Friday, September 22, 2006

Breathing and living TKD

Now that I'm working for my ATA school in the office and somewhat unofficially as an instructor,I feel more like I'm truly living, eating, breathing and sleeping TKD. It's not overwhelming or anything. I think right now it's just an adjustment. I'm looking at things from both sides of the coin, so to speak, from the business end, the instructor end, the parent end, and the student end. So maybe that's more than two sides of the coin, but you see what I mean.

Wednesday, I did double duty taking two back-to-back classes. The first was a regular class. Overall, it went fine. (It was 2 days ago, so I'm trying to remember it). I'm having a difficult time retaining the new form, whereas everyone else is having no problem, but I believe it's because they've all seen it before, adn this is my first time with it. I'll see it again, as this is the form that's used for black belt recommended candidates (aka Red/black belts) and red belts, so at least the next time it'll be a breeze. But I have to learn it for the first time 'round! I'm also getting better at that sidekick break. A year ago, I struggled with it. Now, I get it! I was helping Kristen, one of the twin girls, with her breaks, and we got a little delayed in getting our sparring gear on. Once I had mine one, I sparred with Emily for about two seconds, and that was it. Mr. A didn't have us go around too many rounds that night. Kristen finally had geared up, and thinking that we had one more round, she was about to enter the floor to spar me, and no sooner had she come on the mats that Mr. A said, "Okay, gear off!". Kristen was frustrated but we both understood the irony of it all, and we gave her a big hug and laughed at her predicament. Fortunately she's a good sport, and saw the humor too.

Leadership class was basically more of the same. I got to work on my jahng bong more. I really like this weapon, and really want to master it better. I did get some help from Mr. Lee today during Drew's class when he was working on learning his Jahng Bong for the first time. After leadership class, however, we had our weekly staff meeting, and Ma'am tried to plan some things out. It was the first time Mr. A, she and I could talk, even for a little bit, about working on a plan for communication and a work flow on the business end. Poor woman, she is so frustrated because she wants to spend more time at her own school than the new one she has half ownership in. The newer one is taking up too much of her time, or more than she feels she should be putting in, and so she told me she is grateful that I'm there to help out, even if it's just answering the phone and taking messages (I'm doing more than that, but you get the idea.) Having me at her home school, her real "baby", has "allowed me to relax a little more" according to her. So, I'm glad I can help.

Drew's doing great in classes. He's paying attention a lot more and focusing on class much more than ever. He still gets the wiggles, but if reminded, he straightens up pretty quickly. Mr. Lee continues to help with teaching class at that time, and Drew just really responds to him big time. I think Drew just naturally responds to males better than females, at least in TKD class better simply because that's what little boys do, but that's fine. At least he's responding! He enjoyed sparring in his full gear again, although he was flopping around a little bit in his new "kicks" as they were a bigger size than last week. The pair last week were too tight and small, and the next size up is a little bigger than his foot, but it's not exactly clown shoes either. He'll get used to it. Ben P. worked with Drew on his Jahng Bong. He asked me a little while into the session if Drew had done it before, and I said not really, just got the weapon last week and was still trying to figure out how to bow in with it. Ben is a 3rd degree BB, and while he's only 16, he's seriously really good and knows his stuff. So when he asks, and then says, "I wondered because he's really got the knack of this. He's really picking it up and he's good at it for a first timer!", you can imagine the pride bursting from my heart. Drew was enjoying himself too, and Ben is really good with him. Lastly, Mr. Lee worked on board breaks with Drew. It was the first time Drew was using his rebreakable board. Mr. Lee first worked on doing proper front kick breaks with him. For some reason, my right-side dominant son was trying to kick with his left foot. When he switched, THEN he got results. Mr. Lee then worked on his palm heel break with him. He was more successful with him, especially since I explained that I tried working with him, but he had never really had any formal breaking experience before today. Mr. Lee loosened up the boards a little bit, and with some better direction than what I could give him (because, let's face it, when do you ever listen to your parents?), he was more successful in learning the techniques and broke the boards. When he did, he got very excited and would jump for joy, literally. (Like mother, like son when gaining success against those hunks of plastic.) My sweaty little boy, the youngest in the Masters' program there, bowed out, and was SO excited about his successes today. I was proud, and I think he was proud of himself.

I also ended up helping in a pinch with Drew's class. Even though there were 4 instructors there working the class, I ended up helping one overly shy and hesitant little girl named Johanna get through class. When she got there, she cried and fussed to her daddy that she didn't want to go, and yet this was at least her 3rd or 4th class. Ryan came over to her, and in his sweet voice talked to her about joining, and reminded her that once she got started, she had fun, but she wasn't budging today. She sat out for a little while, much to her dad's frustration, until I thought that maybe it was a girl thing, that being with so many boys it didn't feel right. So today, even though technically I was just a mommy in the waiting room, and I had meant to bring my uniform pants but forgot them and had my ATA tshirt on, and I asked if I could try with her, and Ryan said sure. So, I talked to her out from under the bench she was hiding under and asked if she would like to work with me instead, and she responded quickly that she did. Once she came out, this highly introverted child who was hiding behind her daddy was Miss Congeniality. I knew what the problem was...she was a little scared to work with the guys, and she was responding better to me as another female. Which is unusual circumstance, as most of the instructors at our school are actually female. Just happens that today's instructors were all male, and there were few girls in class today. So, I worked with her a while, and she didn't seem to want to participate with the rest of the class unless I went with her. Ryan didn't have an issue with that, so I did for a little longer. I had to help Drew get his gear on, so I had her pair up with another little girl her age for intro "noodle" sparring. Johanna was doing fine without me until she saw me. When I tried to encourage her to keep going on her own with the other little girl, Poonja, that she was doing a great job, Johanna started to cry and wanted her mommy. Sheesh. So, I made a compromise that we could be a threesome, but in the end, I took maybe one turn and had her show me what they were working on, and had her take more turns than me, so in the end, she really was doing the work she was supposed to do. She even wanted me to bow out of class with her, so I did, and the guys (instructors) were cool about it...they were just glad to have her participate and not cry and freak out. So, I talked to her about having Girl Power and that we'll work on her showing the boys that she can do what they can do, and we'll get her to work with the other girls in class too so they can be a team. I think the girl's father was grateful that I helped and averted a crisis, and she's looking forward to seeing me next week. I think I have to make sure my uniform pants are in my bag next time! I think I'll be good as an instructor as far as the psychology part of working with the kids. I'm not worried about that. It's cramming all the material (theirs and my own!) and understand how to teach the curriculum (and figure out what the curriculum is!), making sure they learn proper technique that gets me a little flustered. Well, I can't fret about it too much yet. Like everything else at this school, I learn everything by the seat of my pants, and it'll always be that way. But I'm enjoying it. A little stressful, but it keeps me out of trouble.

Tomorrow is Saturday, and that means specialty classes including sparring class. Drew loves sparring class. Me, not so much. I might sit out of that one. ;-) But I'll do forms, weapons, and board breaking anytime, and Drew can have his regular class too. Busy, busy week, and it'll just get busier as I get more and more integrated into the life of this ATA school.


John Vesia said...

Is red/black or red belt senior to a brown belt? I know in some Korean styles, red belt is one rank below a 1st dan. Good luck with your teaching/office duties, I'm sure it's not that easy. (btw, what is your current rank?)

Windsornot said...

In the particular style of TKD (Songahm TKD), red/black and red are the belts right before full black belt. Red/black is the in-between red and black, so it is the belt right before black itself, and while it's really 1st degree recommended vs. 1st degree decided, it's still considered a color belt. Brown is the belt before red for us too. Currently, I'm a blue belt, which is the one right before brown. The order we get our belts in Songahm TKD is the following:
-1st degree black.

From what I can see from my other classmates, where you might normally move from one belt to the next in one cycle, once you get to brown and red or red/black, the process slows down, in that it might take two cycles to promote to the next rank. After all, it takes a long time to move from a 1st degree to a 2nd degree to a 3rd degree, doesn't it? So, I supposed it's good practice for one to get used to. Our next testing/graduation is in a few weeks, so I'm hoping that I will be promoted to brown belt finally. It's already been a year since I started. I suspect that I will be a black belt either next spring or summer at the earliest. I'm not in a rush.