Monday, November 27, 2006

Future XMA star

Boring day at work. So boring that most of the afternoon I spent rearranging the black belt display and put in order of rank, then in alphabetical order. Yeah.

So, tonight, being the doting mother that I can be sometimes, I made a mix CD of music for my son. It's not something I do often-- I think the last time I did it was 2 years ago. His tastes have matured a little, and having just seen the movie, "Happy Feet" --twice, in fact -- he wanted the music, and I told him I'd make a music CD for him, and include other music.

Well, the boy is a dancing fool much like his mother. He's got some wiggly moves that I know he definitely did NOT inherit from his Latino father. (Aren't they supposed to genetically have the dance moves? My husband disproves about 90% of all ethnic generalizations about Hispanic men, let me tell you.)

So what does this have to do with TKD? LOTS. As Drew is up and dancing all over the place, he starts throwing in some acrobatic moves, including doing a flip, at which I shrieked because I thought he'd come down on his head instead of his feet. It was funny afterwards. (He was doing it on carpeting, but a mat would be better, of course.) But he'd also throw in some punch-jab-roundkick combos into his dancing, and some other TKD moves as well.

And it got me to thinking, as he had the moves and the energy without even being taught how to do it the "right" way.

When he's old enough for Leadership, there is NO doubt that I'm putting him into XMA classes. (Kids at our school are not allowed to take XMA unless they are part of the leadership program.) He's a natural for it. The other 3rd degrees who are even in the class say he'd be a natural. He's not ready for leadership --nor is my pocketbook right now, and I don't think he's mature enough for the rest of what junior leadership entails. But man oh man, when he's old enough, he's going to be incredible. I'm sure of it. From my many years in dance, as well as the TKD I've done and observed so far, he's got the natural ability for it. It's just a matter of him sticking with it long enough to get to that. Oh, and I hope he does! He'd blow everyone away.

OK, and in a selfish, conceited note, I definitely have a kama routine down now that should be pretty good for a first-timer. I was practicing it in our driveway while waiting for the bus to drop Drew off from school, and I think I've worked the kinks out now. We'll see if it jives for graduation next week.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Burning off Thanksgiving Dinner before it's eaten!

Today's classes were a little bit much, and my asthma is acting up, and my knees, especially my bad knee is absolutely killing me. (I'll have to remember to take a Motrin or Advil before I go to bed for the pain.) But, let me tell you, I really worked up a sweat in both classes that I wouldn't be surprised if I burned off my Thanksgiving dinner before I even have eaten it!

Both classes were small due to the holidays and all, but that's okay. This morning, it was just me, Winnie and Evelyn. We started doing a lot of drills across the floor with front stances, as Ma'am was in a front stance mood. ;-) Then we worked on our forms. Evelyn is a red belt, so at least I had someone else to work on the form with. But I have to tell you, other than spacing out, I know this form SOLID. I really mean it. Tell me to face any direction, and I can do it. Tell me to face Mecca from wherever I am, and I can do this form cold. I think it helps that when I practice, it could be the kitchen, in the living room, at Drew's bus stop. (Yes, I get the stares, but I don't care. It keeps me moving in the cold weather and I gotta pass the time somehow!) Evelyn and I did it several times, especially working on transition points that were weak for me. Well, they shouldn't be weak for me anymore, at least in theory! Worked on the kamas for a little bit, and came up with some more stuff for my freestyle. This is the first time I'm not learning a creative form in whole from anyone. I'm taking elements that I've learned along the way, and getting a few tips from Ma'am now and then, and a few from the kids, and I think I got something together, but there was one element that I wanted to ask Jodi about if she was in Leadership class later. Then - it was great - Ma'am gave Evelyn and I the option to break for testing today or next week. Both of us decided to do it today to get it out of the way. Now, something that I had clarified for me today is that I thought I had an option of which of two break combos I could do either time, but no. You do one option for your stripe, and the other when breaking to test for the next promotion to red belt. So, I took the harder of the two for me, which, to be honest, isn't that hard for me. Now that I'm a brown belt, I have to do two breaks to test, not just one. It's either an elbow and front kick break, or an elbow and side kick break. I did the latter. And the good thing for me is that instead of doing it on plastic boards (which are always harder), I had to do it on wood. I never had to set up for two boards, but having held boards enough times, it wasn't too bad setting up. Then, BAM! Elbow break. And since Ma'am had to run to help hold the other board, I didn't have the big continuity that I would've liked in just going POP! POP!, but I nailed the side kick as well. Hooray! Out of the way!

This evening, it was full, as usual, or 2nd and 3rd degrees, and me. It was the Zimmerman sisters (Michelle was home from college), Rachel C., the Drs. Phillips and me. So, since there really wasn't anyone else there, Ma'am just skipped staff meeting stuff. We started doing a bunch of hook kick drills, and other stuff in between. Then, we split into groups, and just had all of us doing our forms facing all directions so that we knew it, so it was a minimum of 4 sets. Because I had a much shorter form this cycle, it was expected that I had to do mine at least twice on each side for a minimum of 8 times. I swear I did it more than that, and man, I couldn't tell after a while which direction I started from or did last. :-S But I got it done. We then worked on weapons again, and fortunately, before class, Michelle me the cool move that I was going to ask Jodi about, so I was happy about that. And she showed me how to do it, not just show it to me. So, I worked on incorporating that into my routine. So, between a 2nd 4-way cut that's done travelling (meaning I don't stay still and spin as I am travelling on it), and this other cool move (it's looping the blades so one blade spins around the other), I think I have two pretty good razzle-dazzle moves for a first time kama person for graduation. Ma'am was wondering if I was doing it for competition, and I said we'll have to see how good she thinks it is. I wouldn't show her what I was doing. She helped with a few suggestions, but I want the whole thing to be a surprise. I mean, after all, no one has shown me a form, and she gave me some elements, but I put it together myself for the most part, so I want it to be something that the black belts were saying that for a first timer, it was killer! I didn't have to break any boards and no sparring, thankfully, but I was pooped by the time I was done anyway.

I checked the state stats tonight, because in talking to Ma'am, I realized that ATA HQ had called yesterday as they were calculating our interschool tournament scores, and SW didn't remember to put the tournament date in the paperwork. So, from that tournament, since she skewed it to reflect our true rankings, since Sandy and I were color belts going up against 2nd degrees, it ended up that for my rank, I got 1st place in sparring (go figure!), and 2nd place in weapons and forms. Imagine that! I immediately went to check my state ranking, and well, let's just say I've secured my 4th place in weapons. I didn't have enough to rank for the others. I wish, in that respect, that I could go to the regional. I want to go SOOOO badly to "chase points" as SW puts it, but between costs and lack of babysitting resources, I just couldn't do it. So, I'm aiming for the Lincroft tournament in March. It's an "A" tournament, which means that it's bigger, thus bigger point value. I have to truly do well in that one if I want a decent placing, as that's one of my last real chances at a regional before the tournament year is over. I can't make Nationals in February as we can't afford for me to go to Las Vegas. least my 4th place standing at the state level is holding for now. (Crosses fingers)

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sometimes I just want to be a parent

Forget my Saturday specialty classes. Right now, I'm generally ahead of the kids, and because of different things interrupting my weapons and board breaking class, they are almost pointless to go to them anymore. But wait...even when I just want to hang out and watch my kid in class, I can't. I'm pulled into service (working). At least in the last two days, that's happened.

When you work "behind the scenes" at a martial arts school, it's a different perspective than being an instructor, a student, or even a parent. You see the good, the bad, and the ugly of running such a business. I've taken some hits, and then some, and there's other times that there is a hum and flow to it all. Well, the last two days when Drew had class were not two of those days that had hum and flow. You see, when Drew has classes, I'm technically off the clock as far as work goes. Oh, I don't mind answering a question for one of the kids manning the front desk, but the last two days certainly pushed the limit.

Yesterday, the student who was manning the front desk was doing her homework, and generally slacking off doing what she was supposed to be doing. She did a few transactions, but what really ticked me off was that when the phone rang, she wouldn't answer it. The first time, she asked one of the instructors on the floor to answer it. WHAT? He's teaching! So I picked it up and took care of it. The second one, she recognized on the Caller ID (as had I, since by then I was back behind the desk) that it was SW's other school. I said, "It's probably Ma'am so go ahead and pick it up". She hemmed and hawed, so I picked up again. SW was surprised to hear me on the line, but her timing was good as I was trying to solve a crisis and was about to call her myself anyway. Where was RA during all this? On the floor. Where was his lead instructor who's there to help him? Late for work, with no warning that he was going to do that. So RA couldn't/wouldn't have handled the crisis because he was too preoccupied with instruction (when he had enough other people to help on the floor, but not anyone to help with the business end of things). To make a long story short, I saved the day with a parent who could've truly become disgruntled, and ended up staying at least a half hour later than when my son's class ended. Fortunately, he was being a good boy and generally staying out of trouble. So, I wrote SW an email with some of the details, and explained that what happened, with front desk not knowing how to pick up the phone and basic customer service skills, a chief instructor who is not pulling his weight like he should, it's no wonder we've heard comments that "things aren't the same anymore [without SW]". Yeah, no kidding! But I think it's that she would handle things in a crisis because she would be there so much before, and now she's hardly there. I'm only there during the day, so I can only do so much. What would have happened if my husband brought Drew to class last night instead of me? It could have been a disaster. So anyway, I wrote the note, being as diplomatic as I could, but still expressing my...well, disgust. As I said to her, I didn't like that I was just there to watch my kid, and I ended up working when I was off the clock! Then we had a near repeat. RA couldn't find the leadership application forms last night (which were RIGHT THERE on the desk in the folder which he asked me to make for him and saw me make it for him weeks ago), and a uniform order has to go in STAT.It was supposed to go in last night, but since I wasn't around nor SW, it sat for a day. :-S I tried calling SW, but she wasn't answering (she told me later that she was in the shower, as it was her day off so she slept in), so I just had to make an executive decision. In the middle of weapons class, I heard my cell phone ring with her special ring (ah, technology!) and we discussed the note and it turns out that I did the uniform order correctly. She is pissed at the student from last night, but I said it's not just that student. Even though there are some kids we know that can handle some situations better than others, we really should train or retrain EVERYONE (hinting at RA needing some help in this too) in basic customer service stuff, because I can't always be there. She was in total agreement with what I had to say, and she thanked me for what I did for the last two days, as she appreciated that I came to the rescue when the chips were down. You know, I doubt that I will get any extra compensation for my effort, but at least the thanks were a beginning. I should be compensated for that extra time, don't you think? SW would have lost about $700 in sales between last night and today if I hadn't been there. I will bet you that I might even bring in more in the next week, because of things I said to certain parents about calling me during the day once they make a decision about signing up for this or that, etc.

I do find that it's better if I don't watch Drew 100% of the time, as he can get distracted, and he needs to focus and pay attention to his instructors. I have no problem with that. But I would like to be just a parent, now and then, and see for myself how he's progressing and see how he is growing in his own pursuit. It's been a long and hard journey to get to the yellow belt that he's going to be getting in December. He's worked hard. He was only making half steps every other cycle before, and now he's making the half steps in belts every cycle. There are kids who started after him that are ahead in belts. I know he's bored but capable when he focuses, and I want to see the progress. Since all the instructors know me, and know that Drew can be a little bit of a handful, it helps that when they run into trouble, especially with the teens, sometimes I can tell them what might work with him, or that they have my permission to come down hard on him as they see fit (and believe me, I come down harder on him than any of them anytime). Today he had a meltdown at board breaking time. It just wasn't happening for him, and we all have days like that. I was in the office (:-S), and he came in and told me and said, "I QUIT!", and when questioning him, I just said that he was having a bad day, and it was okay, so he could just put his board back in his bag, and get his bahng-mah-ee out and wait patiently for the other children to finish. So that's what he did, and there weren't any noticible problems after that. But as a parent, instead I was in the office trying to work something out for someone,when it's technically my day off, and I wanted to take classes myself. I wish I could have been able to just sit back and watch my kid. Sometimes, I just want to be a parent.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Get the Oxygen mask -- STAT!

Okay, maybe it wasn't quite THAT bad, but if I hadn't paced myself a little bit, I think I would have been needing medical attention, for sure. Call it being out of shape, call it being the victim of exercised induced asthma, call it what you will. Ma'am worked us into a tizzying sweat tonight. Even those who usually can keep up and are the fittest in the class were looking and feeling wiped out. So in that respect, it was a good class!

Actually, I should back up, since I taught yesterday, and then took two classes today. My cubs class was okay. It was J the troublemaker's birthday as it were, so I tried to make a slight fuss and at the same time tell him that we're upping the ante now that he's not the little kid in the class anymore. Overall, I think the kids are doing okay, so that's good. I tried something using smaller hoops to get them to learn how to punch more correctly, and it seemed to work, so I'm glad about that. I followed up with S's mom, as they are on a trial program, to see if they would be signing up so that he can graduate, and as she was in a hurry, but not impolite, she said that next week when the trial ended would be his last week. :-( I was really sad about that, as I really did think that he would keep going. Oh well. Can't say I didn't try.

I've been having problems whereby I still haven't kicked my cold from last month 100%. My lungs are still slightly inflamed and congested, so to do a hard, cardio workout, well, doesn't help, but rather hurts, literally and figuratively. I'm coughing more now, and my chest feels tight. And to think, I take something everyday for this, and it doesn't help much, or I imagine it could be worse. :-S

This morning it was just Winnie and me. Winnie and I used to do Tuesday afternoon classes together until I was the only one who showed up consistently, and then the class got cancelled. I almost would've liked to have had a private lesson today, but such is life. I still did fine. I think I did better this morning as I probably had more energy and I didn't have to rush things as much. But in the end, my morning and evening classes were more or less the same as to what we did for drills and such. Evidentally SW has been paying attention to what BB and Master C have been doing in their classes, and wanted to apply it to us, and I got double treatment today. We started out just doing a series of round kicks of 10 on each side, starting with #1s, then #2s, then #3s. Then we had to do a sparring/kicking drill on the wavemasters, and we had to rush through. I think that's when I started to run out of steam. we then did board breaks, with foot gear on (which I didn't think helped me, but then again, I was rushing through it. I can do it). Then we sparred. I was lucky that I was odd man out for one round, working on the bag where in my exhaustion I just punched it several times and threw a kick in here and there. I think my sparring's a little better, as I'm starting to do more of the get out of the way instead of making too many offense moves and less defense moves, trying to figure out how to fake someone else out, and waiting for them to fake me out-- that sort of thing. I was EXHAUSTED. We then got to practice our forms, and I worked with a tween in the evening, who is a little stick of a thing, and doesn't seem to have much of a personality. Not unfriendly or anything, but just rather bland in personality. She and I reviewed our forms the way I had to this morning, which was starting in four different directions, meaning, each time we started the form, we had to face a different wall. The point of that was that you should be able to do your form facing any direction, not just the front of the room. I could do it, but in my old age I would get disoriented sometimes. But having done the exercise twice today, I think I have the form down pretty well, that's for sure. It's a relatively easy form now. I haven't had to work on one steps since I do sparring, especially at my level, so that's good. And I'm still working on the kama routine. I was showing SW what I was working on, and she made some suggestions to throw in a block, and a cool looking pullback move, so I will have to work on it. Sweet.

There are times that I have been questioning what I have gotten myself into with this whole adventure. I don't think that feeling has ever stopped, but rather changed in dimension, if that makes sense. I still wonder if it's worth me following this path or not. And time will tell where it's taking me. I guess I just have to persevere.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Reprieve for now

After the shocker that my husband posed to me last Friday, we've had the opportunity to talk. I've also talked with my instructor/boss/mentor about it. I think we are all going to take a "wait and see" approach for now. No reason to get totally panicked about it yet. I think SW understands how much I don't want to be put in that situation or lose out on anything. And, not to sound conceited or smug, but she trusts me with her business, And I don't think she wants to lose me. She mentioned to me in an email that we will figure out something with the finance issues, so at least she's thinking about it. But keep the prayers/good thoughts/good karma/positive vibes coming, because they are still very much needed.

I don't think when I started my classes more than a year ago, I would have thought that I would be this deep into being part of my do-jahng, understanding the place from so many angles-- as a student, a parent, and instructor and an employee. I see it from almost every angle now. It's a very different perspective, but I wouldn't trade it.

So, I have to just keep truckin' on. I have an easy form that I have to perfect, as I don't think I will be seeing it again anytime soon after this cycle, a kama routine to perfect, make sure my board breaks are good (started working on a #2 side kick for a break, so that's cool), and I have to get some sparring time in, whether I like it or not. (Working on getting some killer crescent kicks and reverse kicks into sparring combinations. And if I can get them to be jump kicks...sweet.)

Cubs class tomorrow...oh joy. I always forget that I have class to teach on Tuesday. I'm also afraid that since tomorrow SW is supposed to be in, and I don't know if she'll be in during the day, I'm wondering if she'll end up criticizing my teaching method. I've been learning trial by fire with these munchkins, and I have no clue if I'm even doing this right. I know they are getting their basic moves in, and I am getting those done correctly-- the end result is what's important here. But I don't know if via methodology I'm where I'm supposed to be. In that respect, I could use SW's help. Well, at least we have a few more weeks, then the kids can graduate and I can finally teach them some new things. Hooray!

So crisis averted for now. I just have to take it day by day, and keep practicing what I know.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Hello my martial arts friends--

I haven't been writing for a while, as there hasn't been a whole lot to report. I'm progressing alright on my form, which, as I predicted, is pretty easy this time around. I haven't sparred that much lately, and I have my breaks down for my level as needed. Today I got a better handle (no pun intended) on my kamas, and Ma'am got us started on a creative, and we (meaning Pen, that little girl Sierra, and myself) came up with a few ideas for endings, so that's cool. I'll just have to practice.

In the meantime, a bombshell was dropped on me yesterday. A little background info, as a husband and I recently bought a new house, and closed on it, in fact, a week ago. In the meantime, we've been trying to sell the current house (we haven't moved into the new one yet) since last summer with no success thusfar. We are now really tight, in that if we don't sell the old house in the next month or two, we will be up the creek financially. So, please, send good thoughts, karma and prayers our way if you can. The bombshell was that in the eventuality that not selling this house in a timely manner happens, that Drew and I will have to give up TKD indefinitely-- at least until the old house sells. We are at a point where our tuition is still rather high, and it would be a big chunk to help us pay two mortgages.

While I understand the necessity of this if things get worse rather than better, I've been really upset about it, understandably. Anyone here who is as enthusiastic about their form of martial arts as I am about TKD understands this feeling, I know. I know that One Crazy Chick understands this very well due to her health issues, but at least she's been able to explore an alternative. For me, it's all or nothing. There is no alternative due to cost. Additionally, my training is tied to my job very closely. My instructor only hires students, and if I'm not a student, even temporarily, (as loyal as I am), then she can't keep me. At least that's her rules. I don't know...she may bend them for me, knowing how upset I am, and knowing that I am reliable and doesn't want to lose me (especially since she has no one to teach that afternoon Cubs class if I should leave). We'll see. Again, if we can sell the house in the next month or so, then it's not an issue, but this was all news to me, and I was never told until last night this was even a possibility.

So, as I said, I'm rather upset about the whole thing, because TKD has become so much a part of my life now, that even taking a short sabbatical seems torturous. I mean, while my instructor understands the circumstances well and can sympathize, imagine if it all goes down for the worse, and then we return awkward is that going to feel? (I predict it would be VERY awkward, even if it was only for one testing cycle.)

Like I said, all prayers, positive thoughts, good karma sent will be most appreciated. And if you know anyone who wants to buy a townhouse in Central NJ, let me know. ;-)

In the meantime, I decided to take advantage of my Leadership status to take a seminar course today (it only cost me $5 to go!) in groundfighting. It would be my luck, which at first I took to heart and later regretted, that my partner would be a 5 year old boy that used to be in Drew's classes (he's higher ranked now, however). And of course, I'm the tallest and heaviest person in the whole class. So, that didn't help. Ryan was teaching the class, and he told me later that he took a different approach in teaching it in chunks rather than drills, and that seemed to work better, and it did. However, I didn't get much benefit from it since I was working with JR (the kid). I didn't mind at first, and he and I had a good time. He trusts me and wanted me to stick with him, and you don't want to betray that trust, you know? Anybody else would be fine too, but I think he felt that he'd be safer with me, since I was Drew's mom. That was fine for that reason. In the end, it seemed a lot like the armlocks stuff we did in Leadership class a few weeks ago that reminded me of my "wrestling" with my dad as a kid, but it was on the floor, so it seemed like organized roughhousing to me. With JR, it did end up being more like roughhousing with my son, but following the drills. If I was the person laying with my back to the floor, and he had to be in a certain position over me, he'd bellyflop right on top of me. Somehow, little 5 year old boys think I'm a big pillow. (Oy, my back is paying for it now!). Fortunately, JR is a little smaller than Drew, but not by much. Thank goodness I know how to withstand bellyflops! But I'm feeling it tonight, and I'm sure I'll be feeling it more tomorrow. Ryan assured me that Groundfighting seminars are ones that they teach several times a year, so I'll have other chances to try again. I hope so.

So, if you don't hear from me for a while, it's probably that I'm very caught up in the outside of TKD part of my life more than my TKD. It's a mess, and there isn't a lot of harmony in my home right now. When I need TKD the most, it might be taken away. I'll still try to write here when I can. Graduation is coming up in a few weeks, and I will be happy when Drew gets his Yellow Belt finally, and I will get the stripe on my Brown Belt to be a Brown Belt Decided (vs. recommended). I hope I also can come up with enough of a razzle dazzle kama routine, if not for any tournaments (since due to the current financial situation I will have to sit out of another regional one again, bleeh), but at least for graduation, and will keep you posted of how that is progressing.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Not much going on but some crazy eights

Today was the day that Drew and I do specialty classes and regular classes. We both opted out of sparring class. While Drew enjoys it, he didn't feel like going, which was fine, and I usually don't opt to do it anymore simply because I don't enjoy sparring that much. I know it's supposed to help, but there can be burnout on doing TKD too, and I'd rather concentrate on other things instead. So, I did forms class, and that went fine. Nothing spectacular. Then I did weapons class. I had to step out a few times during that and board breaking class to help Drew while he took his regular class, but that's Mommy duty for you. Weapons was a little better today. Ben worked with myself and another girl named Sierra on our kamas. Sierra doesn't seem to totally get it, but I'm starting to get it. I didn't even know basic strike lines for it until today, but it's pretty easy. Ben also worked on figure eights with us. They are not hard theoretically, but seeing and doing are a different thing. First of all, I'm not used to doing two handed things. Second, the eights for kamas are slightly different than a BME, so there are some adjustments. Oh, and did I mention having to do everything two handed? Yeah. It's bad enough the right hand has a hard time, but not being left handed--ooh, difficulty there. So, I know what I need to practice. Drew has a mixed class. He started out very well-- he earned 6 paper stars, which I think is a record for him. But by the time class was winding down, he was melting down. I think he was getting hungry, therefore less cooperative. Which is a little odd because he was in the back having a snack during my first 1 1/2 classes, so he shouldn't have been THAT hungry, unless they really worked the kids out. Victoria got after him and had a little talk with him about him acting up. Hopefully she got through to him. He was really irritating me too, as we needed to get out, but I don't know. I've notice that he is just eating a LOT lately. Maybe he's going through another growth spurt or something. Or some other phase at the same time. I don't know. He says he's starting to get bored, which I can believe, but part of it too is that he's been in the same learning cycle for a long time. At the next graduation in December, he will become a yellow belt (hopefully). If he can get through just one more cycle of repetition, then in February he should bump up to Camo recommended, which would finally get him into learning the stuff I've been learning for the last 9 months or so. He and I would actually be learning the same stuff for a while, I think. Not for long, but for a couple of cycles. But I think it'd break the pattern of boredom. Part of the reason I let him get into Masters was so that he could do more with sparring, which he enjoys, break boards and learn weapons, in order to break that boredom right there. It's kind of hard to do with a kid who really doesn't care-- or at least conveys that, whether he gets a new belt or not, but doesn't want to be bored either. It's a weird dilemma. If he just focuses, he is very good. Ryan said that Drew is making progress. According to him, up to last spring, Drew only had 2 speeds - pouting or whacked out. Now he has 5 speeds, which is pouting, whacked out, and a few shades of focusing and working in between. He said the goal is to get him to be like a power truck and get 18 speeds! :-) But, he understands how much Drew has grown while still understanding that he still has a lot more to grow, and understands that in many respects he's developmentally behind, and doesn't come down on Drew as much because of that, which I appreciate. He's willing to work with Drew. Drew can be difficult, but not as difficult as some other kids. Ryan understands Drew's abilities and limitations and works with that, rather than berating him for not being able to keep up. He sees improvement, and he's willing to help him to continue to improve. I'm lucky that between him, SW and the rest of the staff (although I think the kids have to still get a better understanding of Drew sometimes), the things that we try to teach him at home and school are reinforced at TKD.

So, otherwise, not a very exciting day, other than trying to learn the figure eights with the kamas. I missed work yesterday, but it looked like Ryan got the girls to help out with some things that I needed to work on, and that's fine with me. If they want to do it, that saves me some effort!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

That was fun!

I just got back from Leadership/Instructors class, and man, that was fun! I was learning a little bit about something I don't even have to deal with for quite a long time, and of course, Ma'am was patient with me in learning it. But we were doing stuff for "the flow", which is arm lock type stuff. I'd seen it done before at graduations, but haven't been exposed to it really. I've had some basic self defense type stuff like that, but this was the stuff that I think the 2nd degrees work on, and most of the people in my class are 2nd degree and above (I'm the only color belt, but as noted tonight, I'm starting to catch up!). The point of the class was that there are times when you are the instructor, but the people in your class are a higher rank than you. She wanted to expose us to stuff, like this, so that way, the way it'd work is that I could ask her (or Mr. A) what a certain rank would be working on, they might show me the segment, and then I could teach the segment. So, the flow was something new for a lot of us. I have to say, I was having a blast learning it. This is not to say it all came easy to me, but it was very reminiscent of when I was a kid, my dad and I would "wrestle" in the living room doing something a lot like this. (Yes, if they had wrestling at my all-girls school growing up, I probably would've loved to have done it, much to my parents' chagrin.) My dad was teaching more as self defense stuff, as being the father of three girls, uncle to 5 nieces, and brother of two sisters, he felt that it was important to at least have some basics, and some of my male cousins loved learning that stuff. Now mind you, my dad didn't have any martial arts background, but did learn some self defense stuff, so a lot of this seemed familiar, or at least it didn't intimidate me. I was partnered up with Mr. U, probably because he and I are the tallest ones in the class, and we get along. Even though he just got his 2nd degree, he doesn't know this yet, so it was probably another good reason to pair us up, so we could work together at a similar pace. We were twisting and turning and nearly breaking each other's hands off (not intentionally, of course), but we got into the swing of it and got the hang of it for the most part. It took the whole course of the class time, but it was a lot of fun. Maybe because it was something new that I could get through and understand pretty easily versus some other things, but I was having fun. I guess it's because I was learning some stuff that reminded me of just roughhousing with my dad. (I know, it sounds weird for a girl to do that, but really, there was nothing weird about it.)

This morning's class was not too unusual. Sandy and I had to partner up to do some kick drills, and stuff, and we all worked on our form. I got the next two segments, and so far, it's pretty easy. I mean, after doing CJ#2, this is NOTHING. I mean, I got through CJ#2 fine, and I'll have to do it again, as well as some other forms I've done again, but because the skills in this are much simpler than the last cycle, it's coming pretty easily to me. Ma'am told us that we just need one transitional section, and then we just reverse everything we've learned thusfar, and then we are done. HOWEVER, I don't know all the one-step yet. I vaguely remember the first one they gave us so far, but I don't have anything else yet. I get my info and a little more personal attention in the Wednesday morning class, so I go and make the most of having a lot of adult time rather than being mixed in with the kids.

Work is fine. Some of the pressure is gone, as SW is not as tense and stressed out. She's still got a big push to keep the upgrades and sales going, and we're looking at creative ways to sell gear and upgrades and such to generate some holiday sales. So, that's what's keeping us motivated. She may have some changes going on with her other schools and such, so there's a possibility that in time, she may be more free to be at Princeton again, which would be a good thing. So, just plugging away there.

So, some of the tension has been relieved these days. There isn't as much pressure, although it's still there. The vice grip just doesn't feel as strong, and if SW is more relaxed, then we are all more relaxed. I think I can also see where she feels that she's let some things go, to no fault of RA's or mine, just with the school in general, so she's reinstituting some things that she used to do. She's also decided that she needs to be tougher with certain people instead of being "Miss Nice Person" all the time, and getting a little run over. She's not going to put up with that anymore, and she shouldn't. She gives breaks to people, but she shouldn't continue if they can't keep their end of the bargain up, and I think she's just realizing that she's not a bad person if she follows through and cracks down as necessary. I think that will make a difference too.

Lots of stuff coming up in the new month or so. There's going to be a weapons seminar I hope that Drew and I can go to (or at least me), graduation, the regional tournament (if I can go), a Drop and Shop date (aka date night with Santa shopping thrown in!)...good stuff. Have to think positive. :-)