Tuesday, October 30, 2007

There's always your first time

Having put so much emotional and physical effort into my black belt testing and interschool tournament, and since there are no classes on Halloween, I felt it was appropriate for me to take a week off from training. I think I earned it! And as I've mentioned, I'm not in a total rush to whip through my 1st degree curriculum as I was to whip through the color belt curriculum.

However, since it was one of the two "dress in your costume" days at TKD, and it was Drew's regular day to go, Drew had class yesterday. He was still a little bit on his high for helping out at the tournament as he had. I was a little pissed at SW, because I asked her if I could put in a star recommendation for Drew based on the fact that he helped as much as he did. She hemmed and hawed, but it came down to her claiming it would set a "precedence" (if I spelled that right), because usually helping out is supposed to be part of the tournament experience. And even at that, she said years ago it would be if they helped out in 10 rings, then they'd get a silver star. Well, Drew helped out with 3 rings, and I don't think we even had 10 rings for the event. I understand her point to a certain degree, but it's not often that a 6 year old Tiny Tiger helps out as well as he does. Almost everyone I know who has a small kid just goes home with their kid as soon as they are done. Drew wanted to stick around and help-- I didn't ask him to do that at all. I even had his Dad come to take him home afterwards when I had to stick around. So, Drew didn't get a star for his efforts. I did reward him with a new Hot Wheels car for his collection for his efforts, so it's not like he went totally without some sort of recognition. But it would've been nice if he had gotten some sort of commendation publically in class or something like that.

Anyway, class was going on as usual yesterday. The kids were getting a little riled up because of their excitement about Halloween. But they learned the first part of their new form, which was pretty easy. I looked at the DVD with the form on it later that night, and elements of it come back pretty quickly. Anyhow, Drew almost got his SJB taken away from him, because he was attacking another kid with it, and wasn't practicing what he was supposed to be doing. Not that the other kid was either. I was a little pissed, because there was SW schmoozing with parents rather than keeping on top of the kids. But I bit my tongue, because I could see what was happening, and I'm not supposed to go and yell at my kid, "Hey, cut that out and focus!" since that's supposed to be the instructor's job. Funny, she wasn't doing her job, and yet I know if had said anything, I'd get the dirty looks from SW to stay out of it. I can't win.

The kids put on their sparring gear. Drew even had his cup on under his one piece costume already! ;-) He was matched up with a boy who did very well at the interschool tournament the other night, and is at least a head taller and a little older than him. J is a fairly gentle, quiet kid. His mother, SV, is in my class, so I know how the family things, and they are a fairly mild mannered family. However, while Drew sometimes doesn't know control, in this case, J didn't remember. Drew does go in full force, but his full force is not as much as J's. And sure enough, it happened for the first time to Drew-- he got kicked in the head. There was no question that contact was made. I saw it, some other parents saw it, the student instructor saw it, and you heard it. JZ, the student instructor acknowledged that there was definitely contact, but she was pretty sure that it was more the shock of it happening that was upsetting Drew than actual injury. Drew was crying big time, so we pulled him out of class. J should have known better, as he's older, and has a higher belt. It wasn't so much that he shouldn't have kicked to the head, it was with the force that he did it. That would be like me kicking the head of an 11 year old. I would still kick an 11 year old in the head, but the point is control so that I don't clobber the kid. J didn't have that. Even Drew said that he felt that J was being too rough, and that HE-- Drew-- was trying to keep control of himself. That was a good thing for him to hear.

I gave Drew two options. I said he can either sit out until they switch partners, so he wouldn't have to spar with J anymore (I think he was afraid of him after that), or he can just sit out completely, but he has to still bow out, etc. He chose the latter, and that was fine. Turns out they only did one round anyway. The kids lined up, bowed out, and they they treated the kids to a piece of candy after class for Halloween. After class, SV came over to check on Drew, so I'm glad she realized that her kid was at fault. After we left, Drew said he had a slight headache, but I'm not sure if it was from the kick or from crying so hard, or just being hungry as it was dinnertime. I assured him that the fact that SV had come over to check on him showed that SHE knew that her son had been too rough, and that knowing her as I do, I was sure that she would talk to J about not being too rough on someone who is a little smaller and younger and a lower color belt than himself. I think Drew felt better about that, but it's one of those reasons that I am glad I'm always nearby in class.

So Drew got his first kick in the head. It's not a pleasant experience for anyone (and yes, even I've been kicked in the head a few times myself), so he'll learn to block, execute the move himself, and focus better on what he's doing. It's a hard lesson to learn. I just feel bad that he had to experience it so soon.

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