Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tourney Prep

Not much going on between my two classes. Mostly, because of the tournaments both this weekend and next weekend, I had to do some practices. Didn't do anything for my current form or weapon at all today. Part of my problem, however, is I'm finding both knees are starting to bother me. Oh boy. I'm trying to work on not bobbing up and down in my form, which takes a lot deeper knee bends and being consistent than I've been doing, so my quads hurt a little, and thus there's extra exertion on my knees. Oh joy. However, in practicing my kamas/ssahng nat, I think I have a new move mastered better now, and I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my weapons routine for competition. There was a move I had before that didn't look pretty, so if I can continue to work on this new move, then I will replace the old move with the new move. I will certainly have to practice, but I think I have it.

Since this is the day that SW is in for the day, man, she took advantage of being there. It was a very busy day, to say the least! No slouching today! I will say that she had me draft up a letter to the W/O/Y Masters families to tell them that they won't do the Masters stuff with them on Saturdays, but rather those students can come to the specialties classes instead. I think she was worried that I'd write it somehow as a negative and "Hey, here's the positive" about it. But better yet, I wrote it as if there were no negatives attached to it, like, "Wow, guess what you can do, which is better!". She was pleased with the results. No rewrites at all. ;-) (Go me!) Making lots of phone calls, and stuff. Putting things up, writing things up, etc. Just busy, busy, busy! Well, there's a lot going on, after all.

So, not much going on. Today seemed like a day of a lot of socializing and information more than workout. But that's okay. Like I said, my knees are bothering me today.

Tomorrow Drew has class, but I don't think I will take it with him. He needs to learn the information more than I do. I might go and practice stuff while he's in class in the back mat. I'll have to see. After the tournaments, I'll be able to catch up without any problem, since IW1 is not new to me. And I can probably practice sword a bit, since I haven't learned that much. I only have to learn up to 20 seconds worth of material anyway for that, so that shouldn't be a problem. We'll see. I'm not too worried...yet.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Cuts like a butterfly, stabs like a bee

TKD has been okay this week. I've just been so busy that I haven't had much of a chance to write about it this week. I'm still recovering from my cold, but I'm generally better.

Since SW is at Nationals this week in Las Vegas (must be nice!), RA did the Wednesday morning class, which was pretty good. We worked on the form, In-Wha #1 (IW1, for the future), which is the form I did back when I was a camo belt, so this will pretty easy. I know that I will be judged more carefully since I'm a higher rank belt and this form is for a lower belt, but that's okay. Sparring will be the same old, same old. Weapons...aie, there's the rub. Between practicing for the tournaments, and new stuff, I will be keeping plenty busy. So during the Wednesday morning class, RA started teaching me the SWORD. :-) Those of us in leadership who have a sword and want to use it ;-) are going to learn the 2nd form taught in Gumdo, as we learned the basics from the seminar. Easier said than done.

Wednesday night, between school stuff and that many of the instructors are at Nationals, Instructor class was just me, RA, and two other adult guys. A lot of the time was spent talking about the higher ups in the organization cracking down on things with forms, stances, etc. in competition and testing. So we were discussing the implications of that. We also got to work on competition stuff, so RA went over the last form which I'm using for tournament, and we worked on some stronger stance work for it. Once of the things judges are starting to come down on is that you shouldn't be "bobbing up and down" as you do your form, which has to deal with the knee bends in stances. I think once I got that down, I will be doing better with that.

Drew had his first camo-red class, which I was in attendence. Oh, I can't stand taking classes with the little ones now. It goes WAY too slow. Drew was fine through most of class, that is until RA was trying to divide his time between 1st degrees, BB recommendeds and the color belts. One trick is to assign a few kids in the class a single move, and each one has to take turns yelling out what the move should be (in order, of course), and then we practice it while RA would go and check on the higher ups. Well, Drew wanted to be able to do one of those, and he jumped around saying, "Me! Me! Me!" (shows that he had initiative, at least), but because he was jumping around instead of simply raising his hand, RA decided to defer on him. That sent Drew into a angry tizzy. Even when RA offered to have him say, "SET!" at the end of the combination, Drew just refused and didn't cooperate for the rest of that part of class, and was asked to leave. How embarrassing! During weapons, I was using my sword, and Drew was supposed to be working on his Jahng Bang. I decided that being the only sword person, and since I was behind all the JB kids, I should remove myself and not be a distraction to Drew or the other kids having something different, so I went to the back floor to practice. Drew seemed a little better during board breaking time and sparring time, so that helped.

Today, Drew and I went to just forms and weapons class. Drew got through forms class okay, but weapons not so much. Evidentally, he was getting a little goofy during that class that he was asked to sit on the side. And he moped. Oh well. I, on the other hand, had a great class, as crowded as it was. It was just me and another kid, and Gary P., since he helps out on Saturdays (more for the business end, but not many intros coming in during weapons class) and has a 1st degree belt in Gumdo helped us out. He LOVES Gumdo. So, who better to learn from. He gave us a refresher on unsheathing and sheathing our swords, and fixed some of the mistakes I was making so far with the stuff I had learned already. So, I felt pretty good. The only problem, which Gary acknowledged, was that we didn't have much room to practice, because they were jamming all the JBs, BMEs and us all on the same floor, so it was very cramped. Between sword and JBs alone, nobody had much room to work. After class, Drew made his usual declaration that he hated karate, and I asked if he wanted to switch to BME instead of JB, and he said yes. So I think that will help. I may also not take class with him next week, as I might be too much of a distraction for him.

Later in the afternoon, I got to go to a weapons seminar, this time for the sshang nat (kamas). This ended up being a good seminar for me. While I knew a lot of what was being taught, I got some finer points, as well as some new stuff. I really had never had any "formal" lessons on the SN, so I was glad for this. We learned basic stabs and cuts. I got a change to work on the basic finger roll that RA showed me the other day, and I think I'm getting a little better, and there were a few other cool moves that I learned. I think the hardest one for me is where your hands are going in opposite directions rolling up and down. So, while the left hand is rolling up and back, the right is rolling down and forward. I was told that it's easier to get the hang of it with double BMEs, and since I haven't done double BMEs yet, it was extra difficult for me. If I do one at a time, I can do it. The uncooperative hand is the left one. Individually it can do the task, but to do it while doing the right hand, forget it. No dice. I think this is something I'm definitely going to practice. But I got some ideas for stuff to do with my SN routine to tweak for tournament (throw an extra kick in there during one move that I was doing already), so that helped. The time went by very quickly, so I guess that means that I was enjoying it. It would've helped if it had been more teens and adults, or at least more tweens, but no, mostly a bunch of 8-10 year olds. And at least Dean and Jodi were helping to teach the class. They are great at SN, and I like them as people too.

So, mixed bag this past week. While Drew finally got to bump up to the "big leagues", he still has a LOOOOOOONG way to go. I'm hoping that some of it is maturity, as some people have suggested. It's just so difficult. There are times he's fine with TKD, and other times, usually after having a class where things went sour at some point, he'll say he hates it. For now, I'm just still making him go, because I don't think he really hates it deep down. It's one of those things that I think that if I just make him go (but note-- not force him to go--), he'll be glad as he gets older that I didn't make him drop it and that he progressed at a good rate. But if things get to the point that he outright rebels when nothing has gone sour due to his behavior, etc. then I think I'll pull him. I think he does like it-- he just doesn't like to be bossed around and told to do something, or not get picked for something. He's Prince Drew and the world revolves around him. I don't know where he got that idea, because we certainly have not promoted that idea with him, that he can't always win, and he can't always be first, etc. Guess he has to learn the hard way, unfortunately, and this is where he acts up. Maybe with more of these upper level classes, he'll straighten up. I can only do so much, and sometimes I think I'm probably a hinderance being in class with him rather than a help. I guess I just have to give this some time, but stay on top of it...

One week until Interschool Tournament, and two weeks until the A tournament! YIKES!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The common cold and TKD do not mix

Well, after the fiasco of Wednesday, I came in on Saturday, as I promised SW I would. She needed holders for board breakers who were doing a makeup test that day. Generally Saturday was good. I only went in for Weapons (waste of time for me again), and board breaking class. My friend "Oceandirt" came, as it was her birthday, and she wanted to spend part of the day at TKD, since she loves it so much. She got to use my Jahng Bang, which she thought was pretty cool (I suspect this will be on her Mother's Day list this year, haha), and I tried to use my kamas, but instead got stuck helping the pipsqueaks with their BME. Pain in the tushie to do that, hence, a waste of time. Board breaking was a little better. I have two foot breaks that I need to work on. One is the round kick break. I already know I don't do well with that, but I know what to work on (pulling back my toes and getting the board at the right angle, and not re-chambering my kick). The other one that I have to work on is a run-jump-side kick. Of course, we start with the run-side kick first. Well, it's broken down simply enough, and theoretically I have it. However, when going to break, it doesn't happen. It's a completely different rhythm from a straightforward sidekick (which took me a long time to get), so I think it's going to take me a while to get it. Bleeh.

While all this is going on, I am majorly fighting a bad cold. I think all the crying I did on Wednesday left me vulnerable to catch something, and boy, I caught something. No matter what over-the-counter product I use for the symptoms, nothing helps at all. So, instead of getting better, I'm getting worse, which, naturally isn't good. This is why I didn't go to sparring or forms class, I knew it would take too much out of me. Heck, board breaking class wore me out! But when you are tired and feeling achy, and you can hardly breathe (asthma aside), with the runny nose, etc. You get the idea. You know, I just got over the back injury, and not much before that I had the bad cold that gave me laryngitis. When is it going to end? I have my first tournament in 2 weeks! Oh man...this is NOT going to be fun. :-(

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

A Celebration Day is full of Tears Instead

Despite the snow and ice and a snow day from school (and work), we had graduation today. But rather than ending up a day of celebration from getting new ranks, it ended up in tears instead.

Let me tell you about the less tearful part. My graduation went fine generally. I don't know that I forgot any of my form. I didn't pay attention to the others, as I felt that I had to concentrate on what I was doing rather than what everyone else was doing just to stay on track. I was distracted by events of earlier in the day, which I will tell in a moment. At least I was smart enough to look up where the ki-haps went, and was the only person who was doing my form who remembered them. SW said a big "thank you!" aloud which at least verified my effort in remembering that this is still a martial art! My weapon with the SJB didn't go as well as I had hoped, but again, I think it was mental distraction and adrenaline that messed me up. But, I tried some trickier moves than the standard freestyle, so I had to get at least some brownie points for trying. Like an "a" for effort. Sparring was against a skinny 13-14 year old green belt. I think I definitely proved, considering this was only the 3rd time that I had sparred since this whole cycle, that I could still spar and hold my own. I don't know if the kid knew what hit him. So all was said and done, I helped hold some boards for people who had to break for rank, and I got my red belt, so I'm that much closer to my black belt-- 6 months and counting.

So here's why there were tears. While technically Drew achieved rank, he did not receive his belt, or rather, it was taken away. In times past, I would've been upset at that, but in this case, I supported it, and in fact, and the reason he doesn't have it in hand.

Our afternoon started on a bad note to begin with. I had given him MANY warnings about when we had to leave. He whined and shrieked and complained so much that I forgot to bring my own bag with me, as I had intended to leave it at the school, thinking that after Drew's graduation we'd meet my husband for dinner, and then I could just go back to the ATA and do the graduation. Nope, I'd have to go back home anyway through the slush and ice to go get it. Great. (Please note, despite having an SUV with 4WD, I am still a nervous Nelly when it comes to driving in bad weather, and I did skid a little just before I even left our street today!). Anyway, things started out okay. Drew stood on his spot, he didn't jump around too much, he did his form and one steps well enough (I didn't see all of it, because SW was short-handed, and a lot of calls were happening due to people asking if graduation was cancelled due to the roads and weather). I did see enough, and he saw that I was watching, so all was fine. Then, as he was waiting for the next set of kids to be done (and this was a REALLY small group today-- he was one of 8 kids!), I didn't see it happen, but evidentally he knifehanded another kid in the stomach. All I saw was the discipline that ensued, which was that SW had Drew sit on the other side of the mats, away from that kid. After that, he pulled his temper tantrum/spoiled brat attitude. He was supposed to get up and do his weapon, but because he was in the middle of pulling his bad attitude, he didn't do it. While doing weapons as a color belt is optional, he lost his opportunity altogether to earn a silver star for his uniform. When it was time to line up, he did so VERY reluctantly. Being the highest rank, he got his last, which wasn't a big deal since there were so few kids, but (again, I didn't see this part, just the aftermath), upon getting back to his spot in lineup, he threw down his new belt (camo recommended-- half yellow, half camo), and kicked it away. SW told me she saw him do it, but due to it being graduation and all, she chose to ignore him. She told me later tonight, "You know, he's very astute. He kicked it, and while I saw it I didn't acknowledge it, and he looked back to see if I was going to react, and I didn't. That's when he kicked it again, and I continued to ignore him." I just didn't see the belt in hand, while I know she gave it to him, and then I saw her take it after graduation, I'm guessing from the floor where Drew had kicked it. She told me that it was up to me if he could get it back, but after enough of a tantrum and bad attitude in reaction to being disciplined and being overall uncooperative, I chose not to give it to him. He didn't deserve it, no matter how well he knows the moves and all. After bringing him into the back office to lecture him and give him a verbal lashing, I found out about the knifehand, and well, that just made it worse for him. I told him that he blew it. Because he did! He just had to get through 20 minutes (if not less) of this, and then he was done, and he didn't have to be with the baby class again. But to hear that he hit a kid? NOT ACCEPTABLE. So after getting him changed and trying to get him out the door, my eyes started welling up big time, but didn't release the tears until we were actually out the door. The whole ride home was both Drew and I crying our eyes out in frustration with each other, and my anger towards him, for his bad behavior and him embarassing both himself and me. There was no going out to dinner. In fact, I had nothing prepared to cook for dinner because I had planned on going out, and that wasn't going to happen.

Drew and I had a long talk, and he knows he doesn't have his belt, and that he has to shape up so he can attend the "big kid" classes, and that I would be taking class with him, so there was nothing to be scared of in moving up. I explained to him how SW made it my decision whether he got his new belt, and that I had told her not to give it back right away. So, a lot of tears, a lot of talking, a lot of sadness. Not something you want to hear about on graduation day, let alone graduation on Valentine's Day, no less. At least not these kinds of tears.

I talked to SW before my graduation, as she could see that I wasn't exactly in the best mindset. She said I could've skipped class tonight under the circumstances, but I needed some space from Drew, that's how angry, sad and frustrated I was. I didn't even eat any dinner until I got home tonight, that's how upset I was-- I couldn't eat. She filled me in with a few more details, some of which I have already mentioned, and we discussed things a bit. At least we are on the same page. So, at least she is leaving it up to me as to how he gets the belt back, and she doesn't have a problem with me starting him in camo-red belt classes. She agreed on my thinking about moving him up, and she is confident, if he can learn some more self-control, that he will do well.

I guess to end this sad store on an up note, I will repeat something SW said about the knifehand incident part of the story. While she was pretty sure that Drew didn't mean to hurt or injure the kid purposely, she did say, "I do have to say, his technique was awesome-- it was a beautiful knifehand!"

So what should have been a happy day ended up being a sad day. I still have a headache from crying so hard about it. There are things going on with Drew that go beyond TKD but spill into TKD that I have to figure out how to get him whipped into shape, and I don't mean physical shape. He is capable of so much and so much more, and I don't know how to get him to reach his potential, both in and out of class. Hopefully I'll find a solution sooner than later. I need to find a way for him to earn his belt back from me before we start back with classes. We'll take the weekend off, or at least he will.

Pray to the deity of your choice or send some good karma that I can find a solution to this. It's literally making me crazy. :-(

PS-- sorry no photos. Nobody takes photos of me as I always end up coming by myself, and Drew didn't get his belt, so no photo. This is the first time since he started almost 2 years ago that I haven't photographed him with a new belt. ;-(,,,,

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Prepping for graduation...

I apologize for not posting much as of late. It's just been very busy at my house with this and that, and while the intention was there, it hasn't always happened.

So, let me see if I can summarize as briefly as possible the past week's events.

I didn't have my day class, but I still had instructor class. We worked on one-steps for SJBs. I didn't know they had one-steps for weapons! Natalie and Ben were the ones who were instructing, mostly Natalie. I was lucky that I was paired up with Ryan, since he is a black collar instructor, and he knows how to work with dumb ol' me. Most of them I could get, and I was lucky to have the head instructor be my partner! I learned a few new moves, and I am going to see if I can incorporate them into my freestyle for graduation. I also went to class on Thursday for the first time in a long while. There were two intro kids, one of whom I signed up, and the other was getting his first class that night. I was glad that I wasn't doing the sales pitch, as the dad seemed like the type of guy who needed to be convinced that his money was being well spent, and well, a ballbuster. Not a term I like to use often, but that seems to be the best description. Can't stand those kinds of people. The other kids in the class were Mateo and Katherine. Katherine is maybe 11 or 12, and needed a little more help with her form, and Mateo is 17 or 18. I know he's a senior in high school, and his mother's maiden name is the same as my married name, so we might be family somewhere along the line! ;-) He's a good kid, and so it was pretty good to work with him. My sparring is still very sorry, and I'm out of practice, but I'm sure I'll be okay for graduation and hold my own, considering I've been able to get away with not having to spar in the last two graduations! :-P

Drew's last class as a beginner started out okay. Jorge had taken over class and he can usually keep things moving and keep the kids' attention very well, and he's very supportive of Drew, especially since Drew is the emotional one, and J recognizes that in many ways Drew is a young 5 rather than closing in on 6, and makes sure to keep Drew motivated and feeling good about how he's doing. At one point in class, Ben accidentally stepped on his foot, and he came crying to Mommy. Embarassment point #1. It just went downhill from there. He got into trouble two more times for not cooperating, but wasn't kicked out of class. During Master's time, he was being very stubborn, and at one point, Natalie tried working with him with his SJB, and I thanked her for trying. She was sweet enough to say that she understood my frustration, and just wanted to help him, as he seemed alone in the corner with Ben putting his efforts more into the other kid (who'd pay attention, and I don't blame him), than in Drew. She also said that while Drew still has a long way to go, she has seen the progress in Drew, and remembers him as a Cub when he was much wilder, so she thinks that he has gotten better. That was nice of her. He has SO much further to go, so I hope that not only in TKD, but in life in general he starts to mature a little more, as I think he will get more out of life if he acts more like his age. Yesterday would've been his last class, but he wasn't feeling well, and ended up having a bad fever and feeling yucky, so I think he's probably battling some sort of virus. Fortunately no flu symptoms, just headache, yucky feeling, not being very hungry, and being a little hot potato. I was going to take him in for a makeup class tomorrow, but he might not be over this just yet, so I just hope he's feeling better for graduation on Wednesday (yes, on Valentine's Day).

So yeah, Valentine's Day is graduation day. Drew, if he behaves and gets through his form and one-steps (and he wants to do weapons, but at his stage of the game, it's optional), will finally move into being a camo-recommended, and can join me in the upper level color belt classes. As for me, appropriately enough, I will be getting my red belt. 6 more months until my black belt! That is, if I can survive that long. I'm sure I will. But after graduation, my concentration will be getting through the tournaments in early March (starting to not look forward to it, as the big one is expecting about 1000 competitors! Yikes!). I still haven't come up with an XMA form of anything, so if I'm going to do anything, I'd better get on the ball. I don't know still. I need to do more stretching and practice my form.

One thing to note that was talked about at the instructor class meeting was tournament stuff that we've been taught correctly and interestingly enough, not all schools remember to comply. Some of it was piddly stuff, like guys aren't supposed to wear shirts under their uniforms, and women are supposed to wear white t-shirts under theirs, and that cubs and Tiny Tigers don't spar. And there were some judging documentation stuff that needed to be reviewed on how to do it. But it turns out that a big thing that was emphasized was that it's more important, especially for the older competitors (like myself), that getting head height kicks during form and such are not as important as doing the kicks correctly. Actual form and technique are more important than doing the fancy stuff. If you aren't doing a proper hand or foot technique, and your stances are poor, it doesn't matter if your kicks or other moves are fancy or high or whatever if they aren't done correctly. I know of kids at my do-jahng who are more concerned in doing the moves fast and looking cool rather than doing them right. They are always called on it, and it sounds like that from the higher ups, passing is going to get a lot harder now. Slow and steady is preferred over fast and sloppy. And that's the way it should be. If you can do fast and steady, more power to you, literally and figuratively. I think I've been a slight perfectionist for a while now, and since I've been competing for a while, that only enhanced my need to do my forms and weapons well. Just goes to show that doing things the right way, even if they are low and slow, is the better way to go.

I decided that I think Drew needs a slight break from TKD, and just wanted to get him through this testing, so he won't go to class over President's Day weekend. I'll start him the week after, and I'll probably take class with him, just to start out. We have to learn the same information, after all!

So hopefully the next time I write here, I will be a red belt, and Drew will finally be a camo belt. Send good karma our way! :-)

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Back in action! aka I love my chiropractor

You've been reading how I've been wracked with pain from a bad pull in my back for several weeks. I really wondered what was going to finally make it better, I was in so much pain. 8 days ago, I finally went into see my chiropractor. At first, for the 1st two visits, it was a regular adjustment. While I felt some temporary relief, it wasn't really getting that much better. Finally, this past Monday, one of the two guys I see (they practice together), who is a sports chiropractor and has taken continuing ed courses on sports physiology-- and it doesn't hurt that he's a 1st degree black belt that stopped but understands what I do-- said that I was worse instead of better (I felt it too). So upon further, or detailed examination, he found that the 3 muscles that hurt, which were right above my left tushie cheek, were not only sprained, but had formed some adhesions. Not good. So, he did some stuff whereby he had me do some very specific stretches while he manipulated those muscles to loosen up. On Monday night, I was still not feeling great, but when I woke the next day, I felt MUCH better. So yesterday, I went in again, and he did the regular adjustment AND these same massage stretch things. And man, I feel almost back to normal! So much so, I felt that within reason, I was able to not only do my regular work, but get this...I actually took *3* classes yesterday. That's right-- you read that correctly. THREE. I took my morning class right after the adjustment, and then two two classes back to back in the evening. I did start to peter out a little towards the end of the 3rd class, but I only quit about 3-4 minutes before everyone else did. I even got some sparring in, and for someone that's been out of sparring for about 3-4 weeks, I think I held my own! I was finally able to get those sidekicks going again, and while I'm still not 100%, I'm significantly better enough that I feel I can truly start training now for the tournaments in March.

I do have the form down now, that's for sure. I just have to keep the neurons fired up to remember the sequences of each segment, but I know it. Since I'm still recovering from the back injury, I'm sort of relearning the sidekicks in this form, just because my balance was off and such before. I think some of my hand stuff is getting better, although I need to check on that. I also have my SSJB routine down. I really didn't do much with it this cycle, and that's my weakest weapon, but maybe the next time, I'll have her order the matching SJB and I'll start learning doubles. Although I still have to get some of the other release moves down, but nobody bothers to teach them to me lately, so I'm not worried about it. It's still not required at this stage of the game, so it's just for brownie points if nothing else. I was realizing that my wrists need a lot of warming up and I need to practice my kamas more. I have no problem with forward wrist rolls, it's the reverse ones that I have problems with. I'm also starting to think that perhaps I should consider doing kamas for XMA, but I'm not sure still. We'll be starting Sword soon enough in Leadership next cycle, so I might still be able to pull something off. We'll see.

I just felt really good being able to workout and practice more normally than I have in weeks. It felt REALLY good. I was tired, naturally, but my back doesn't hurt quite as much, and it was bearable. Ma'am also told me not to overdo it, and believe me, I didn't.

One of the classes I took was the 7 PM class, which I haven't taken in a while. I figured that I really wasn't going to be able to get a class in on Saturday with me working. It actually wasn't bad, because it was just a little more intense than my morning classes (I'm the youngest in my morning class, go figure! Everyone else in there who's a regular is over 50!) as there was a mix of teens and tweens in there. I think I was the only adult in that class, but most of those kids know me and they're used to me, even if it's been a long absence since I've been in there. So, in that respect, it was a good class. And instructor class was good too. Most of the time, since many of the instructors were practicing for weapons recertificiation which is this Saturday (hence why I have to work this Saturday instead of taking class, since all of them will be at the cert camp), so I worked on my form and my weapons a bit. So all in all, it was good yesterday.

I think what's going on right now is that there's a dilemma brewing, specifically with me working at the school. Nothing much has changed, although we are doing better, but financially, it's not working out too well anymore. While I was very upset the last time the idea of me giving up working at the ATA came up, I am not as upset about it this time. There are aspects of working there that I like, and some that I don't. There are times that I feel like a dumb blonde (even though my hair is currently auburn instead of blonde), and other days that I feel like my days are wasted there as I know that the work that I do for some things, especially the computer related stuff, I'd be paid a LOT more for doing that stuff. We found out that we are going to be in bigger financial straits than expected now that our old house is sold, and sold for a lot less than we anticipated. I need to find out that if I continue to work on my black belt, and start truly studying the forms, one-steps and all so that I can try to certify as an instructor (no, a REAL instructor vs. what I'm doing now), I'll see if the pay is better for that than it is now. That might help make up the difference in the long run, I don't know. I guess I'll have to ask. Extracting myself from the business end of things will be difficult if I find something else, but only time will tell. I don't know how or what I'm going to do just yet, but I have to start doing something. Perhaps after I've finished the tourneys next month, I can think more about it.

Now that I'm feeling better with my back, I started today with trying to eat better, and I'm hoping that I can start with more regular training, so that I can not only lose some weight, but also so that I can perform at my best levels. Here's hoping I can keep it up!