Saturday, September 08, 2007

Busy First Week Back

As mentioned, the family and I are back from vacation, and no sooner do we finish shaking out the sand in our sandals that we are back at school, and that not only means Drew starting 1st grade, but also me going back to work, starting TKD classes again, and Drew restarting TKD classes as well. He promised that he'd start back in September when 1st grade started, and he kept his promise without complaint.

Wednesday's classes were alright. WS (not to be mistaken for SW) was back again, after a short reprieve, and instantly was driving us nuts. Fortunately, I got partnered up with SV, who is a fellow mom and a white belt, and that seemed better. ES and WS got partnered up, and that was a better match that way too. I spent the better part of that class working on three main things. First, SW had me fine tuning some parts of my form, namely this one part of a roundkick/sidekick/double inner forearm block. The kick combination is one that I can do, but I find it doesn't look good unless I do it quickly, otherwise I lose my balance. I think it's the darn mats we have are too squishy. If I was standing on a truly flat floor, then no problem. But the bigger problem is, sure enough, that double inner forearm block. Theoretically, it's not hard to do, but I've been doing it wrong, so it's kind of hard to break a habit, but I was having problems with it anyway. It always felt awkward somehow. So, I was working on that. Next, I learned the "digs" for my BME form. Heck, I learned almost all my BME form for the first part except the last part, which is fine. The form-- or should I say, drills-- are the 9 strike lines, 3 defense blocks for a #1 strike, then these 3 "digs" which are blocks then disarms for a #5 strike, and 3 "snake" disarms, which I haven't learned yet, but I'm told that they are easy. Lastly, I went to work on my back elbow break. Well, let me tell you, I hate those plastic boards sometimes. Or maybe I was still fairly stiff and out of shape from vacation. No matter. I would step back into that back stance, pull back that elbow, and it would not budge. The first few times, SW told me my elbow was more out to the side than close to my body, but even after adjusting that, and ensuring I was in a back stance, she said I was doing it right, but somehow the follow through wasn't happening. Oh well. That was fine, and I understood that it's something I'll have to work on.

Wednesday night's class was very much a repeat of the last class I had before I left for vacation, but just more people in the class to do it. Each person had one step or move from the current beginner level form to learn (I believe it's Songahm #2) to learn, and then we did the whole form as a group, each barking out their segment. It's a method to use in a class when you are short on help, and at the same time teaches the kids how to be self reliant in learning the form as well. I practiced my form some more, and that was that pretty much.

Today was Drew's first day back in about 7 months. It's amazing how quickly 7 months goes by sometimes! Being that it's Saturday, that means specialty classes. Now that I'm a bootleg 1st degree BB, technically, I should be taking classes with the 1BDs, not the color belts. But because the color belts are doing the same form this cycle, I decided it'd be fine if I went to his classes instead. FINALLY, he's out of the white/orange/yellow classes and he's an intermediate level, so he can work on "big kid" stuff! The first class we both took is more Drew's favorite than mine-- sparring. I decided to take it because right now, I'm trying to lose weight, and heaven knows if you want to do some heavy duty sweating, take a sparring class. I was Drew's partner for most of the class, which was fine. It helped his acclimate back into the environment, and he seemed to hold his own when we had to get different partners to spar using the actual things we practiced. Next was forms class. Well, I know the whole form, and we were only doing the first 6 steps/segment 1, and the last section, which is the end. All the kids had seen it before except Drew, who'd only seen me practice it now and then at home. He actually held his own again very well. He made a few mistakes, but they weren't too bad considering, and he was able to keep up with the other kids. There was one part of the warm up for that class that he did start to get frustrated about. We were slowly building up to doing a #3 jump roundkick. He does them all the time unconsciously, but when they broke it down, he started to get a little confused. RA worked with him and said don't worry about doing 5 of them with the group, just do one with me, and I'll slow it WAY down. It took about 2 tries before he got the hang of it, and then he was fine. WHEW. Weapons class is where things started to break down a bit. Drew started okay with warmups, and was having fun, and then the group split into two groups-- JBs (bo staffs) and SJBs (numchakas). Well, I'm doing neither, and like I said earlier, I can learn the "snake" block later-- no rush, and I'm starting to learn the 1BD SJB form, but I'd be the only one, so I decided just to do JB with Drew, just to make sure I could keep tabs on him. Good thing I did. Ben P was teaching, and he taught us the first part of the "freestyle", but then he decided to make it interesting and taught us a helicopter move. Essentially, it involved just taking the JB in your hand with a spin above your head, but the JB spins in your hand as it's flat, so it's like a release move. You then stop the spin by simply closing your hand, and then tucking it under your arm. Well, Drew started to get it, but he'd drop his JB a lot. But then again, all of us were. Heck, I even whacked my nose at one point. Drew got very frustrated, and started to have a meltdown. I gave him the choice of a) stopping his crying and tantrum and just continue to practice until he gets better, or b) stopping class there and sitting quietly in the sidelines. He chose the latter. He did stay well behaved after that on the sidelines, and I did check to see if he had calmed down and wanted to start back, and he said no, and that was fine. At his stage of the game, weapons are still optional, not required at all, so if he felt he was better off not participating, then that was fine. It was one of those cases of me knowing when to pick my battle with him. He sat patiently while I took board breaking class, which he chose to opt out of again, and behaved himself. I chose to practice on some real wood (since I have that option at testing), just to see what would happen, and to hopefully boost my confidence again. It worked. It was a clean break, but not perfectly down the middle, but that's okay. It broke, and that's what counts! So I'm feeling better about that break. I think it's the darn plastic. And I'm not as stiff when doing my back stance as I was on Wednesday.

So, we survived our first week back, from vacation, and at all in Drew's case. I still have to figure out when to bring Drew for regular class during the week, and he and I decided that we'd only come for sparring and forms on Saturdays, as in the end, those are what's most important at his level right now. That's fine by me. I need to get his confidence back, get him in the swing of things, get his mental attitude adjusted that he'll cooperate and not have meltdowns during class. That's a tall order, but that's the goal. I really think he has a better knack for this than most kids if he can focus-- and not have a meltdown. I mean, we almost had two today, but we were able to reel him in enough, and prevent disasters. I don't want to take away from the other kids because of his behavior, and today, we were able to control that. But we got through, and as I reminded him a few times today during the various classes, he didn't need to worry about how good he was, because he's been away from it for a long time, and it was only his first day back, so he needed to take it easy on himself.

Let's hope this is the start of getting Drew back on track, and he'll not only make it through this first cycle and get his full camo belt in October, but that by the end of the school year when he turns 7, he'll be ready to start learning his full forms and be on the fast track to his black belt. (He should be, by my estimation, a full blue belt, I think, by then.)


Penelope said...

I know what you mean about WS.

Yay on Drew having a fairly successful return!

I've heard that I might see you Thursday?

Windsornot said...

Yes, you will see me on Thursday! And interesting that you still know who WS is. ;-) You should have hear the other day when I was voicing some concerns about Drew's behavior about something, and AS (WS's son, as you remember) was there, and telling me what my job as a parent was. Oh, I was fumed! I told him as politely as I could that I know what to do with my own son, and that I've been a parent a lot longer than he has (considering he's a 15 year old kid!), thank you very much. Thanksfully, I think I also heard SW start to get after him that he had no right to speak up and lecture a PARENT on parenting as well. SW might be a problem sometimes, but I know that in most cases, she's got my back.

Penelope said...

EL and I always used to go nuts with WS. I almost feel bad for AS because I realize that he just doesn't know any better. SW can be crazy to work for (mostly from what I've heard from you since I've not been in a situation where she drove me nuts, yet), but I've noticed she generally backs up parents. Plus, she knows AS needs a firm hand, I think. (And he's certainly not getting it at home, IMO).

I'm getting excited for Thursday and getting to see you guys! Now I just have to hope I manage to make it there on time! (I have an hour and a half from my last class to when things start)