be okay too. I just really felt like TKD would be the answer for him. Maybe in time it will's so hard to say. TKD confusion ensues....

Thursday, February 23, 2006

OK, so I'm confused. Things have not been going well at home, so I was looking forward to going to class to try to perhaps rejuvenate a little. It's the first week of a new form, so I was looking forward to learning the new form. My buddy Laura was there for a change. She's been gone for a little while, so it was good to see her. Ms. Plummer was teaching us, and she seemed a little out of it, but seemed to manage. She introduced a form to us tonight, that was the same for the brown and red belts in the group as well as the camo (me) and the green (Laura). It doesn't seem too bad so far, it's a matter of getting the timing down. I should've gotten the DVD when I graduated last, but I forgot. But at least I have my cheat sheet book. So anyway, we get through the form, learn some Bahng-mah-ee stuff/exercises, do board breaks (still having trouble with the elbow break) and sparring (that knocked the wind out of me, and I still need to learn how to protect myself although I think I've improved on the offense side of things. It was not particularly an eventful evening. However, when I got home, I discovered that we did not learn the green belt form, as I had expected (I REALLY should be doing camo belt, but everything I've done so far has been out of order, but I thought I figured out the pattern), but rather we were working on the purple belt form. What the heck was that about? That totally didn't make sense that people ranking from red down to camo belt were learning purple. No sense whatsoever. Oh well. I won't question it for now. I'll just study and do my best. I already miss my Tuesday class where I got more attention individually, and Ma'am taught herself. Oh, and then to confuse things, someone else mentioned tournaments, and I know the one on 3/11 is coming up, and I said to her, I know I'm not ready for the 11th, but there's another in April-- would I be ready for that? She said yes, and that I could still do the 11th and do my last form, but I'd have to spar. I had misunderstood her when she said I'd have to do camo belt. She only meant that since I would be ranking as a camo belt, I'd have to spar instead of doing one steps. NOW she tells me. Well, I'm not sure now. It's only 2 weeks away, and I'd have to clarify if I was doing that white belt form I did or something else like the yellow belt form, which I haven't done in a while. I'm thinking now that I'll skip it, and do the next interschool tournament and the next regional in April instead. I think that would be better. I wish I had understood that! Oh well. I don't need anymore confusion in my life, thank you.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Next phase: It's hard being an intermediate. Well, so far it is. And it's not what you think. I normally don't go to class on a Friday night, but there are no classes tomorrow and I figured since the school was open tonight and we weren't doing anything in particular, it wouldn't hurt to do a makeup class. So, I went. It was a small class, and that was fine. The problem was two fold, however. First, I was the highest ranking adult woman, thus the only other adult woman taking class was a white belt. Nothing wrong with that, but when I was starting out, I was paired up with someone who was only 1 rank above me. I was 3 ranks above this woman. And she didn't seem particularly coordinated. Maybe it's because when I started, I had watched Drew for almsot 6 months that I understood what needed to be done much more clearly. This woman didn't have a clue. But I tried to be supportive and encouraging, as I should be. It was difficult being paired up with her. I think it was better when I could be challenged by someone closer to my own rank or higher. I also think that Ma'am knows that my capabilities are pretty good, as I usually pick up stuff fairly quickly and can kind of keep up with the "big kids" (or adults, as I should say). The second problem was after the white and orange belts left. I was with a bunch of tweens and teenagers who were somewhat clueless, save one. That one was a kid who is a brown belt, and he's pretty good. Alex V. was helping me with my board break, and I was working on the elbow break. It came a lot more easily this time, between Alex's and Mr. Anderson's coaching. I'm feeling a little more confident about board breaking as time goes on, and considering I hadn't done that one for, oh, at least a month, I thought I did pretty well. Instead of sparring, we did some lame ass exercises which were overly basic for me, I felt. Then we did some weapons stuff, but I did it with these two girls who just seem like total geek nerds. They were sweet girls, but just seemed awfully clumsy and awkward. I mean, I'm a geek nerd, but I could always at least keep up athletically fairly well-- I wasn't a clumsy geek. So that seemed like a waste of time to a certian degree.

Well, at least I got a workout, and I also got my hands on something that was almost worth its weight in gold. I finally got my hands on a copy of the Black Belt curriculum book. It has all the "cheat sheets" in them, so you know what's expected to graduate and also outlines what the forms and one-steps and sparring combinations are. It was cool when I came home to look at what's ahead. While I'm a camo blet, because of the cycle I started in, I will be dong green belt form while in Camo belt. That's fine. There are definitely things that I have to learn, and I'm anxious to be taught them. Since it's only 3 weeks until the regional tournament, I don't think I'll be ready for that, unfortunately. I'm hoping that perhaps I can go to another one later in the spring when I'm not in between or just learning a new form, like now. Like, if the regional was at the same time as the interschool one, that would've worked out well, but it wasn't, which is stinky for me. Oh well. It's the sort of thing that I need to talk to Ma'am about.

I still, of course, have to figure out a schedule too when to go to class during the week now. Losing that Tuesday afternoon class still has a sting to it. I wish I could go to that 11 AM class so badly, but it just doesn't work for my schedule. Not until Drew is in school full-time, and by that time, I might be working full-time. It's frustrating. This Friday class, if this is typical, was pretty empty, but it's not usually a good night as many of my clients for my business choose Friday nights often, so I can't commit to that on a regular basis. I'll figure it out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Camo belt achieved! Tonight was graduation. I got through just fine. It was a smaller group than usual, and some people who were expected didn't show up, like my buddy Laura. Oh well. Most people there were black belts doing various mid-terms, and I was the only low-level person testing. The other color belts were doing the same forms, so after tonight, Ma'am said I was part of "Team Color Belt" now. After all, going to camo takes me out of the beginner levels, I'm now in the intermediate levels. I also did something that none of the other color belts did, which was do weapons. I was the only one, and one of the other color belt ladies said to me increduously before I did it, "You mean you're doing WEAPONS?" Hey, I guess that in my pursuit to put myself in the mentality of going on the competitive circuit, I'm willing to try. I wasn't going to penalized for doing it, so why not?

JC and Drew came to the graduation, with the purpose of showing something to Drew to aspire to, and at the same time get some moral support. It somewhat backfired. Drew behaved most of the time, but he had a few moments when he was talking a little too loudly, and at one point, he had a meltdown that JC had to take him outside. I was SO embarassed. But otherwise, he wasn't too bad. I think he just got bored, and didn't watch it all. And the whole reason I wanted them to come, which was to see me receive my actual camo belt, they completely missed as that was the time that Drew was taken outside. Part of me was heartbroken. I wanted to cry, but held it together.

In the meantime, Ma'am informed me that she was cutting out the Tuesday class. It was a business decision, understandably, and she even said that she was sorry. And I understood why she did it, I really do. But I'm disappointed, because now I have to figure out either a night to go, or I have to do double duty on Saturdays. The problem with doing double duty on Saturdays is that Drew drags me down. I mean, I going to help keep him in line, and I can still do that. However, he will not be working on the same form as I will be, and that doesn't help me. So I think I may have to make some difficult decisions.

So it was a night of progression, and yet a night of disappointments, and just embarassment due to Drew, which didn't help. Having that personal attention of Tuesday classes taken away wasn't done to hurt me personally, and I know that, but I will sorely miss it. I know that Ma'am has my back in the long run. She wants to help all her students progress and feel self confidence. While I still want to start competing and really progress, I feel like losing those Tuesday classes is taking that self confidence away from me. I'm feeling a little bottomed out right now.

I'll talk to Ma'am about the next regional tournament. I'm sure she's say that I can't learn the form for camo level fast enough, but it doesn't hurt to ask. I've got nothing to lose by asking.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Not much action on the blog recently, simply because there hasn't been any TKD action at our house. For the past week or so, the stomach flu bug has wrecked havoc at our house, so last week I couldn't go to class on Tuesday because Drew was sick, and then when he was better, I was sick on Saturday. Cripes. And graduation is on Wednesday! At least I have my form and one-steps down pat that it shouldn't be a problem. This will be the easiest graduation for me yet. Doing white belt forms to gain a camo belt. Unreal, but I'm not complaining. I'm still practicing when I can, and when I feel up to it. I'm still not 100% better, but enough to be able to do what I have to do on Wednesday. JC and Drew will be attending, which will be nice. And then Saturday classes are cancelled due to the President's Day weekend, so I'm outta luck until next week otherwise. I will be SO far behind in classes, but I'll figure out how to make it up soon enough. Next time I write, I should be a camo belt!

Saturday, February 04, 2006

It was a shoo-in. Today was the day of the Interschool Tournament. So, since there are so few people who do it, it wasn't crowded like a normal school day on Saturday, which was nice. I had opted to do my competing at the same time as the Tiny Tigers who were the same color belt as me. It didn't bother me. Whether I did it earlier with the adults or at that time, I was in a category unto myself, being the only woman color belt competing. So, I was with 4 kids, 2 boys and 2 girls, who were all pretty much the same rank as me, all in the 7-9 years of age range. We all had the same things to compete with, except I had a different weapon than they did. I did my bahng-mah-ee (the stick thing) instead of the numchuk thingys which they did, which was fine. Since I was the only adult, I did my stuff by myself, and I usually went first, which was fine. I didn't mind. I had that stuff down better than the kids by a longshot. The kids tried, and they had 1st, 2nd and 3rd (and tied for 3rd) rankings so everyone went home with something. For me, it was funny. I got 3 gold/1st place medals for one-step/sparring, form, and weapons. I actually did pretty well anyway. I think I had scored better in my weapons than the other two, but I'm not complaining. I think it's because I did improvise a little at the end, which is what Ma'am wants, and man, I was swinging that thing that it made swooshing noises, so that showed that I put some force and power into it. :-P In the end, though, of course I was going to get all the medals for my category. Ma'am even mentioned to the parents that I deserved them, as I was the only woman color belt to even bother to come and compete, and I had to go by myself, so that deserved some commendation. All the other women who competed are all black belts. Ma'am also told me later, (because I asked) that she felt that I did better than average, like a 9.7 out of 9.9 (she starts at a 9.5 as average, and either adds or deducts points from there). So that felt good. I feel as if I'm one step closer to getting some ranking in the state for my age group in the color belt category. I was thinking of competing in March, but I don't know if I'll have my new form down by then, so I'll have to talk it over with Ma'am.

Drew also had his interschool tournament a couple hours after mine. It was only 4 other children with him, so between doing half the form and one-step #1 for this level, it went pretty quickly. He did okay. He had the best "ai-yah" at the end, I think! :-) I asked him if he wanted to practice ahead of time, and he didn't want to. I know he's capable, and he can do it, but he won't work at it. That's why I don't really have a problem with him not graduating yet. He's not ready for an orange belt. Not at all. He followed the teacher who was doing it with him fairly well, but some of the kids did some aspects of it better, some not as well. He did...okay. In the end, all the children at his level get something. They get a red star for their uniform to show they competed, and then each got a bronze medal for something. I think Drew got his for having the best highblock moves, something like that. I know last time he got it for best black belt attitude. He behaved well when waiting his turn, which I made a mental note of, which was a big accomplishment in itself. He still had a good black belt attitude. He was proud of himself, at least. He did this instead of graduation, since he's not eligible this time around, so at least he has something. I think he was also proud of my 3 gold medals, even though he wasn't around to see me earn them. I hope Drew is as supportive when I have him and JC come to my graduation in a week and a half.