Thursday, June 01, 2006

Back to Sweating again

Tonight, it was back to business as usual. We started out doing some corner exercises, which weren't too bad. I guess Michelle was feeling like going easy on us. Then we reviewed our form. That went fine overall. It's tough when a) you are the only girl in the class, and b) not only the only girl, but the only one over the age of 25 taking the class. I take that back. Pen was in class too, but she's an orange belt and not working on the same material as I am with a bunch of teenage boys. It wasn't too bad. We did a quick practice graduation, and I goofed up as I was doing it slowly with Matthew (one of the Downs boys), but that was okay. I also goofed up on weapons, so I really need to practice that big time. Broke the board, helped to hold boards, sparred, etc. Nothing especially noteworthy. I do have to say, however, that Em is starting to bother me a bit. She is assisting in the teaching, not teaching. Now granted, she has a lot of experience and probably knows forms better than most people. Throw on top of that that she has CP, so she even knows adaptations due to her being either in a walker or wheelchair all the time. But as Ma'am has mentioned to me, for a woman in her early 20s, she's EXTREMELY immature. And consequently, she really doesn't know how to be an assistant or teacher (of course, that's why she's still a trainee). The first problem is she's a little TOO serious with this. I'd say about 99% of us that attend this school attend for the enjoyment of the sport and the process of learning. While there is certainly some discipline and rule following involved, there's a fine line between being a true teacher, and being a drill sergeant, and a mean one at that. Em doesn't know the difference. Even I could see that was the difference between Michelle-- who is younger than Em and is a certified teacher, and Em. When someone wasn't doing what they were supposed to, Michelle merely corrected them and moved on. Michelle wouldn't interfere with an instructor trainee helping a student unless she was supplementing what the trainee was telling the student. However, tonight I saw Greg Spina helping a student with the corner exercises, and ZOOM! Squeak Squeak Squeak! You hear Em racing across the mats with her walker to interject and puts her 4 cents in (which is twice of two cents) in and take over. I'm sorry-- no, you don't do that to a person. How is Greg supposed to learn how to direct someone if someone is butting in like Em was and taking over? And believe me, Greg is perfectly capable of helping a student (he's helped me plenty of times). The other thing is that Em will bark out orders without making kindly directions first. To be more exact, Em seems to be failing to understand the fine line between being strict and respect for your students. I'm sorry, but she might be the instructor trainee for my class, she might be a 2nd degree black belt, but dammit, I will NOT be bossed around like I'm some West Point plebe by a kid who is 18 years younger than me. I have absolutely no problem with the young instructors who are even younger than Em because they know how to keep control of a class and command respect by equally paying respect to the student. Even with the malicious Malachi who needs a heavy hand, I've never seen anyone get tough with him unless it was REALLY necessary. He doesn't need too much to get him to comply, and Em is barking out orders to all of us when it's only one who isn't complying, you know what I mean? I'm tempted to say something to Ma'am about it. I feel uncomfortable saying something to her, but then again, I think Em would take the criticism more seriously from Ma'am than she would from me.

I did get the next DVD for the form for next cycle. It's for the brown belt level, which for those who don't know for our form of TKD, it's up there-- after brown, it's red, black belt recommended, then black. Oh boy. I mean, I have done the last two forms that were brown, in fact, I'm doing the one before it right now. But this is WAY up compared to where I've been. I haven't done the camo or green belt forms yet, and yet I'm about to be a purple belt and have already done that form-- been there, done that. And this brown belt form is the one that I have to do for tournament in July. Crap. Well, I guess I have a lot of work ahead of me.

As I was leaving tonight, Ma'am told me two things. First, she had talked to Mr. Bassett, her partner for the Pennington ATA, and it's a matter of them getting their stuff together and then figuring out when we can all get together to discuss stuff, so it sounds like things are moving along. The other thing, that made me feel good, was that she told me to say a big hi to Drew for her. I hadn't realized that she actually hasn't seen him for a while, so I think she does miss him, for better or worse. She'll still see plenty of him on Saturday at the ATA picnic. I think that him having a break is going to be good, and even Ma'am says that she'd take a break if she could, but it's literally her business so she can't. Oh well.

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