Friday, March 31, 2006

Which do you want first, the hurting knees or the board break? OK, I'll tell you about the board break first. But before I do, might as well do a review of the week thusfar. Drew's class on Wednesday was fine, nothing extraordinary really. They did a practice of graduation. Drew gets distracted easily, and for some reason, he overtravels from move to move. I mean, you don't always end up in the place you started, but at the same time, you aren't supposed to almost hit all four corners of the mat either! He wants to be in the middle of the crowd so he feels included, and it's funny to watch him. He has fun though, and as he executes individual moves, he's good. It's just having him keep up and pay attention that's the difficult part. Nothing new there!

As for me, I had hoped to go to class last night, but due to inlaws and other visitors invading my house, it just wasn't the right night, so I went in tonight. As I expected, there were the dweeb sisters, very ready to glue themselves to me. But first, warm up, etc. Mr. Lee, who is the ATA Xtreme instructor, started class. It was brutal. I understood the point of the exercises, but that doesn't mean I could do them, or keep up. I'm too big and old for some of this. The end exercise, I was huffing and puffing by the end, in pain, and all it involved was doing a front jump kick and landing switching feet. I understood what I had to do, but it didn't mean I could actually execute the move. I kept laughing and laughing, really at myself, at how bad I was bungling it up, and I was stuck at the very front of the room for all to see. I couldn't keep up even after my attempts to do the move. I was grateful when Mr. Anderson took over the class. We did a practice graduation. When it was the color belts turn, we had the choice to do it on Mr. A's count, or our count, and I said our count. Problem was, all four of us doing it were supposed to be in synch, and this stupid kid in our group (not the dweeb sisters), was rushing through it to the point that I said, "Malachi, slow down!!". I did it horridly as the dweeb sisters crowded me, and Malachi was speeding through. I'm still going to have to practice, and get the DVD from Ma'am (or whomever tomorrow) to practice to get the kinks out. Evidentally I still am goofing up in spots. Then I did my weapon. It was the same as the last cycle, so I whipped through and did fine. No sweat.

OK, so now we are up to the board break. Those who had to break for graduation went first, and then everyone did it. I was SOOOOO happy with my break. I actually even volunteered to go first. I did a few practice hits, and Mr. A corrected my hand position, and then BAM! Right through on the first shot! I was SOOOOO excited! Of course, I had a pad on my arm, and Mr. A reminded me that I can't do that forever. I just replied that I'd keep it on until I got good and until someone told me to take it off. So maybe I'll try one more time with it on, and if I blow through like I did today, then I'll take it off and try that way. Waahoo!

We didn't spar today as we didn't have time, which was fine by me! I was tired from the stuff Mr. Lee put us through, so I was just as happy. So, all in all it went well. I asked Ma'am which class was instructor class, and she said it was only on Wednesday nights. So, I guess after next week, I'll be going on Wednesday nights. And I like Thursday class better, and I like going on Saturday mornings. So I guess that'll be my class schedule. I'll have to see how to work in classes to help instruct. It's a little hard with Drew, as I could go on some afternoon, but he'd be all over the place, and that'd be a problem. So I'm going to have to work something out with JC. Maybe I'll do something where I go to class on Saturdays in the morning, take a lunch break, and then come back and do Tiny Tigers and the Cubs, and Special Abilities after that. I'll have to see if JC is up to that!
The bad knees thing-- when I got home, I think all that crap that Mr. Lee had us do took its toll, as now my knees really hurt especially when going up and down stairs, and the knee that hurts the most is my "good" knee. That's not a good sign. I'll have to take it easy, and hopefully it'll feel better in the morning.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The bumps and bruises had better be worth it. I have a big internal bruise on the inside part of my left palm heel, and a scrape/bruise on my left forearm, and I'm still recovering from that bad hit/bruise that's on the outside of my right wrist. This is definitely not a sport for the weak of heart!

Today I arrived at class, and Nancy came over and told me that she heard that I signed up, and congratulated me. I guess the word is starting to spread around, as Victoria, (aka Miss Plummer) asked between myself and the dweeb sisters who was now in leadership, and the dweeb sisters didn't know who she was talking about, and I said I was, and the dweeb sisters were stunned. So I followed Ms. Plummer to help assist a young girl with the noodle sparring, as it was her first day. The girl did fine, considering it was her first day. During class, Ma'am started out with a whole bunch of drills. Then we had to do Songhham #2 form, then we did In Wha #1 (the latter of which is my current form) as a whole class. Those of us on "team Color Belt" worked on the form, and were still getting confused on directions. Eventually, Ma'am helped us straighten out which direction we were going in, which helped a lot, although I'm still feeling a little messed up. We didn't work on weapons today, which was fine, as I need more help with form today. It was reassuring that Ma'am said that said that this was not a hard form in execution, but a hard form in trying to remember the details of it. I did better in board breaking today, as I was doing a lot of twisting to warm up before going to break the board. I've discovered that I do need to think about it just a little bit, unlike Ma'am telling me not to. But just a little. ;-) Sparring, as usual, was brutal. The bruises above were the result. I sparred a young boy tween, and that went fine. But then I was up against a gal-- not sure if she was in her early twenties or late teens-- who was a black belt recommended, and man, I thought she wouldn't be too brutal, but she was the toughest. Good thing that I had heargear on, 'cause she kicked me in the head! OW! I think the worst of my injuries came from her. Lastly, I fought one of the dweeb sisters, and that was a little easier to deal with, although this was the tougher of the two. I got through, but I have one more week or so to really master this form. I wanna kick butt (figuratively, in this case) during graduation. I'm secretly hoping that when Ma'am gives me my green belt, it'll be a Leadership belt, and that she presents me with my Leadership jacket at the same time. That would be sweet.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Welcome to the Leadership Program. That's right friends, I finally did it. I finally talked JC into it, with the provision that I pay for equipment and fees, and he pays tuition. Deal! With my TBSAH business starting to pick up again, and with my Communiversity participation rejection, I don't have to worry about the fees, so I paid off most of what I needed for now with the money I've already earned. I'm not going to the TBSAH conference this year, so this is what I'm spending my money on-- more self improvement, and some new marketable skills.

So, I originally sent an email to Ma'am tonight, and told her that I'm interested, but the fees that were listed weren't totaling up right, and I want to get the most bang for my bucks, so I would talk to her tonight. Going into her office early before class, she asked how I was, and I said, a little nervous. She replied, "Then maybe you aren't ready for this yet." I replied in turn that I was, it's just that when you make a big commitment like that and make a big decision like that, it's a little bit intimidating, but I've only been talking about it for several weeks now-- almost a month-- so I'm ready. I was nervous like this before I started my TBSAH business, and heck, I was like this once I decided I wanted to be-- and found out I was going to be-- a mother, so it's all par for the course. Ma'am is so great at making you feel at ease, and not pushing you to do what you are not ready to do, which I appreciate. She even said that soon enough, I could probably earn some money to pay off for equipment for Drew and I, which would be cool, as she does need some help, and she wasn't against me bringing my laptop or bringing my TBSAH work with me when I sat at the desk if needed when learning the business end of things. She knows that doing the business end of things will come a little easier to me than some kid, and she seems enthusiastic about me joining the program, so that's encouraging. I am just going to do my best, and put myself to the challenge. I start with leadership classes next week! I guess I'll be taking a double class on Wednesday nights, as that seems to me to be the easiest way to do it. I also have the feeling that with her opening up her Pennington ATA school, she needs the extra help, and while she doesn't say it directly, I think she's trying to hint that she wants help over there, so we'll see how it goes.

When I left her office, I was excited and still a little nervous. Sharon was there again-- I guess this is one of her nights with her kids-- and told her what I had just done. She was very encouraging too. She's really nice, but then again, all the adults I've met thusfar through this school have all been nice, and so have the kid instructors too. So, I walked into a nice, small class tonight where everyone was a color belt, so we could all work on the same stuff.

We had some fun warm ups, and I was partnered with Sharon, naturally (being the only girls and adults in the class). It was fun, and I've seen Drew do these drills in class. They were a little exhausting, but at least when you goof up, you goof up together and have a good giggle.

My form was really messed up. I thought I had the first half down, "sections A and B" as we've called it, and it turns out that I've had the second part of B messed up. Then there's sections C and D. I had section C down, and but remembering all of D has been confusing. Tonight was the first time we put A through D together, so as long as Rachel (aka Miss Chunko) talked us through it, I was fine, and getting things fixed in the process. So that helped, but I think I would've liked to have put all the pieces together earlier than tonight. At least I have my corrections now, and I can work on them. Sharon assured me that I will be doing this form again when I'm higher up, so it's harder the first time, but easier the second time (like for her-- this is her second time doing this form).

We moved to weapons, and they are still a breeze. Greg, Sharon's son, was teaching that part with those of us working on the bahng-mah-ee, and he was having a few of us show and lead, including me. I don't know if that was because he wanted to see if we knew it, or testing me, but I think I did okay. I had the whole thing down for so long, it was a breeze to explain and lead that one. I had problems with the board breaking again. Ma'am was catching me practicing, and she said, "Stop thinking about it!". I think for me, I have to warm up with it, and then I can do it, so I can get into the rhythm of the process. When I was trying, I was doing it the non-thinking way, and making no progress. I know, in retrospect, that I wasn't pivoting my waist enough. I do need to think about it-- just a little bit. I didn't break, but I did get the board to separate a smidgen.

Sparring, as usual, took a lot out of me. But I held my own. Sharon pointed out that I still leave myself wide open when kicking, so I was working on that. A blue belt kid tonight sparred me, and it was funny because he kinda fought like Drew, and I pointed that out, and we had fun doing silly sparring that way. (It's kinda like pawing at each other rather than throwing punches). The last round, Rachel fought me, and I had to be careful as she had no gear on, so she made some pointers too, which helped, and she's very good at what she does.

We closed out with some advanced kicking, and this time, it was "machine gun" roundkicks. I could do it on one side nonstop, but not the other, and after that first side of doing it, I was beat!

I got another stripe on my belt tonight (making the 3 out of 4 needed to graduate), and even as I went up for it, Rachel told me that I was doing a good job on my form, which was nice to hear. I am trying, after all! Even if I have to do it over a few belts up from now, I want it to be as good as I can do it now. If I compete at the end of April, then it has to be good, so more points the better I do it now.

OK, so now the pressure is on! The application to the ATA is off tonight, and Ma'am has the uniform ordered (I have to wear a lettered uniform now). This is the big time! And I can start leadership classes immediately. So, I guess that means next week. Leadership class in on Wednesday nights, so I will probably work it where Drew takes class, I come home and feed him, and then go for my own class, then leadership class is right after it, so I will be tired, but for scheduling purposes, it will be the easier way to go for now. I'm just going to take it one day at a time.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Today was a pretty good day for Drew. I actually sat and watched his entire class instead of gabbing either with Nancy or Ma'am. I kept myself occupied by putting two new catalogs together for a GNO, but I digress. Drew still has the "wiggles" in class, but he's not the only one. Mr. Anderson was teaching today, and he had 5-- count 'em-- *5* student instructors to help him with a class of about 20 (give or take a few). The problem was, Mr. Anderson was teaching class, and doing fine, but the two Alexes (Alex V and Alex S) were the only ones helping most of the time, and they were mostly just walking around supervising, especially Alex S. Miss Chunko was helping most of the time, but not all the time. And Miss Kawaski and Miss Zimmerman were goofing off more than instructing. It was really a shame, because they could easily supervise 4 kids each as they worked on skills and keep ALL of them on track, but they didn't. I felt like saying something to Ma'am, but didn't feel like it was my place to do so. But Drew was paying attention most of the time, and when he did, he was not jumping around as much in his spot, and he was trying to be one of the guys sometimes, and I could see that he understood what he had to do, and he didn't get upset when he was instructed to behave otherwise or was corrected. This really is progress, when you look at it. I think if the class wasn't so big, he'd do even better, but oh well. I watched him with his punches and mouthpiece, and he's more the aggressor than the defender, which is fine. Miss Zimmerman did work with him on that in learning how to deflect punches, so he did get a little individualized attention. Before we left to go to class, Drew was asking if he had kicks (leg and foot pads) for class, and I had to explain that he wasn't getting them anytime soon, but when he started kindergarten. He seemed satisfied with that at least. But I'm pleased to see him make progress. Despite what JC thinks, he is making progress, and he is doing well. At least, I will give credit to Mr. Anderson, who in seeing that Drew and several others have the "wiggles", he has them do some things like running in place and jumping to "get the wiggles out" at the start of class. Drew likes that, and he likes the sparring. He was a little disappointed that he doesn't get to use the bo staff at this point, but I reminded him that in September, he'll get all his weapons. I was also surprised that he wanted to say hi to Ma'am. She had come in after class had already started. He was a little shy, and wanted me to come with him, but he was sure to say hi to her. Hey, that's fine with me, and of course, she was sure to say Hi back to him. I think he's feeling a little more confident in what he's doing there, and he's feeling like part of the group too. He's been there for almost a year now, so let's hope so! He's excited that he'll be getting an all color belt in two weeks. I think I have to get him to practice just a little bit though!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Another good class today. Saturdays tend to be crowded, and that's certainly true for today. However, at least there were about an equal amount of adults as there were teenagers, so I'm glad to see the adults too. Right off the bat, Ma'am had us doing these combinations that had to do with sparring, where we ultimately built up to a shuffle forward, punch, jab, roundkick, switch side/feet, roundkick, and shuffle back. Thank God I had Ben Phillips, who's a third degree black belt in front of me, to help me not goof up the rhythm too much. That helped a lot. Then we had to put on most of out sparring gear to practice a front kick-spin kick combination. Not something that I can do that quickly or easily, but I held my own. I worked with Winnie on that. Then we put on the rest of our gear, and then I sparred with Winnie, another teenager, then Winnie's son, Alex, who is working towards his third degree belt. Now, the thing is, Alex is one of those kids who easily gets caught up in getting a little too rough, and I told him to go easy on me, but he wasn't. So, sure enough, he comes in close to try to box me up that way, and so I get right in there, and before you know it, I have him up against the wall, blocking a kick, and he falls! Yay me! He was fine, and I helped him up, but he knew not to mess with me anymore. It kinda got my adrenaline going. I'm still not that good with sparring, but I'm getting a little more confident in what I'm doing. From what I've been told, and what I've experienced with some women, I think I'd actually be okay (not great, but at least okay) in sparring in a tournament situation. We were all then separated into color belt and black belts, and Dr. Albani worked with us on the form some more. It's coming, but I still need to practice some more. I tell you, he's actually been rather helpful, and I'm actually starting to like him now. Like I said, look at my very first posting on this blog, and I had thought him the devil incarnate. Now, he's got some really great exercises to help, and I like his suggestions. So then we worked on weapons. That's been kinda lame lately, so I just work on it. I actually was seeing if I could do the creative combination backwards, just to kill the boredom. Then it was board breaking time. The shin pad went on my elbow, and I actually practice on a "wave master" thingy (I had to look up what it was called, but it has target pads attached to it so you can practice). So I worked on my waist rotation, which seemed to be a problem, and I think I just need some warming up first. My first attempt to break Ma'am said that I don't need to wind-up (unlike what Mr. Anderson told me), and to stop thinking, so she had me try immediately again, and BAM! :-) Board break on the 2nd try! I was really excited. Maybe next time I'll try without the pad on my arm...or maybe I won't. I need to feel confident about it, even though I don't have to break for graduation just yet. (Heck, even then, it'll be for wood, and I can break wood!). But maybe if I feel I've finally mastered the elbow break, and next week I might be able to get my side kick break back, maybe I'll finally try something else. We'll see. After board breaking, Ma'am wanted us to work on advanced kicking again, and it's mostly because it might be part of the regional tournament that we are hosting, and she wants us to look good, so she's getting us to practice this now just in case. Instead of going through the steps like Mr. Anderson did, you had to just go for the gusto. Fortunately, at least I knew what I had to do since I did it the other night. So we were expected to do step 4 (see prior post about it), and my problem was a) I couldn't spin fast enough, and in conjunction with that, b) even if I spun correctly, I wasn't getting my kick high enough on the crescent kick. By the last time I tried, I actually got it. It wasn't pretty, but I got it. So, that was pretty much it for class today, so I was feeling good and energized.

I did speak with Ma'am briefly to see if it was okay that I got Drew's graduation form already without him, and she said as long as I thought he wouldn't freak out, and I said, nah, I don't think so. Then I told her about the talk I had with JC, that we are keeping Drew in Basic for the rest of the school year, then taking the summer off, and then he'll pick up in Master's when school starts again, and that was the best compromise that I could negotiate, and she said that was fine. I also informed her that I'm really feeling like I would like to do Leadership, but it's the financial part that's really hard to talk to JC about it, and she understood, as it is a lot, but she reminded me that you get many more benefits from doing leadership, and that she doesn't have that many adults in leadership, and she could sure use the help both there and at the Pennington school she's in the process of opening. I did say something briefly to JC, that I think I DO want to do this, but it is a little bit of a financial burden. I have to figure out how to make more money with TBSAH so that I can afford to do this and not be as much of a burden on JC. :-S Gotta find a way.

Friday, March 17, 2006


For my Pampered Pal, or the Pal who will pamper me--
The answers to my questionnaire are on my other blog (and my main blog), which is Windsornot's Journal. Feel free to check out this blog, as this is my taekwondo journal (hence, my "other journal"). I also have a knitting journal that I share with a few friends, which is Knitster. I look forward to getting to know you! ;-)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

I'm feeling a little better about my abilities with TKD tonight. It was a small class, and Sharon was there, and I like her. Her kids, Amy and Greg, are black belt leaders/instructors who are really good kids too, and I like them as well. Anyhow, we did a few warm ups with sprints and such, and I was able to beat the teenagers with speed, surprisingly enough. Of course I was having an asthma attack as a result, and chilling out while we stretched afterwards, but I was fine. We learned the second half of the form, which I'm going to have to practice and have JC read the directions to me. At least Mr. Anderson was really good about helping with the navigation/directional problem. Sharon hadn't done the form in a while, but her kids have done it, and she did it a long time ago, so it was coming back to her a little bit. I think I can do it, it's putting it all together that's the trick. So, I think I'll be okay in the end, because they are teaching it a little differently this cycle, and so we'll have a few weeks to review. Then Sharon, and a boy who has Downs named Matthew, and I worked on some kicks, but then moved to weapons. I told Mr. Anderson that I'd help Matthew with his weapons, as he hadn't used the Bahng-mah-ee before, so I was teaching him on the BOB dummy where the strike lines were, and I think that helped a lot, because it helped me understand where they were. Hits on each side on the ear/neck, each side of his tummy, each of his knees/ankles, up between the legs, bop them in the head, then spear them in the belly button. He was getting the hang of it after a while. Then we had board breaks. I was doing better, getting more rotation on the break, and Mr. Anderson said it's actually okay to get a wind-up in that hit because it helps with the waist rotation. So I broke it a lot faster. I also have to get the board up higher, because, well, I'm tall after all, and most of the people who hold for me are short. But I was happy to do better with that. And having the pad over my elbow helped too. Then sparring-- since I was the last person to break, I was the last one ready with my gear, but I got in, and sparred a tween who's an orange belt and kept him on his toes. Then the next round, I sparred with Sharon. Now, keep in mind, Sharon is a brown belt now (wow, that went fast, but then again, I think I met her as a green belt), so she and I naturally gravitated to each other being that we were the only adults and the only females in class. She was surprised by my double kicks that I've been working on, and she has the same problem with leaving herself open as I do, especially when kicking. But it was fun to spar her. After bowing out, those in Masters and up (that's me) could work on some advanced kicking. Mr. Anderson broke it down in 4 steps. Step one was a outer crescent kick, opposite leg round kick. Step two is the same kicks, but a jump on the round kick. Step three is a spin to do the outer crescent, then the jump roundkick. And step four is a jumping spin crescent kick and jump round kick in one motion (more or less). I could get to step three pretty well, but was having a little difficulty with step 4. Not too bad for someone who hadn't tried it before and was up against teen boys. Even as I left tonight, a middle aged fellow who was in the aikido class on the opposite mat complimented me and told me that he'd been watching and that I did a good job tonight. He seemed to know his Aikido pretty well, so I took that as a compliment indeed. Part of me tonight just made me feel, having worked with Matt, working alongside Sharon, knowing how meticulous I am in learning my form and how I take my work in class seriously while having fun, and seeing that I'm improving, makes me feel like, yeah, maybe I should be looking at the leadership program. I'm a natural for it. There are plenty of moms who take class like me just to get the exercise, but I feel like I'm working towards more than that. Now, if I can only convince JC of this and that I think I want to give this a try. It was a good night overall. :-)
Drew's class yesterday went fine, for what I watched of it. I was doing a lot of chatting with one or two moms, and then I was talking to Ma'am about the leadership program for me. Mr. Anderson was teaching, and I think he's got a better grasp of keeping things moving along for the kids than the teenagers do sometimes, so Drew was responding well. He still makes mistakes, but once he's in class, he does things with extra...vigor, for sure. He seems to be enjoying having his punches and mouthpiece, for sure, and paying attention better in class. He'll say he doesn't want to go, but once he's there, he's having fun. Even a parent commented that to me, that he seemed like a very happy boy in class. He's also one of the youngest, but he holds his own pretty well.

So, I finally got the guts to talk to Ma'am about stuff. She was very open and not critical at all. One strong suggestion she made for Drew was putting him in the Masters program instead of keeping him in Basic. I told her that she was preaching to the choir about getting the rest of his gear, because soon enough, he'd be bored with just having his sparring gear. It's JC who's holding things up on that. And for good reason-- it's about $300 for the equipment, let alone that his tuition would double because he'd have to take class twice a week. I mean, you can't blame him for his hesitancy in that, especially considering Drew's only 5. JC's argument, too, was, "What happened to letting him try soccer or basketball?" I said we'd to that TOO, not instead of, and it wasn't so easy to find something for Drew these days. He also suggested maybe taking Drew back to My Gym (the kiddie gym) for gymnastics and tumbling or something like that, as that's what Drew seemed to like best, and I told him I'd look into it.

So I did the research. I found out that going to My Gym once a week was more money that Drew going to TKD twice a week per month. JC was also getting things confused about camp and extracurricular activities, especially with his overly mindful eye on the budget. So, I spent at least a good hour and a half talking to him about the costs, programs, etc. available for Drew, and discussing my desire to join leadership and put Drew in Masters. Not including equipment fees, application fee for leadership, etc., just TKD tuition alone would be $300 a month for both Drew and I together for TKD. Granted, that's a lot of money. I'm not denying that. If I stayed in Masters and Drew upgraded to Masters, that'd be $260 a month. There are definitely different perks in going into Leadership program, as Ma'am put it. She sees it as you can be a Leader and help in that role, or you can be a Leader/Instructor. She said the ATA usually views adults looking at the Leadership program as potential school owners. She doesn't do that, because not everyone is cut out to do that. Some are cut out just to be leaders, and some are cut out to become instructors but not owners, and some are owners as well. She doesn't put pressure on anyone to become an owners or instructors. I'm fine with that. She did explain to me that part of being an instructor trainee is learning the business end too, which she felt confident was the easy part for me-- doing the sales pitch, calling back potential students' parents, etc. She said there was definitely opportunity since she was opening a school in Pennington, and there's an inner city school in Trenton too. (Of course, my mind is already racing to Pennington.) She also mentioned that there is the Leadership class on Wednesdays after regular class where you review and learn how to teach forms, etc., and there is also workshop classes on the occasional Sundays to learn and earn your teaching stripes (yes, you even have to earn stripes like belts in teaching). I'm game for that, I think. I even explained to JC that even in just being a Leader, at least if I compete, I'll rank, whereas with Masters I can compete and beat everyone, but not rank. That's like a tennis player beating everyone at Wimbledon and all the tennis opens, and still doesn't get seeded. That's just wrong!

JC's response was, "But is this what you really want to do? Is this what your life dream is to be?". I honestly said that I don't know, but I think I have a lot of the right qualities to become an instructor. I like working with kids, and I think I have the right demeanor for working with them. I like that the ATA works with disabled kids, and I have a pretty good knack for that. I have the business acumen for it. I like what the ATA stands for and what it promotes. The ATA promotes volunteerism, using your mind, good academics, and being a good citizen as much as it promotes the sport. In fact, the recent ATA magazine said in it that unlike other TKD organizations where the emphasis is on the physical, with the ATA, the emphasis is on the mental aspects. Anyway, he agreed with my assessment, but he's still unsure, especially because of the financial commitment, and I understand that, because that's the major part of my hesitancy. I'm not making enough money at the moment to support my "hobby" (or at least this one) at the moment with my other "hobby" (TBSAH), which I admit I've let lag big time. And I'm trying to get that up and running again.

We made a decision for Drew that he'll take a break from TKD this summer in favor of camp (which I was going to do anyway), and he'll take it through the end of the school year, and then start up again in September when he starts kindergarten. Maybe at that point, he'll be ready for it again. In the meantime, I have two weeks to decide whether we can pull this off. I'm still going to be doing classes during the summer. I have the 2 weeks deadline as the next tuition payment is going to be due, and if changes are going to be made, it should be done now. I can get some of the equipment later, or as time goes on, no biggie. And I can do my stuff that I do have to do now in payments. But it's being sure that this is what I want to do, and getting JC behind it 100% both in spirit as well as financially. This is hard. :-(

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Today was more productive than other days. Had a good chat with Nancy again as she was in for a Saturday (she's usually there on Mondays and Wednesdays). I asked her about how much instructors get paid, and she said it varied from owner to owner. Some pay $17/hr (which isn't too bad) and some pay only $7/hr. Depends on the instructor, and she didn't know what Ma'am paid. She also mentioned that unlike the kids, that if I really got into it and such, that I could be groomed to own my own school. Mrs. Capobianco (aka "Mrs. C"), who I know is Ma'am's instructor, has had 7 adults branch off of her school, and Ma'am was the first. (Cool.) They even help with the financial aspects of learning and starting up a new school, which is an interesting incentive. Nancy recommended that I do talk some more to Ma'am when she's around, if I was unsure about having the right leadership qualities, or perhaps giving more insight or opportunity to test it out before going for it. It's certainly something to think about some more. I think JC is a little hesitant, because the numbers don't add up favorably just to get to leadership status unless you obtain your official instructor certification and you can make yourself more marketable that way. Nancy was surprised that the numbers didn't even out in the long term (I charted costs or just tuition, minus equipment, and it never evened out), but as she mentioned, there are other perks like earning potential, rank potential, other discounts, etc. that you get as a leader vs. when you are not. Like I said, I'll have to talk to Ma'am-- when I get the nerve.

In the meantime, today's class was a good one. We started out with running around the room, and jumping over some pads and hitting another one as we kept going. OK, other than the running part of that, I didn't mind that. Due to my exercise induced asthma, my lungs were giving out, so I switched to a quick walk, and I could still keep up and not hold everyone up, so that was fine. Stretching was fine. Then, the color belts were separated from the black belts, and we had to work with Dr. Albani. You might recall Dr. Albani from way at the beginning of this journal, as I though the was evil incarnate and very tough. Perhaps it's because I'm a little more experienced now, he wasn't that bad at all today. In fact, I actually liked the exercises that we did today for some of what we did. First, we worked with a partner were we were perfecting some kicks that we do in our form, specifically for the segment we are working on this week. That was good. Then we worked on weapons, and of course, on an unusual Saturday, the dweeb sisters were there, and wanting to work with me. Now, you have to understand, there were 5 of us color belts there. All were brown belt except for me. And all were adults other than these two girls. So who do they gravitate to? ME. :-S As I've said, they are nice girls, but the look to me a little TOO much. So we reviewed the bahng-mah-ee, and I told them that they have to come up with their own flourish, I can't come up with one for them. Then board breaking. I decide to work on the arm/elbow break again, but automatically put my shin pad on my arm so I could concentrate more on that, taking a cue from how I did it the last class with Ma'am. The guy I was working with was helpful, and Winnie gave an extra pointer too, and it broke. Hooray! It wasn't too bad. I think that knowing that I'm not going to bruise my arm and work more on technique of the rest of it helps me learn, so someday I can take off the pad and it will come naturally. Then we had sparring, which I always dread. Color belts were separated out again, and I was paired with a guy again. Hooray, not a dweeb sister! (It was due to height, so for once it pays to be as tall as a guy!) We did some exercises where we sparred with just hands, and then did some other exercises all using a resistance band. I thought that was great, because it helped with sparring methods and techniques instead of just "go at it". I felt that was more helpful than just winging it all the time and learning as I go. There was thought into helping with how I DO my sparring instead. Thank you, Dr. Albani! You are redeemed in my eyes! As we were about to bow out, Nancy did a game that she did with the previous class, and it is NOT easy. You have to stand in a middle stance, but you have to balance two nickels on each thigh. Oh, and you have to balance it the entire time that she's reading announcements. Well, with my fat, round legs, and my bad knees, I couldn't do it. Sting or burn in my legs is one thing. Searing pain in my knees joints is another, believe me, I do know the difference. But it's a good exercise, and I think if she makes some more suggestions for Ma'am to incorporate from other schools, it'll make it more interesting than it already is! So it was a good day overall, and I was please with class.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Today was all about researching solutions. Today was Drew's class, so I sat out. I had the knitting all ready to go, and everything. And Drew got his punches in, so now he has his own pair and he's happy. So, while he was in class, I snagged Nancy, who helps Ma'am with her paperwork and administrative stuff so Ma'am can do more classwork and signing up, to ask her some questions. I ended up talking with her almost the entire class. I asked her what upgrading to leadership entailed, and she reviewed all the points about it, that it was about learning to be an instructor, and that payment-wise, while it was a lot up front, it made sense in the long term, even for Drew at his age, and all this other stuff. It all made sense, but I'm going to have to go over it and see what JC thinks before I jump in, for either me or Drew. I knew Nancy worked for a few of the other local ATA academies around here, and she said Ma'am was really the most flexible of all of them with payment plans and stuff like that, which I knew, but it was good to hear that she's that way overall compared to some of the others. Nancy herself has taken TKD, and both her kids have too, especially her daughter who is now 19. She told me about what she's seen with a lot of the kids, and how a kid like Drew does tend to do better because he can do more challenging things as time goes on, and with Drew, that's a persuasive argument to keep him interested. That's what happened with her own daughter, that she started out getting bored, and sure enough, add some weapons and gear, and she took off. So anyway, I told Nancy what happened on Monday, and she said that she's watched me in class, and she knows I'd do okay for my rank and age easily. She had gone to Spring Nationals last weekend with her daughter, and had seen other color belts my age go, and some of them messed up SO royally that she felt that I had a very good chance of doing well, just by completing my form. One woman, she said, asked to start over (zero points overall), and another got stuck, and ended up doing her form backwards! Oy! I've never done that badly, at least not yet. And this was in a national forum! So, I'm feeling a little more encouraged about this. I have to think about it, see what JC says, if he's willing to go along with the payments for this stuff in the long term. I mean, in time, if I do my instructor time as I should, then I can eventually get paid to teach others how to do this, and that wouldn't be too bad. I've invested in one business, why not another? It would be like going to get a degree, but instead of a paper degree of the traditional kind, it'd be a black belt degree, first degree, to be exact. That might be worth it, and something I think I could do.

Of what I did see with Drew, I think he did okay. He didn't seem to be acting up too much, and I always find that if I'm preoccupied and not watching too much, then he tends to do better. I think. :-S He seemed to be holding his own today, and that's what he needs to do. I know he's happier having the punches and mouthpiece now, for sure. I think I'll take a Friday and Saturday class to make up a class or two, and see how it goes.

Monday, March 06, 2006

I am really pissed right now. I went to class, with my knee really hurting when I used it, and so I did my best considering EVERYONE was significantly higher ranked and a kid. What happened to all the classes I took where it was mostly adults? I don't get that. Anyhow, despite that, I worked on my form, and the new segment is a little confusing, not that I understand where it goes, so I'll have to look it up in my cheat sheet book. OK, fine. Weapons-- nothing new there. Ma'am was back, and she said that we had the creative down, so we just had to embellish it in our own way. DUH, that's what I've been doing. So I'm thinking that I'll really be creative and come up with something of my own, but I'll have to think and play with it. Next, onto board breaking. We could do either foot or hand, so I decided to do hand. Ma'am was fine tuning, as she does. I had mentioned that I'm losing my confidence in my board breaks, so after a few tries, she had me put a pad on my elbow, and BAM, there it was. I think I'll have to do that for a while, at least with the arm. She said I was overthinking the whole thing. Well, there's a lot to remember, after all! I want to do it right! So after a lifetime of thinking, I have to STOP thinking. Who thought that would happen? Sparring was fine. One of the rounds I actually fought against a national weapons champion in the men's division, and he was easy on me, but it was a good sparring. So, I was feeling like it wasn't my best class, nor my worst. Then Ma'am talks about a regional tournament that is this coming weekend that I decided to forego this round and go to the next one. I mentioned to her after class that there's only 2 people in color belt in my age group in the state, so I had a shot at third. She corrected me that only Leadership gets to get points and rank for the state.

I rarely use this language, even in abbreviation, but WTF?

I just, "Oh, okay," but in reality I was crushed. Leadership usually means more money and more classes, and I have a hard enough time getting in the classes I do already, and I really doubt that JC is willing to put anymore money than he already has into TKD right now. DAMN! You see, in the last month or two, I made a conscious decision that I wanted to compete so that I could get points and at least rank on the state level, since there are, as I mentioned, only two other women who are ranked at all in color belt at my age level. So, to even come in third would feel like an achievement. Now it means that all my hard work has been for nothing. I work just as hard as anyone else, and I cannot be rewarded for it. This is just another example of how I work very hard at something, and yet I don't even get recognition for what I've done, and someone else does. It sucks. So, I told Ma'am that I'd go to her tournament in July, and I probably will, but I'm not going to the regional one next month as I had planned. I mean, what's the point? Just for the sake of competing? Just for the sake of practice? Practicing what? I don't know if I ever would want to do leadership. I've thought about it, but I don't think the time is right, as I'm unsure about myself in that kind of role or my abilities. But the fact that I put myself out there, and it's not really recognized or rewarded--then what's the point?

I cried all the way home. I am really that disappointed, angry and frustrated. I'm not going to try so hard anymore. I just need to get to my black belt and prove that I can make it that far. Where I go from there, whether I chose to pursue a second degree black belt after that, who knows. It just seems unfair. It just feels like another instance of me having to work just as hard or harder to get somewhere, and end up nowhere. And the thing is, I told Ma'am my intention of competing. Maybe she didn't know that's why I thought I'd try, so I could attempt to rank, but she should have told me that in order to get points I'd have to be in leadership. I mean, that's basic info, don't you think? It also doesn't help that she's telling me this when I'm PMS'ing and really hungry from my diet and working out. Not fair.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Knock on wood. Or rather, break through wood. I'm frustrated at myself. I don't know what's wrong with me. Squeezed in a class yesterday (didn't write until now as I was that busy), and the geek sisters were there, and one little kid who was a red belt trying to show off (he couldn't have been more than 9-11 years old), and one other teenager who was a brown belt. We had to work on the form, and I was already ahead as I had already learned it, but the problem was that part of it I was twisted in the wrong direction. I'll get the adjustments next week, no big whoop. Warmup I got to work with Winnie, which is always good since she and I get along so well and work well together. I even held my own not so badly with sparring, and I have the creative down pat for the bahng mah ee weapon. It's board breaking. Each week, we switch off between hand and foot, and this week was foot. I still don't quite have the confidence there. I made sure that when it was board breaking time, I went with Mr. Anderson, because I do trust him. I was getting frustrated, as again, I was not breaking the board, and yet, I wasn't that off with my form. He pulled out a piece of real wood instead of the plastic board, and BAM, no problem. I have no issues breaking real wood. The plastic board is actually harder because it forces you to be more accurate and you have to use more force as well as accuracy. A wood board is a piece of cake. But to only do wood is like taking a step down, so I'm frustrated. I might try the elbow thing with wood next time, if it's allowed. I don't know why I'm suddenly way off with the board breaks. I feel like I was making progress, and now I'm regressing. Perhaps I need to try some other breaking techniques? I dunno. I'll ask someone on Monday about it, provided I can make it to class on Monday. JC is away Tuesday through Thursday on a business trip, so getting to class is going to be difficult if I try during the week. I need to make up a lot of classes.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

OK, I finally broke down and got Drew his punches and mouthpiece. Granted, they didn't have any gloves his size, so they are ordering them. They should arrive next week. In the meantime, they let him have a pair of small adult ones. You should have seen how happy he was. He didn't know that he was getting them today. I originally told him that I'd see how much they were, and he would get them next week if he was good today. The price for everything wasn't as bad as I thought, so I thought I'd give them to him today. He was VERY excited, as you can guess. Actually, he behaved better than he did last week-- not as jumpy, although he didn't always pay attention. I think he likes it better when Miss Chunko or Mr. Anderson teaches instead of Miss Nikki. When I asked him later whom he liked better as a teacher, to my surprise he said he liked Miss Chunko better. I thought he'd gravitate towards a guy moreso, but I guess not. Mr. Anderson is good, but I think Miss Chunko IS just a pinch better with the little kids. Drew had his first sparring session today, and he did great. He's a natural. I think this will keep him happy for a while.

On the other hand, I had class tonight as well. I was happy that Laura was there, because otherwise it was a class all of kids! She and I were feeling a little lazy tonight, so we got the next part of our form, which was pretty easy. It's just a matter of adding the extra steps, and minding our positional orientation as we do them. That wasn't so bad. I actually have to practice it so it looks easy and smooth. But now, at least, I have 18 of the 44 moves to this form, so just less than halfway there! :-) Weapons was easy tonight. Mr. Uhl, who's a new leadership black belt student (he's an adult, not a kid), went over the striking lines for the bahng-mah-ee, which I have to say I'm an old pro at this part so far. Laura didn't know it, nor the two kids who were with us. So I got to demonstrate! I do have to learn to get some more flexibility in my wrists, which I think will take some time. But so far, weapons has been easy this time around. Sparring is still bleah. Sparred with Laura at first, and we fought like sissies because we really didn't feel like doing it. We tried to not switch partners, but were made to anyway after the first round. I found with a little kid named Andrew who only had his punches and mouthpiece, so that was fine and easy going for me. Whew! Oh, and I forgot about board breaking. I dunno, it just wasn't in me tonight. I tried doing my side kick, but somehow I didn't feel confident in the people who were holding the board and I hadn't done the side kick for a while, so I was out of it. I guess I have so much more implicit trust in Ma'am-- and a few of the other instructors, that it was hard to do it with the two people I was working with tonight.

I miss Ma'am and those Tuesday classes still! I really felt like I did so much better with her instruction, as she is just really that good. Hopefully she'll be around soon. :-(