Thursday, September 27, 2007

Breaking the pattern of failure

Well, as you saw in my last post, a milestone has been made. I got to change my break for my black belt testing, which is not done often, and so far, it seems to be the better choice. But first, a slight rewind...

Okay, I think I mostly already talked about the morning class from yesterday, so I'll continue with the rest of the day. It's a lot when you are at the school for the majority of the day, and you are not even an instructor! After returning later after work, I was here for 3 classes-- one for Drew, and 2 for myself. I forgot my knitting so that I had something to do, so I ended up watching most of his class. He did have two small meltdowns which I was able to handle. The first was where SW wanted some more orderly conduct of all the students, whereby she didn't want anyone running on or off the mats to enter or exit class. She wanted her last class to exit the mats completely before Drew's class could walk on, and that's WALK, not run. Drew was closest to her, and she got a little stern with him, but it wasn't anything major, and it didn't apply ONLY to him. Well, he took it personally, and I had to get him back in, explaining that she was telling everyone, and only happened to stop him because he was closest to her, etc. He went back in, and was fine for a while until they were doing "suicide drills", which is where the kids have to run to another kid holding a pad, and they have to kick up their knees for 30 seconds, then run to the other side of the room, where yet another kid would be holding a pad to do 30 seconds of punches, then they'd have to go to the center of the room and do pushups and mountain climbers, and keep going until the instructor told the kids to switch. It's really exhausting, but I think Drew got out of the pattern and started to meltdown because he didn't want to do a part that he was told to do again. So, I had him come over, and gave him the option of a) going right back into class, or b) taking a 2 minute break, but then had to go right back in. He sighed and said, "Okay," and went right back in, and was fine for the rest of class as far as I knew. I had to start my 2nd class of the day while he was sparring, and his dad brought him home afterwards. But I did hear SW throw out two compliments to Drew while sparring, so I think he was fine after that. He really does like sparring, and he is pretty good at it for his age. He's not afraid to get in there. In the last 24 hours, he's also rediscovered the Power Rangers, so some of that is coming back into play, for better or worse. :-S

My second class generally went okay. It's nice when there's another adult (and a tall guy, at that) to do drills with, as he's about as limber (or lack thereof) as I am, even though he's a higher rank. Working with the kids is hard sometimes, because unless they are teenagers the same size as me, they can't handle the power that I put behind a kick or punch. Anyhow, when we broke up into groups for practicing forms, I was put with a green belt, since we are doing the same form. This would normally not be a problem, but I had to teach a segment. Actually, that wasn't the problem either, although I cannot attest to my teaching abilities. The student was exceptional, as in she was more the exception than the rule. The reason? I believe JJ has been diagnosed with Asperger's or she's somewhere on the autistic spectrum. I know she's been in special abilities classes as it is. Well, I usually don't have a problem with working with an SA kid. I've always loved working with the Downs kids who were in class because they are just so cute and willing to learn, and somehow I am able to connect with them. But the ones who can't always make the connection as fully are much harder. I did my best to slow things down, and give her examples, and do the steps with her. Every person, abled or differently abled, has a different way of learning. My problem was that I really didn't understand her way of learning, and SW had to step in to correct me once or twice in how to work with JJ. For example, in trying to show her how to do a back horizontal elbow, I started using the example of elbowing someone like her brother as if to say, "Back off, bro!". Well, she didn't like that, and her mom (thank goodness) explained that JJ doesn't like to think of hitting her brother. Okay, let's think of another way...okay, the door is stuck, and you have to bang it open with your elbow. Her mom seemed to think that was a better example. SW stepped in and just counted the steps out. :-S Oh well. Like I'd know that's what's best for JJ? Exactly. Any other kid, I think they would've understood the analogies. At least another one I did use to teach JJ the segment we had for last night was showing the platter of cookies or serving the pizza. When teaching what was supposed to be a reverse hook kick (the one I struggle with in the form a bit due to my own balancing issues), I just taught her a reverse side instead. She doesn't do a lot of stuff perfectly anyway, and the concept behind the reverse sidekick is the same as the hook, just more simplified. SW was okay with that. I apologized to SW for not doing as well as probably either of us liked, but she said it was fine, and that's how you learn, and with JJ, it is a little different, so I felt a little better. When we all did board breaks, since it's technically hand week, and I'm working on two kicks for testing, I just pulled out my plastic board, and decided, okay, let me practice another break I haven't done in a while. So AS held the board on his own (successfully I might add), and I did a knifehand break. Did it on the first try. :-) I've still got it! Sparring was exhausting, but I had some good partners, including JJ, EL and WU, which were all good matches for me for the night.

Instructor class was fine. I was the only regular employee there, so there was no meeting afterwards, but there was a good review of S#2 and the one-steps, and drills with those, then we worked on our own material. As you can imagine, working on my own on my form again was a little better since I could go at my own pace, but still tiring. I also working on my BME drills, which I have down pretty well. KC, one of "my girls" (the twins), helped me review my BME blocks to make sure I was doing them correctly if there was an actual opponents vs. just doing them in the air like in drills, to ensure I was doing them right, which helped. When it came to board breaking, I got the chance to work on this new board break combination again. We set up for the round kick, and no problem-- it broke on the first try. The reverse side break took two tries this time, but that's okay. Considering I had just learned it that morning, I thought that was pretty darn good. I also examined my boards. Both were as close down the middle as you could probably get, so I was happy. As I said yesterday, my confidence is surely restored, and I feel like NOW I can go to testing and not feel like there's a chance to fail. I was really quite fearful of this, to the point that I didn't know if I wanted my family to come and watch. If I broke, then great, but if I didn't, humiliation all the way around. That won't happen now. We get three chances to break the boards, so if I can easily break the roundkick one in one try, and do the reverse side one in less than 3 tries as I did yesterday, I'm going to be FINE.

The pattern of failure and misery is broken. Now I can more confidently work on getting that reverse sidekick down to getting in one shot, and the rest is fine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's great!!! I'm so glad it is going well. I definitely understand the problem with not wanting to invite people to watch you fail! No worries now. :-)

You rock!
Love, Oceandirt