Saturday, June 30, 2007

Feeling a bit burnt, and it isn't sunburn

While summer is now upon us, I'm starting to feel the pull of it more than I really have before. Maybe it's this new house I'm living in and the pool. I am using it more than I expected, and doing a lot more swimming (not laps, but chasing my son in the pool, swimming back and forth, diving for toys that made it to the bottom of the deep end, etc.) than expected. And for me due to my "voluptuousness", as my husband is kind enough to call it, I tend to float very easily, but if I want to swim underwater, well it takes more effort.

Anyway, what does this have to do with TKD? Well, I'm feeling a little bored and burnt out. Nothing new there. I was having a conversation after a bad day on Wednesday with VP, and even she said that since she got her 3rd degree back in April, she hasn't really been taking any classes and has just been teaching. She commended me for coming in for classes more than she was at this point, even if it was once a week! I'm having big problems with my knee again, and the only consistent part of it is when I have to do stances and bear weight on the one leg more than the other. Then again, the other knee is starting to bother me too, but I can grit and bear that one. Thus, it makes it a little hard to fully get into doing forms. Weapons are generally easy, even if I'm not practicing it much. I've done all of it, many times before, just have to get the flow of the strike lines down better, but that's not hard. My sparring, is okay as long as my knee hold up during the bout. That was evident again on Wednesday. Today, I only went to board breaking class. I hadn't worked on my foot break yet, and at the 3rd try, I got it. It's a #3 jump front kick. (Hey, at least it's not a run-jump-front kick, although I think I could do that more easily than the run-jump-sidekick.) I think I'm in good shape.

So stuff we are going over is pretty bland for me right now. I actually wish I had some more challenging stuff to do. I know that once I hit 1st degree, I'll be doing the same form for 2 years, but that's okay, because each cycle there's something different going on with weapons and board breaks, so that will keep things interesting. But add the knee problem into the picture, and well, I'm not very motivated.

And I'm so not motivated at the moment that I'm debating whether I should even consider participating in the local tournament in a month or not. I doubt I'll have my whole form in good enough shape, especially with my bad stances. I thought about doing only weapons, which IS allowed. But I know Sandy didn't like that idea because she felt that somehow it wouldn't be fair. Well, I've thought about that, but ultimately, sorry, it's about what I feel most comfortable with, and what's "legal" to do. Yeah, I could go in and do a half-ass job on my forms, but why would I spend good money to do that? Weapons only takes 20 seconds. If I only did weapons, then I better the odds for the few people that do weapons for points, and additionally, if I stepped out of forms and sparring, I better the odds for those who can do better than me. I dunno. I'll be thinking about it right up until the event, I'm sure. I'm not going to sign up until I am sure, even if that's the night before. I guess it's just a "we'll see" thing for now.

So, I'm not taking any breaks completely, simply because I am SO close to getting my black belt, that I just can't stop now. I am now wishing that I had done Boot Camp this week, so I could have the summer off, since I wasn't working this week. But instead, I just stayed away for a while. I think I needed the break. I still need a break, but I don't think I can do that until this time next year, just due to both getting my black belt, and competition reasons (I can only compete as a 30-something black belt for less than a year, so might as well take advantage of that, then reassess.)

Dang knee. Darn burnout.

Friday, June 22, 2007

The ATA is missing out

Perhaps it did not succeed like they wanted or something, or perhaps it was too much trouble last year that they didn't do it this year, but they are not doing a simulcast of the ATA World Championship's Opening Ceremonies this year. I do plan to lodge a protest. I am not a world class competitor. I cannot afford to go to the live event, as much as I'd love to do so. However, (and Penelope will back me up on this one,) it was so cool last year to be able to watch the events of the evening online.


I had really been looking forward to it. ANd I can't find where to watch it ANYWHERE on the ATA website. I'm rather disappointed. I think if more people knew and watched it online, like me, even if they couldn't compete or make it there, it gets you fired up big time. But, I suppose that wasn't enough to do it this year.

I am NOT a happy camper.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Beating up on children....BWAHAHAHAHA!

Now, don't read that wrong. I'm against child abuse of any form! However, what the title of this post refers to is the ability I had tonight of practically wailing on two teenage girls that are old enough to be my daughters and already 1st degree BBs, and oops, almost enjoying it!

I was too lazy to go to regular class tonight, since we don't have morning classes for a few weeks. Between being tired and my bad knee acting up, I just wasn't going to risk two hours of a workout. One hour, perhaps, but not two. Due to a few local graduations, exams, people already out of town, there were only 5 of us in class. Two were the C sisters, and the other two were Ben P and his mom, Dr. Mrs. P. (his dad is Dr. Mr. P.)-- and me. We started out with these back stretches that were, well, just physically impossible for me. While I realize that my core muscles are not as strong as they should be, these exercises just put way too much strain on my back, so after a while, I was cheating because I just couldn't do them, properly or otherwise. There was a counter stretch that we did afterwards, which I believe was the equivalent of the "cobra" in yoga, which that was fine. I can do that.

We then worked on first sections and last section of my form. Or I should say, RA and I did. It was working out the little details. I can do my form, I'm just rusty. So at least with the first section, I had the correct stance, with correct weight and foot placement, and I had the hands just fine. I remembered the last section more or less, but just needed some tweaks with the hands. Forgot the the hands were crossed high spearhands, not close fisted, and my starting position of my hands before doing that on the right side weren't quite right, for whatever reason. But they were easy fixes.

Working on weapons was next. Reviewed the whole thing of SJB drills, and again, just had some tweaks. After all, I was just given the correct striking lines a week ago, so it was some small adjustments. Also had some adjustments throwing in some twirl in the swings back to starting position, but nothing that couldn't be handled. Since it was so easy, RA decided to teach me the "advanced" basic skills, which were a reverse figure 8 (okay, that one I have to figure out a little better), neck wraps, and lassoes. I'm not sure if there was another one or not, but other than the reverse figure 8s, I could do all of those. I'll be fine for testing in August for that part. I don't need to know the advanced stuff, but it doesn't hurt to learn it, since I'll have to learn them eventually anyway. I'm just not a big fan of SJBs, but heck, it's the main weapons that I think is used more than any other in the ATA. I'm a SN/BME/JB gal, but heck, we can't be all things to all people, right?

Board breaking-- learned a new break, and got it on the 2nd try! It's a back elbow, whereby you stand facing one way, and have to break a board behind you with, yes, you guessed it, your elbow. You reach out the hand you are breaking with with a fist, grab that hand with your other hand, take a step back with the foot of the same hand, and with a little back twist and momentum, CRACK! Part of my problem at first was that I was letting go of my fist when I threw the move. The other part of the problem was that being that I wear glasses, my peripheral vision is limited. I was told to twist around more to see my target, but then I felt too twisted around. The spot where I needed to see was just exactly the spot where my glasses weren't. Bleeh. Oh well. As I said, I still broke it on the 2nd try.

Then there was the sparring. I think yesterday's exercise in "deep pool diving", especially if I continue to do it, will help with my breathing capacity. Tonight, while I did get tired, I felt like I was on FI-YAH! The C girls didn't have a chance! The first round, we had to only use our kicking, and we could only use our hands to block, no punches. Well, since I've always worked on kick combinations, poor MC was just fending off and fending off, although she was throwing in some good kicks as well. She at least worked at it. Next round was only punches. Being the odd person out, I had to go up against RA, and he was giving me some pointers in helping me with punching only combos. He knows this is my weakness, and he pointed out that this is many people's weakness in TKD. So, I was getting some good info from that. You can guess what happened next. I went up against KC, and I think she was a little tired anyway, but I kept beating her back with both hand and foot combos, and kept having this look on her face of, "Could you please stop and have mercy on me, just for a minute?" I think she was worn, but she really wasn't going for it as much as she should. Between the two sisters, I believe that MC is more gung ho. That's fine. To each, their own. But other than sweating up a storm, and a slightly sore knee, I felt good. Yup, deep pool diving is going to help a lot. Having a new faceshield is a lot better too-- no fogging up, and I can breathe in it!

So overall, I'm feeling okay about what I have to do this cycle. The form is coming along, I have the first half of my board break figured out-- just have to get the practice time in, weapons just need some practice too, and I'm feeling, after tonight, that I'll get some good sparring come time for the tournament.

Gotta think of training for the tournament now! Tournament season has restarted this week with Worlds. If you get a chance, (and if I have this URL correct), you'll have to check out the opening ceremonies on Friday night of the World Championships. I watched it last year, and it was great! A little over the top, but great. SW is one of the coaches of the World Demo team, and I'm not sure if Em is still on the World Demo team or not. And I've seen most of those testing for those super high ranks, or at least I'm familiar with many of them.

The link is:

Have a good rest of the week! We'll see how Saturday morning goes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I'm just a spaz

While this will not sound like a TKD posting at first, trust me, it will be.

First, thought I would share that if you want to see some adorable photos of my kid (and why wouldn't you want to see them?), check out my regular blog here.

OK, that aside now, let's talk about swimming. What is that you say? This is a martial arts blog? I know. Just bear with me.

As some of you may or may not know, the home we moved into has its own in-ground swimming pool. It's taken us literally WEEKS-- almost a month, in fact-- for us to get it clear enough to start swimming. It was a total swamp when we opened it Memorial Day weekend. Now, Drew and JC (my DH) would be going into the pool a little more in the last week, at least on the shallow side, because Drew loves to swim, and JC's reasoning was that while we've dumped what seems like a literal ton of chemicals in the pool and filtered it regularly, whatever's left that needs filtering is still not as bad as going in the ocean. He has a point. So tonight, being that it was a hot day, and I hadn't gone swimming in quite a while, I figuratively and literally took the plunge. It was actually a little warmer in the pool than it was outside, as it was early evening/dusk time. We played with Drew, and I did get some swimming in. My nickname now is The Mermaid, as I was the one who had to go dive down to the bottom of the pool at least a few times to get things, and Drew thought that was cool.

In the process of playing and diving and swimming, there were some occasions that I would feel something cramp or I'd pull some muscle. OUCH! Well, I know swimming works every muscle, but man, I didn't think that under the circumstances that I'd be hurting in a few places. If anything, I thought being in the water would make some things easier. I did try to work on my form in the water (water resistance, after all, to help build up strength, etc.), but I couldn't remember it all (gotta work on that memorization). I will say that my breathing was better than I expected, but then again, I was pacing myself. Even diving down to the bottom of the pool wasn't bad, due to breath control. (No wonder I liked diving better than laps even as a kid!)

So here's the question that I'd like to throw out to my fellow martial artists: whether on land or "sea", what are some good stretches or exercises that can help me gain some more flexibility, especially in my hip rotators/joints? I feel like that's a big weakness for me now. And of course, the knee problems, etc. But the knees are a whole different ball of wax. I think if I can gain some more hip flexibility, in addition to working on stretching and strengthening my ham strings, my kicking would be much more fluid, stronger, and FIERCE! ;-)

Well, weather permitting, I'm going to try to get some more swimming in too. Helps with endurance if I can try to get laps in. And I'll continue to do my form in the pool still, so in case I come across any underwater Bionicles or other sea creatures, I'm ready! :-P

Saturday, June 16, 2007

1st Day of 1st degree recommended

Because of my new rank, I am now allowed to come to the 1st degree specialty classes on Saturdays instead of going to the color belt classes. Hooray! Even though there are kids in that class, they are usually a little older, and not as many, and not as goofy as the kids at color belt classes. However, that also means that instead of starting classes at 11:00 or 11:30 in the morning, I start at 9:00 AM. Okay, some of you might not think that's early in the morning, but for a Saturday for me, it is!

I overslept a little, and was able to quickly get ready, get dressed, grab a sandwich roll so I had something in my stomach, and run out the door. Got there, and was greeted by RA, GP and a younger 3rd degree instructor from Woodbridge, CS aka Sushi. (Yes, his nickname is actually Sushi. And no, he is not Japanese. He looks Hispanic, but his last name is what is being butchered to sound like Japanese cuisine.) So there were two other adults in my class. ES was there, the one who just got her black belt the other night, and Doug S, whose son is a black belt, so he comes at the same time as him, and since BB classes are smaller, they accomodate him even though he just got his camo belt (now in intermediate levels!). Sushi was to teach class. Oh boy. Now, Sushi, as mentioned, is a 3rd degree, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's about 20-ish. However, and I had heard this from Sandy as well as SW, he's one of those instructors who's very good BUT doesn't take into account anything for those of us who are over 35 and just can't do it like a barely 20 year old 3rd degree. All three of us adults have our strengths and weaknesses, and SW and her staff usually can accomodate us "elders", as we all work hard, but we might not have the flexibility or stamina, for example. SW's partner, BB, as well as Sushi, don't take those things into account at all, and so they try to drive us the same as the under 12 group, and that just ain't going to happen.

Today was supposed to be a "fun" day, as it's the weekend after graduation, but it wasn't fun. It wasn't bad, but fun? Not exactly. Work? Oh yes. We did several drills at breakneck speed. One sounds simple enough, but it didn't come easily for either ES or myself, as we were partnered up. It was doing a front kick and axe kick on a pad without putting your foot down in between. Simple enough in concept. Both of us can certainly do each of those kicks separately, but together sequentially? It wasn't happening, even for me who is usually very good with kicks. For me, it was a matter of losing my balance easily (which I don't normally do), and my knees, especially my bad one, giving me problems. I also think that by the time we had gotten to this drill, we had worked so hard that we were exhausted, so to manage that kind of combination was just, well, hard. This is not to say that I'm not up to the challenge, but throughout the class, he's having each of us raise the pad higher than we really can go. RA would say go ahead and lower it, but we said we couldn't because we'd be afraid that Sushi would get after us. :-S See, RA understands. He can keep up with the 20-something and younger, but he does understand about the aches and pains and struggles of getting older, as well as starting a martial art when you are a lot older.

Things started going from bad to worse when we had to do these running drills whereby we had to first run and do a jump sidekick against a bag, then same thing over an obstacle, then do a jump side-reverse jump side (no coming down-- all one movement) over an obstacle. WHAT? IS HE INSANE? Okay, for the kids that was fine. For me, not fine. For ES and Doug, not fine either. I was first in line, and I ran and approached the obstacle (a large pad), and stopped in my tracks, because I've done this type of kick before, and I landed badly and really injured my bad knee as a result trying to keep up with the boys (or I should say the men, who at the time of the injury were all 2nd and 3rd degree jock guys...and me in the class). I could tell the obstacle was clearly way too far for me to clear it even with the jump side alone, so I screeched to a halt and moved it about 6 inches closer. Then I backed up, and attempted the double kick, but couldn't execute it. ES was next in line, and forget it! By the time Doug got up there, we were removing the obstacle. For a camo belt, a 1 BR and a 1 BD all who are much older, it was the better thing to do. We still had a hard time doing it without the obstacle, but at least we had a better shot of doing the task. It was ugly.

We finally got split into groups, and Doug and I got personal instruction, being that we were the only ones that weren't 1BDs. I got to work with Ben P, always a favorite kid instructor of mine, and since I've done the form before, but it hasn't been since last August/September, we reviewed the form. (See Chung Jung #2 in the post before this-- the 2nd video). Ben told me just to tell him where to stop in the form to review and go over it. I felt that there was a certain point in the form that was good to stop, and he said that was about halfway through the form, so that was good. I'm going to review the first half of the form over the next week or so, as I know I'll be WAY ahead of a lot of people. However, I have to have the whole form down in a month for the July 21 tourney, so I have to get cracking. I think Ben was surprised that I was able to get as far as I did, and even tell him about how the remaining section had a reverse hook kick that I remembered that I didn't like. So I felt pretty good with that. I want to get the memorization down pretty quickly so that I can work on the fine points sooner. We did a few more drills, and then we were done.

OH MY GOSH. I haven't worked that hard in a while! I mean, it wasn't that bad, I wasn't out of breath, just a little tired and worn. And here's the kicker-- it was only a half hour class! I was literally dripping with sweat that I could feel the sweat rolling down my face. Now, it's not that I don't sweat when I work out normally, even with the dripping kind (not to gross anyone out), but this was more than usual. I think I defintely burned off that breakfast roll quickly!

The next half hour was the forms class for 2nd and 3rd degrees, so I got a break, went to the convenience store next door, and got a tomato juice. I figured that I'd rehydrate with something healthy, at least! Weapons class was next, and again Sushi was teaching the main part. We had to do these drills whereby we would do triangle strikes with the SJBs (yes, I'm back down to doing singles again, thankfully!), and we'd have to lunge forward and move around the circumference of the mats in the process. Well, guess what, buddy, no can do with the bum knee. So, I just bent as much as I could, but did the striking moves normally. We then split into groups again-- 1st degrees with Sushi to learn the form, and then RA worked with Doug, myself, and a little kid who was also a 1BR like me. The only thing I really wasn't sure about was the how the striking lines were done with a single SJB, but I got it down. Piece of cake. It's just a matter of practicing it now. That will help since I'll be concentrating more on the form for the next few weeks due to the tourney, and I don't have to do SJB for the tourney-- I can use my award winning kama/SN routine for that instead. (Although I'll have to practice that soon enough too, just to keep it fresh.) And the next testing isn't until at least August, so no rush in getting the weapons form for SJB down quickly. Yes, I still have a midterm test to do, which involves that SJB and me knowing CJ#2. The "Final" in October is knowing CJ#2, the single BME drills, and sparring, so that won't be bad at all. Oh, and the new board break which I haven't tried either part of it yet. But I'm pretty confident about those right now. I'm pretty sure I'll be okay with them, once I try them.

And thus went my first class as a 1BR student. :-)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

To put things in perspective, thank goodness for YouTube

I have to tell you, I love You Tube. It's not like I get on there all the time, but sometimes you can find a real gem. It looks like a 5th degree owner from California has put most of the forms on YT, and while I know that there's the official DVDs/videos that show the forms from the ATA, these are done by this fellow instead. I thought I'd share what I did last night. (If you didn't see the long, play by play story below, go there now.)

This is In Wha #2, which is normally the blue belt form.

Now, for what I have (again) for the next few months to do to perfection for my black belt testing in October:

Sandy has the latter of these two forms down so well, as she's done it for ages, that she could probably do it in her sleep hanging upside down! (Right, Sandy?)

That's just to put into a little bit of perspective what I had to do last night, and what I will have to do for the next testing. Yikes!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

My first bootleg rank

Tonight was testing/graduation. Hmm...where to begin? Ah yes, at the beginning. A very good place to start.

It actually started before my actually testing time. The testing before mine was HUGE and running over. SW asked me to come help hold boards for some of the kids breaking for rank. At one point, once little boy was doing a double break, and granted SW said he was a little nervous, and all I said after he did a practice try was, "Is the board where you want it?" or something to that effect, and SW snaps at me and says that only one person should be talking to him. I understand her point, but GAWD. I was only trying to be helpful. All the kid had to say is "no", meaning I didn't have to move it, but HECK, I didn't have to get yelled at. After a little bit, she relieved me of duty, as "I had to break later", like that really mattered. I don't know if she was still pissed at me or what. My reaction in my head was WTF, but of course, around a lot of children, and especially in front of her, I wasn't going to protest. But I wasn't happy.

So, I go off to stretch and everything, and that was fine. Socialize with everyone else while waiting for the other thing to end. Just blow it off, I tell myself. Don't hang onto that anger and getting shook up at being yelled at in front of a whole school. So, our testing was a lot smaller, thankfully. SW asked if anyone else had to go first, as evidentally it's exam week for some of the schools. I raised my hand in an attempt to get done early, even though I'm surely not in high school. It was kind of a joke, but at least I tried! SW caught on, and said, "Um, I don't think so. Nice try, Mrs. V."

I got through my form okay. I semi-blanked, but not enough to have a major stall in the form. I had to do it with a teenager, and I think I was doing it faster than him, but then again, I've done this form before, he hadn't. Got through that, and so that was done.

My weapons form was a joke and a half. I did the double ssahng je bahng (numchakas), and oh my golly it was BAD. I mean, technically, I could've just skipped weapons, as I'm not required to do it until 1st degree recommended. But hey, I've just won a state championship IN weapons, so I figured that I couldn't get away with not doing it at all. Bugger.

So this is how I did my routine (in the best description that I can do):
1) Triangle with release moves, each hand at a time,
2) crossing figure 8s, then the flick out together, then roll both back up,
3) Drill number 1 (double Vs between legs twice), Drill number 2 (same flip, but legs closed and the tucks are under the armpits, twice), and Drill #3 (bring the SJBs together, legs separated and swing together to the left under and back up, same to the right, then separate the SJBs to a V and roll back, and one of Drill #2),
4)momemtarily panic in my head of "what do I do now?", so I do this think like the Drill #2, but the hands are alternating instead of doing the move at the same time, and I walk backwards as I'm doing this (I've seen a similar move done by 2nd degrees who have it in their DSJB form) as I was getting a little too close to those who were sitting on the side awaiting their turn, and it was a means of getting out of the way. I realize that I should be finishing up, so I finally get to
5) a quick jump helicopter move, gather up both to "fold" the SJBs, and stab with one of them.

OH MY GOSH. It was PATHETIC!! But, I did it, it was the last freestyle that I could do for testing for a while, and I got through it.

Sparring was a non event. I went up against ES, who is one of the 50-somethings who takes the Wednesday morning classes with me, and she was getting her 1st degree tonight. I tell you, for a gal who is WAY out of practice with sparring, since it was "non-contact" sparring, I would have whooped her butt, and taken her name! (Man, it's so much more fun to spar Sandy. At least she's feisty and punches like hell!) One thing is for sure though. ES, being that she was going for her black belt, should've theoretically been throwing a lot of combinations at me. Instead, it was me throwing a lot of double and triple kicks combos with a few punches. (Can you tell that I really feel ready to go for my BB?). Victoria was managing the sparring, and when I was done, she told me NOT to unsuit from my gear. I mentioned that I was breaking boards later, and would she be concerned that I would be too tired? RA, fortunately heard, and agreed with me, and told her to use someone else as the extra later, someone who wouldn't be breaking. Got off the hook with that one! Although I think under different circumstances, I could've gone another round.

Finally, it was time for board breaks. Crap. OK, two guys went first, as they were both breaking for rank (2BR and 2BD), so they had to have two boards held together for each station, and fortunately, both broke on first tries. Then ES went with her breaks, and she got them. Then it was my turn. Deep breath. RA goes to get the wood, and I ask him to pick some nice boards, since I couldn't pick them myself. So, I go about setting up the boards. For some reason, most people set up their boards close up to the mirrors, where you are almost on top of other people. Me, I practice far away from the mirrors, to give myself some breathing space! Now, the mats in our do-jahng (dojo) have star stickers every few feet so that the kids know where to stand and be evenly spaced from each other. I parked on top of a star, so I knew where my spot was. I set up for the palm heel break, and RA starts to set up my board from the roundkick in the wrong place, because he forgot that I was doing my kick from the opposite side as everyone else. He also set it up too far away! I mean, I have long legs, but not THAT long. After getting him a little closer and angled better, I just took a deep breath, and without doing a practice really (other than placing the boards), bowed in, took another deep breath, and went for that palm heel break. I'm pretty sure I kihap'd with that one, but oh yeah, it broke. I wasn't worried about that break. And then there was the roundkick break. Since I was pretty sure that I had the positioning right, I just took a very quick moment to remind myself to follow through by aiming at the head of whomever was the farthest away in holding the board. So I did just that. But I did, in taking my brief step back to set up, take another deep breath and kicked. To be honest, I don't know if I kihap'd or not, but BAM! Just like the palm heel break, it broke with a very loud bang, or rather CRRRACK!


OH THE RELIEF! It was over with, I didn't have to worry anymore. I passed on the first try, no re-tries. When I went back to sit on the sidelines, I had my own little cache of groupies that were cheering me, which was really cool. It's nice to know that these are my friends, and that they support me as much as they do. I sat down to high fives and hugs, which was cool. I didn't see that happen with ES as much.

When I was called up to get my belt, it was very cool to have my same cheering section cheering for my new rank, which I did work hard to get, considering that this cycle was all whacked out. When I received my belt, SW asked me, "Okay, so are you going to tell Sandy, or am I?" I told her that I would tell her about the evening. (HI SANDY!! :-P) I returned again with high fives. After we were dismissed, I was greeted by more high fives. RA took extra time to congratulate me, and told me that he knew I could do it. Winnie gave me a hug! Just compliments all around that they were pretty powerful, impressive breaks. I also showed the preliminary break for the next rank to RA, and he said that when I did my kick, it was well above head level, and he said, "Oh yeah, the next one is going to be easy for you." So that's encouraging.

What started on a sour note ended on a high note. So now I'm in what some of the kids call a bootleg rank. On the competition level, I'm still considered a color belt. But in most respects, I am a first degree black belt now-- recommended. I actually get the black belt in hand when I test for "decided" rank, which is not for 2 more cycles, or 4 1/2 more months (October, by my estimations). I am now entitled to go to the black belt classes now on Saturdays instead of those dreaded color belt classes at least! Some perks come with it, at least. And now Sandy doesn't outrank me anymore. (It was only for a week or so, but at least we are now at the same level again.)

Whew! Saturday will be "fun classes", and next week, we begin on the next phase, as most likely I'm competing in July -- as a color belt-- and have to do the form that comes with it, so I have to get cracking. I still remember the first section and some other parts. I think it'll come back to me more quickly than some other forms.

Until then....

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I have to do what, when?

So, due to having an interview in the morning, I had to do a double class tonight of regular class time and instructor class time, since I was making up the morning class AND there are no classes on Saturday due to the ATA school picnic (which I can't attend this year because of my BIL graduation from college).

The first class was fine. Just doing warm up drills, and then we did practice graduation. There were two girls who had signed up a few months ago, but then had put their classes on hold due to other school activities, and are now restarting. Now, yes, they are only just really starting now, and they are white belts, but MAN. Talk about uncoordinated! I mean REALLY uncoordinated! And they didn't seem to, well, have it together. I know they go to a school for kids that are learning different, and I can say this because my kid IS learning different, but man, they were SLOW to catch on. So between being highly uncoordinated and slow, well, all I can say is that they have a long road ahead of them. And good for them for trying something new that's not easy. I was glad that after some of the warmups, where they really weren't catching on even though some of it was very basic stuff (like just to a straight leg kick to warm up) that they were separated out from the rest of us, so we could not be slowed down. That sounds awful that I'm not that patient, because I know I appreciated it when others were patient with me, but then again, I understood how to do a straight leg kick from the get-go, at least.

So as we are practicing, I realized a few things. First, I really need to watch that DVD of my form. I know it, and found that if I didn't take my time, I did a better job. However, I'm still making a few mistakes with little half-steps and such to get me going in the right direction, as those little half steps are actually part of the form. Oops. Well, then again, it's not like I've been getting a heckuva lot of help. Second, I really need to practice my weapons routine. SJBs are not my forte in weapons, and so to do doubles, as I've said before, well, I'm just torturing myself. I know more or less what I want to do, but I really need to practice so I actually DO what I intend, not goof up and do something cockamamie. Even if it's a freestyle, it shouldn't look stupid if you can help it!

I also found out tonight that I didn't need to just break for permission to test tonight. I thought that was all I had to do, and I'd do it tonight, and get it over with. Oh no. I was informed that because I'm testing for "rank" (even though it's not a full belt, I guess going for 1BR/1st degree Black recommended, that's testing for rank), I actually have to break AT TESTING. Well, I've never done THAT before. Yikes! I can tell you this, however-- I am glad I am breaking with a palm heel/roundkick combination for rank instead of the elbow/run-jump-sidekick! I got the ugly one out of the way, so you can say that I chose wisely! WHEW!! Had I known that before, I would've made the same choice, but not knowing, I'm glad I did what I did! Fortunately, these breaks I have to do aren't bad. In regular class, I got both boards on the first try. At instructor class, where we had another practice, I got the palm heel break with no problem, but as I was throwing the roundkick, I just totally blanked out from what I was doing. I got it on the second pop easily. Just have to slow down a little, or instead of the usual "don't think", at least with the roundkick, I need to think a little bit!

Just some tweaking that I have to make some time to do, but I'm not worried about making rank to 1BR. After this, then I'll be working on CJ#2 again, and having to get it ready big time for a tournament this summer. I'll have to practice my kama routine again to keep it fresh, because why do something else when this routine wins, right? Don't fix it if it ain't broke! Just need to get through next week, and then I'll be fine. I'm not really worried about this testing, even though I have to break boards in front of EVERYBODY. I can break them pretty easily, so I'm not worried. I'm used to having to get up and do my form by myself and stuff like that, so this is no different. Just concentrate on where to place my boards, breathing and follow through. That's it. Making that switch to my left foot from my right for the kick really has made the difference. posting...most likely will be after the completion of getting my first real "rank" testing out of the way!