Thursday, November 29, 2007

It ain't pretty, but it's not expected to be yet

Yesterday was all about getting back into the swing of things after taking a week (or two) off from classes. It was a little hard, not because I was still recovering from Thanksgiving dinner still, but rather just getting into the swing of things, and both my knees were acting up. I had braces on BOTH knees, and eventually, that didn't help much.

The morning class was rather...dry. We were all cracking our old bones in there from non-use for the last week or so. One missing player was Sandy. Man, I really missed her in there. As I think I've mentioned before, she and I seem to operate in class similarly, insofar as we are not afraid to really kick or hit with some force, and be able to take that force too. I think that's why we are often paired up with each other, as well as pretty much being the same rank as well (I think she's a half cycle ahead of me in most cases these days.) Anyway, I worked with SH yesterday, who I know got her 1BD before either Sandy or I, yet she seems to take her sweet time in getting from rank to rank, midterm to midterm. She is a tiny, petite, skinny woman who is about my age, but I am about twice her weight and at least a foot taller than her. When we did drills together, I told her not to be afraid of really putting some OOMPH into her punches and kicks on the pads I was holding, and well, her OOMPH wasn't too OOMPHy. Like many of the women in class, it was rather passive. You could still get a workout just moving about, but I'm so used to Sandy, and being able to put more muscle into it. I felt like I couldn't put as much force into my hit because I might hurt SH! Oh well.

So SH and I worked on the form next. She is working on the same midterm as I am, namely the first, and she's thinking of skipping this testing. We got the rest of the first half yesterday, and it wasn't so bad, but somehow she felt she couldn't memorize it in two weeks. I dunno. I think I can memorize it easily enough, but I know it's not going to be pretty. I know there are glitches in how I do it, and how well I do it. There is a jump hook kick which I can do, but again, I'm sure it doesn't look good. There's one spot where I didn't know there was a positioning step before going to do a section on the other side (you do a bunch of steps on one side, then the other side), and I know I'm still not getting that right. But it's a minor thing for now. SW said not to worry about it too much right now, as there's plenty of time to tweak things. For once, I'm listening. I usually work fairly hard to make what I've learned so far to be as close to flawless as I possibly can, but this time, since this will be the same form I'll be doing for the next two years or so, I'm not too worried about it. It's just the first half that I need to know at this point, and that's fine.

Drew skipped Monday's class. I agreed to it because I think he has issues with RA, and so do I. The last time he was in class with RA, RA was disciplining him, and said for Drew either to get back in line, or he could leave. That was a big mistake. First, you never give Drew the option of leaving because second, Drew will always take that option to leave. SW knows better, and she told me that herself, that you can't give Drew that option, because she realized that herself. He doesn't give her as many problems because he knows that he can't pull that with her. She'll yell at him all she wants until he complies. But she'll never give him an out. A timeout, perhaps, but not an out from class. Anyway, he seemed to do okay overall yesterday. During his class, she had me help for a little bit, as there was something like 20 kids in his class! And she had three different forms to work on, so after she got the majority of them set up with me, then she could take care of the other kids. All I had to do was make sure that each kid who was assigned a segment, remembered to lead the class in their segment. I didn't have to know the form (I couldn't remember it, since it had been quite a while since I had done Songahm #4), but all I had to do was make sure the kids kept up, didn't cause trouble, keep them in line, make corrections when needed, etc. Hey, it was good instruction training, and I was used as the example at instructor class later. I missed Drew's sparring, as usual, but from an earlier conversation I had with SW, she feels that he's got a lot of power, which is good, but he needs to learn to control it better. She also feels that he's at an age where some movements are still kind of clumsy/gangly because of his age, so she's not worried about his finesse quite yet. Since he's very big for his age (there are kids 3 years older than him in the class, and he's still bigger than them!), she said some of it what comes with the territory of being big for his age and being younger than everyone else that size. Oh well.

The other two classes I took were fine overall. No big whoop. I worked with a 2nd degree teen whom I'll call BB, and he's a little mousy, and not in leadership (most people who are black belts are leadership, but there are still some few that remain in Masters Club), but he's nice enough. Even in my decrepit state, he and I could get our drills done quickly and efficiently, and I could keep up with him, or at least he was being patient with me, perhaps! At least he could pack some OOMPH into his kicks in the drills, so it was nice to be able to work with someone who could handle that. I spent most of the time working on my form, although I have to say, that even with two knee braces on, doing the jump kicks that I have to do in this form thusfar were already starting to take a toll on my knees. Not good. I can only imagine how my knees would have felt today if I hadn't been wearing my braces. (I probably wouldn't be walking today, even though they are still a little achy.) Black Belt Mama has been talking over the past few weeks about how she's doing all this PT so she can avoid surgery. Me, I WANT surgery. I've been plagued with this for years. It isn't as bad as it was a year ago, which was post-accident, but I feel this is something that's been going on for about 10 years now, and even with PT, it never gets 100% better, or even 90% better. After PT, I just had killer quads, but my knee still hurt, and my PT yelled at me for not telling him. Well, he didn't ask! I just did what I was told to do at my sessions. So I wish someone would just fix this, let me to post-operative PT, and get back to where I was a long time ago. I wouldn't be surprised if knee replacement surgery is in my future at some point. Anyhow, I digress. Since my knees were starting to smart from the jumping (oh, and I didn't mention that we had to do all these deep knee lunges in the morning too, did I?), I just would mark the jumps as best as I could. It was hard, because I'd look so lame not doing them, but I have to do what I have to do to preserve my ability to still walk when I can! We didn't do sparring (YAY!), but we did weapons and board breaks. In weapons, JZ told me that I was not doing my handover in the lasso right when I swing it around my neck. I've been doing it that was since time began and no one has ever corrected me! I'm also thinking that for me, my arms were just out of shape and practice from doing it, so that's why I was goofing up. I just have to put the time in again to work on that blasted SJB form. I really am not a big fan of the SJB (numchakas), can you tell? I did watch JZ show MP what the whole 2nd degree SN/kama form looked like, and OH, it is such a beautiful sight to see. Not only because JZ does it well, but I LOVE kamas. I think they are my favorite weapon. And I don't get to use them anymore except if I want to do XMA, so I have to continue to think about that, and learn some more moves from JZ! ;-) Board breaking wasn't bad. I did a knifehand, but it took a few tries because I hadn't done it in a while, but I got it. SW kept holding the board at an angle I'm not used to doing, but whatever. She's the boss.

Instructor class was okay. It was BU and I (the only adults doing this part) and most of the teens working on teaching method stuff, of which I did the actual thing earlier that evening (see the part with Drew's class above). It was just something where the instructor would tell you what order the kids knew the sequence, and you wouldn't have to know the form yourself, and just keep the students going. Well, we used the current set of one-steps to work on this, and we would switch up teens to lead or do student segments. Half the time it was where BU and I had to keep the teens in line, even though we didn't have to lead the group. Part of the problem is some kids are mousier than others, so they need to step it up a notch to have their presence be known, whether it be as an instructor trainee, or just as a student! Even I was reminding the little ones that when they would say what their segment was, they had to say it loud and clear for everyone to hear, because if anyone was forgetting that part of the form, they just had to listen-- provided that segment person was speaking up! Some of the teens also get rowdy, and let me tell you, if I had had another turn being "leader", I would have had them do about 25 pushups for not focusing on what they are supposed to be doing. One of them is a 3rd degree, and he couldn't even be bothered to know the names of his classmates in this class. He'd just snap his fingers, when the assignment was to say who'd come next. I told him to at least say Ma'am or Sir if he didn't know their name, but it was pretty shameful that people who are in his TKD classes were people that he couldn't be bothered to learn their names. And he wants to be an instructor? I didn't know all the names of the little kids earlier, but at least SW wrote them down for me, and after one round of doing the form, I knew who was who! Pretty pitiful.

I was glad to be done at the end, because I don't think my knees could take any more for the night without it getting ugly. But, the good news in all of this is that a)I've got all the parts of my half-form now, so all I need to do is practice it so I at least have the sequence down, and b)as an adult, it's good to know that I know how to command a class and discipline when I need to. The kids in Drew's class seemed to really listen and pay attention when I would talk to them and remind them of what they needed to do. I know I'm famous for being goofy and silly in class myself, but at the same time, when there's work to be done, it still gets done.

So, I think I need to watch the DVD of my form. I'll have to see if there's a YouTube version of it somewhere so you can see it, for those of you who are not ATA'ers. It's different in that where I was used to doing all arm movements in doubles (using both hands), now I'm learning single handed loads and punches, and it's HARD to readjust. Being a newbie black belt really is so much like being a white belt all over again. I've said it before, but it still feels that way right now.

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