Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Now I'm REALLY getting lazy, kind of.

Well, while I had a week off from work due to the "fun camp", I was going to go to classes tonight. I didn't have my usual Wednesday morning class, but as everyone knows, I've been bored, so my plan was to go to Instructor class as usual, and then go to classes on Saturday.

Guess who's not at instructor class?

I wasn't in the mood anyway, but I was going to force myself to go, just to keep everything fresh. But right after dinner, I fell down the stairs. We live in a split level house, and the level between the kitchen and the family room is about 5/6 stairs. I was going down quickly and misjudged that I still had another step -- maybe two-- to go on my way down. Instead, I went CRASHING down, skinning my knee on the hardwood floor, chipping part of my big toe's toenail, and twisting my knee and ankle in the process. It's not too bad, but when it first happened, yikes! Oh, and did I mention that this was my GOOD knee? Yeah, it figures. So, I made the executive decision, since it's still a little tender, not to go to class, as I could just see me agitating it more when it probably needs a night of rest. If I went to class, I probably wouldn't be able to walk tomorrow! (I still might not, but at least I'm not making it worse!) When I told JC of my decision, he agreed, as he tried to catch me in my fall, but it happened too fast. :-(

So, I haven't been to instructor class in two weeks. I think this is a record. I will still try to make it on Saturday. Hopefully this will be better by then. I can't goof off too much, simply because testing is in 3 weeks, and I can't slouch too much. We finally made our vacation plans, so I'll already be missing a week at the end of the month (unless I can figure out if there's an ATA in Myrtle Beach, and actually decide to go to classes, lugging my gear ALLLLLLL the way there. That's something to think about...) I feel a bit lazy, but this time it is a mild injury that was non-TKD related, but could affect TKD big time. We'll see. Maybe this was meant to be, since I've been so bored lately.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Watching from the sidelines

Well, this past Saturday was the NJ Summer Tournament. It was one of the closest tournaments - geographically, that is-- to me yet, and I didn't do it. Any regrets? Not really. I was rather tired from the workout at Pennington the night before. Gary taught class, and I hadn't taken his. He said he was going easy since Sandy and our friend Kathy were competing the next day. (Kathy had come down from NY state.) It was nice not having the pressure of having to remember my form, or worry about my knee, which is certainly acting up. I had taken it easy on Friday with my knee, but I swear the knee brace I have isn't working anymore, or not as well as it used to. Bleeh.

But anyway, I got to the gym where it was being held just as the color belt adults were being called to line up. For the first time as long as I can remember, they were actually called on TIME, which was amazing, so I had gotten there just in time. They were assigned to a ring almost immediately. There were about 9 or 10 women in my ring, which is still a little bigger than usual. I sat near the judges, so I could see things fom their perspective rather that from the sides or back of the ring. In general, it was amazing to watch it with different eyes. Both Kathy and Sandy were very good, as well as maybe one or two other people. Otherwise, it was generally a mediocre bunch. I watched forms go by me, and I knew them all, and yet the ones who placed SHOULD have placed. They didn't just walk through their forms, but rather did them as if they were in a fight, with some power behind each move, as they should do it. If it was a matter of just walking through it, oh yeah, I could've competed, but it wouldn't have been worth it. I'm one of the "power" forms people too, and I knew my form wasn't in shape to compete against what I saw. Close, but not enough. In that category, Kathy got 3rd, I believe, and Sandy got 2nd.

In weapons, it was different. there were only about 5 or 6 who were doing it, and of them, one was doing SN (Sandy), one person was doing BME, and the rest were doing JB. Well, Sandy kicked butt in that category, and I'm happy that I was able to help with that one. There was no question that she would win that one. Looking at the video later, I think there are places that we can tighten it up more, but otherwise, it was MILES away from any of the other routines. I believe Kathy got 2nd place, and she was one of the JB'ers, but even with that, it was clear that she was the only JB'er that truly had control of her weapon. One woman just kept spinning her JB, and hit herself in the face once or twice (once really hard), and hitting herself in the leg a few times. It was rather sad to watch, but at least she tried.

Sparring was par for the course. The woman who hit herself in the face with her JB won sparring. Sandy was out pretty early, but at least she lost her round by only 1 point. I can't remember how Kathy did, but I think she may have placed-- possibly even 2nd. Anyway, it's easier to watch sparring than to do it sometimes. One thing is for sure-- even just watching, I know that I'm still not that good at sparring, or even reading what kind of moves people are going to do. Gary was doing that in class, and I suck at that. Oh well. Good thing I wasn't competing!

After the whole thing was done, we stuck around for a little bit to watch the only adult color belt doing XMA. Turns out it was the gal who hit her head with her JB. Her stereo equipment wasn't working, but she did her forms and weapon stuff without the music. Of course she got 1st place simply for showing up in the event, but Sandy and I watched her closely. Let me tell you-- both of us felt that either of us could do better than this chick just improvising on the spot! Now, there is a rule that you have to do your traditional stuff in order to compete in XMA, and that's fine. Between Sandy's juggling and my dance background, either of us could do better. We thought it was really, um, obnoxious, that this gal was like, oh, well join me next time, and you could get 2nd place. I think we both raised our eyebrows at that one, and both thought, "Yeah, that's what you think, chickie!", especially after watching. Supposedly it would've made more sense if you heard the music, but I don't think it matters. XMA isn't necessarily about doing the gymnastics-- it's all about showmanship and style. Speaking for myself, I know I've got that! So, XMA is much more in my mind now than ever, knowing there is competition out there, and she's not very good-- at least that chick. Sandy, well, she's got the juggling stuff going for her, so that WOULD be good competition. Hmm...I'll still have to think about the DE tourney in September.

I saw plenty of people I knew, who were all surprised to see me in civilian clothes and not competing. I just explained that I needed a break and the knee was acting up, and they were supportive. It's nice to know I have TKD friends!

So, that's what's going on. There's no morning class this week, as they have fun day camp this week. Drew is going. They do TKD in the morning, and yesterday, he wasn't that into it, but SW was okay with that. I don't know. Drew sometimes likes it, and sometimes doesn't. I think in his mind, he's going to be stuck doing the same stuff, and he doesn't realize totally that he's bumped up that he'd be learning new material finally. I don't know. I'm hoping that by the end of the week, he might be interested in starting up again. We'll see.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Assistant Choreographer and happy to be on the sidelines

In my quest to back off from the intensity that I've put myself through in the last year or so, I've mentioned that I'm skipping competition in this summer's NJ tournament. I'll be "official photographer" for my group, nonetheless, and I can still check out the competition this way. ;-)

In the meantime, I took class this morning, although I'm not taking it tonight. SW is on vacation, and it's just a regular class instead of an instructor class, so I don't feel I'll be missing anything. I asked MZ if we could work on board breaks a little, since I really haven't been doing it, and Sandy also said she needed to work on it. Winnie, as usual, felt that she didn't need to, and spent a good portion of class yacking away at stuff. After doing some sparring drills and intense warmups (oh, I was feeling the burn--I got scorched!), we worked on the board breaks. I went first. Since it was "foot week", appropriately enough, I wanted to work on my jump front. What was funny was that because of my height and having to break at head level, MZ and Sandy stood on a bench so they could better place the board and not have to be reaching up! LOL Sandy said she enjoyed being "tall" for those few moments. Then Sandy worked on her break, which is a reverse jump side kick. She seems to have the break down for the most part, and is just fine tuning it. Problem is, that seems to be a more complicated break than she needs to do. For her 1BD break, it's her choice, and here it's being chosen for her. I also heard from either her or MZ that the orange belts were learning some sort of break that was WAY too complicated for them that they really shouldn't be doing over at Pennington. Oh well. I think the guilty instructors who are doing that will have that bite them in the butt soon enough. But Sandy got to break with an orange board rather than her blue, so that was good. Her graduation is next week, whereas ours is still another month away. So she outranks me by just a tiny bit. Oh well.

Afterwards, we worked on forms. Mine is fine for now. I'm not too worried about it. I have it memorized more or less, and I'm not under any pressure. So then we got to work on weapons. Ah, this is where it got more fun. Now that I'm not competing, Sandy felt better about doing a kama routine, which is fine by me. She could've done one before, but she felt that she didn't want to do the same thing, which is her choice. So, she showed me what she was thinking about doing, and asked for some suggestions on things to add or modify. I taught her the 4-way cut, and how to do that with a spin, and what I call the "Zimmerman move", which is my XMA trick which she always liked. Sandy also is able to do some moves that are similar to double BME drills at one part, and she also is a former juggler so she's throwing in some stuff there too which is highly "razzle dazzle", as we like to call it. Once we put some of our collective ideas together, I think she has a wickedly good routine, so I think she might just get first for weapons on this one. If she doesn't, I think we'll both be surprised.

I'm really alright with not competing this time. Yes, the slate is clean now for the new season, and so just even having a low ranking win would put me on the boards. But my mental health is worth a lot more than me having a state championship. I have one now, and that's cool. Maybe in a few months, I'll go get myself on the radar for one last color belt competition in DE, but then I'll concentrate on doing 1st degree stuff for my last year of being 30-something. Then I'll have to work on 1st degree stuff as a 40 something this time next year. :-S (Yes, even before I actually turn 40!) There's a time and place, and for me, it's not right now.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Once a champion, always a champion

I know that title sounds a little snobbish, perhaps, but it's about what I decided to do today. I finally made the decision that as much as I finally have another tournament that is practically in my backyard, I'm not going to compete. While I have the basics of the whole form down, to truly get it into competition shape in less than a week just ain't gonna happen. And yes, I could still go and compete, but in thinking about it, first of all, why waste the entry money when I know that I'm not going in prepared? Yes, I could compete in weapons and sparring fine, in theory, but it's the form that is the crux of it all, and that just doesn't make sense. Second, related to that, it wouldn't be fair to the judges and other competitors to waste their time with me doing a half-ass job while they are keeping up a high level of competition, especially those competing have been practicing and such. No, that's not fair to them. Let them truly compete and not waste their time as well. While it'd probably improve their odds because I wouldn't do well, it's not worth that. The other thing is that my knee is bothering me a bit. It's not worth it to me to agitate it right now. There are too many things going on that to have to have surgery or even be limping a lot would not be good right now. Just all the way around, it didn't make sense.

However, I am still going. I had already made the decision anyway, but I wanted to go support Sandy, as I know she is still competing anyway, and an ATA friend we've made (more Sandy than myself), Kathy R., is coming down from NY to compete, so we are hanging out at the Pennington ATA the night before, and then I'll cheer them on the next day. I've also been dubbed "official" photographer for the event for them, and that's fine with me! I don't mind. I still get to go, and knowing what to look for, that will help vs. an "amateur". I'm known for some good candid shots! If I only had a better camera...

I'm a little disappointed, mostly in myself. I think this is part of the burnout too. It's been advised that I need to take a break, and perhaps this is part of the break. This way, I'm not putting as much pressure on myself. I am weapons state champ for my current category right now (hence, "once a champion, always a champion"), and nobody can take that away from me. They can qualify as the 2008 champion, but I'm the 2007 champion. ;-) I'm disappointed in myself that I haven't pushed myself harder to be ready. In many ways, I am ready. But again, I don't need the stress right now, especially with non-TKD things in my life being much more stressful. You have to pick your fights, and fighting with myself to do phenominally (or at least my absolute best) at TKD competition is not one of them right now.

Still want to get the black belt done ASAP. But taking this off my plate should help. There's another tourney in DE in late September. Perhaps things will calm down by then for me to do that. For now, this is what I have to do. There is a certain element of guilt from my heart, but my head is telling me not to feel that way.

There are PLENTY of people who get their black belts and NEVER compete, and they are perfectly happy with that. There's no reason that I can't be happy with that too. Perhaps I will wait a while, and just start competing later when I become a black belt instead. I'm sure I'd have a shot at color belt stuff for the short amount of time I have left in the category, but my time as a 30-something 1st degree is going to be much shorter, and perhaps I should relax, and regather myself to make the most of the season in that capacity instead. And I can be okay with that.

So, just like how I have to approach my "outside" life these days, I just have to take things one day at a time.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Not fun anymore.

I dunno. While some of you who read this may disagree with what I'm about to say, I have to say it. I'm not having fun in TKD anymore. One might say, "Oh, you're not supposed to have fun. You are there to learn something serious, after all, defense arts and physical exercise and pushing your psyche to the limit as well as your body," or something like that.

Well, I admit, that's all true, but sorry-- you don't do something like that because you have to or because it's serious. You do it because you enjoy it, and enjoying it means it's fun for you, even if it's a serious subject. Heck, brain surgery is fun for those who know how to do it and have had the training. It's what they like, it's what they enjoy, they like the challenges, and thus, even though brain surgery is probably one of the most serious and stressful jobs in the world, I'm sure that a lot of them, when you present it like this, would say their job is fun.

Now, speed over to me. No, I'm no expert at TKD. Heck, for all intensive purposes, I'm in the limbo land. Black Belt recommended, but still a color belt. I'm doing a form that I've done before. I'm trying to cram in the memorization of the form in, and I will admit, I'm not practicing as much as I should, simply because I'm bored and my knees aren't holding up well to do the form the way it should be done. Weapons, which now count in testing, (up until now it was all brownie points,) are pretty boring as well, as all I'm doing are drills that I could do before I even got to this level, and whatever I didn't know I picked up in one class. The same thing, more or less, will be happening in the next cycle too. The only challenge I have in learning anything new would be figuring out how to do all this without my knees hurting. I'm sure there's room for improvement, but I'm just not up to it right now. The problem is that I'm SOOOOO close to this black belt. I need to push myself through. And yet, I need a break.

I'm also at a point where I'm not happy being there either. I enjoy a lot of the people, but my own main instructor is getting on my nerves. It extends beyond the class setting too, since I know her also in the school business setting.Her less than desirable points are starting to grate on me. I keep my mouth shut to her, because she gives me a lot of breaks, and she is generally a good instructor, so I don't want to lose that.

Things have been very stressful at home as well. If you wan the gory details, you can check out my regular blog. While my instructor/boss has been understanding, and in many respects has given me some assistance with this, allowing Drew to enter her camp at the last minute and such, allowing Drew to come to work with me, etc. she still expects me to read her mind, sometimes will still treat me like a kid (I might be a color belt, but I'm her age!), and with some things she's done and said recently, I think it's all just built up. I don't need that. I put up with it, but I don't need that. I've been even tempted to jump ship and go to the school HER instructor runs, since it IS closer to me now, but I haven't. I'm not that kind of person. It's either to my credit or my personal liability that I'm like that.

Training is going okay, I guess. It's still memorization of my form, and I mostly have it, and like I said, just need to practice. Haven't done board breaks in ages. Oh well. There's really not much to say. The morning class today generally went well. Having Michelle teach is good, and Sandy's coming more regularly, and even Karla came today, and I enjoy their company in class very much. Then again, their my friends, so of course I would. Tonight's instructor class was a true instructor class, and generally it went well. Not much to say about that.

You know that song, "Gotta Get Through This" by Daniel Bedingfield? Yeah, that's my TKD theme song right now. (And yes, if I ever did XMA, I have considered doing that song for a routine.)