Thursday, October 05, 2006


It's been a busy past few days for me. Due to some things going on with the purchase of my new house and the selling of the old one (yes, it's not sold yet), and things going on at work, some changes had to be made. I am very fortunate that SW is a VERY reasonable woman, and was willing to work with me and make some compromises. So, I'll be working less hours for now, which is okay, and as time goes on and things get back on the upswing in time and experience, I'll probably increase those hours and have more responsibilities and such. It's fine. I didn't want to be in a position to have to go somewhere else, and we found a solution, which is good.

It's interesting to be on the "inside", to say the least. Seeing the ATA from the business perspective instead of the student/parent perspective is certainly different. After all, a school IS a business after all, and keeping things going is always a challenge. For SW, she is running the school I have, is half owner of another school, and still has financial interests in two other schools, so incentives to keep things really going at the "home" school is important. Just yesterday alone, SW, RA and I had our first "staff" meeting to catch up, and I learned a lot. RA had a lot of knowledge from the instructing end, and he had attended an ATA business seminar a while ago. I know that SW would like to send me too at some point, but doesn't have it in the budget right now. But most things, like basics to sell, etc. I have learned from a career of consumer affairs, customer services and sales experience, as well as the experience of being a student AND a parent there, so it's just a matter of adaptation. But I learned about a few things that help the business along that I thought were just "programs" when they are actually things to help generate extra money. Nothing wrong with that, especially if what's being offered are things that people like and are interested in, like Movie/Date Night (the school watches the kids and has a movie night while parents can get a break and go out for a date. We love them!) or a special self-defense seminar.

In the meantime, it's a lean week doing classes. I skipped tonight's class, and Drew is skipping tomorrow's class due to my FIL coming in from Ecuador for the night as a pitstop on his way to a business trip to the Far East. I went to leadership last night, and I practiced a bit today, but I think my form is coming. It's not easy, as it's the form you do in order to test for your 1st degree black belt. I'm not too worried about doing fantastic on it. I know I'll be coming back to it in several months, so if I can just get a passable score, then I'll be fine. I did my board break for permission to test last night. I knew for my level this time around was a foot break, which means I had the choice of front kick, side kick, or round kick. While my front kick I can do in my sleep, my round kick still leaves something to be desired (like a broken board!), so I did my sidekick. I was about to use my rebreakable when Ma'am said, "WAIT!!! You need to do it on wood!". So, somebody grabbed a wood board. That was fine by me, as the wood is usually a lot easier than the rebreakable board. So, I just did my step, chambered, and POP! Right on the first try. No hopping like usual. So, piece of cake! I know the next time I have to do an elbow break and another foot break, so I'll have to get that back into my elbow break again. Still trying to get the kinks out of my weapons routine. And sparring, well, not much changes there. I did get a nasty bruise on my left forearm from blocking a kick last night. I sometimes think I should but my shinpads on my forearms instead. I can take the blows the shins, but not the forearms. That's also what you get for having to spar with two men who are both 2nd degree BBs, and the one that got me good is a World Champion. :-S

We might have to change out testing/graduation date. I'm fine with my date, but Drew has a scheduling conflict that just came up today. So, I'm going to see if he and I can do our testing at the Pennington school. I remember SW saying something like it would be good if anyone had to test on another day to go there, so her new students there could see higher ranks doing theirs. It would be a win-win situation if she lets us. Otherwise, we'll have to find some other alternative. We're having a lot of scheduling conflicts in this next month that are just almost coming out of nowhere all of the sudden, and the conflicts have to do with other things competing with our training/class time. :-S

So...busy, busy days at the ATA. And hopefully, within the next week or so, Drew will be a Yellow Recommended and I will be a Brown belt. And it will mean, if I am consistent, that I will probably test for my 1st degree in time for my 39th birthday, which is in August. Geez!


John Vesia said...

Wood is easier to break than the re-breakable boards? That's interesting. Is white pine still the wood of choice for breaking? I remember seeing different grades of the re-breakable boards - they were coded by colors, akin to the belt system; yellow being the easiest, with black the most difficult. Good luck on your brown belt test.

Windsornot said...

Yes, as far as I can tell, white pine is still used. I just find it easier to break wood (at least 12 inch boards) than the rebreakables. We do use the color coded ones. Women and teens use a blue one, which is supposed to be equivalent to 1.25 boards. I think the brown and black are the only colors above that. I know Ma'am, even as a 4th degree, still uses blue boards, but it's perhaps as a woman. With the rebreakables, they are harder because they won't break unless you break straight down the middle, which is good for learning better technique, for sure. So, even the board I had to break was a clean break, but on wood it wasn't perfectly down the middle. Who cares? It broke on the first try! :-P Thanks for the good wishes.