Thursday, November 15, 2007

Putting things in perspective

You know, I have a few TKD people around me who are too smart for my own good. But thankfully, I have them around to put me in my place, or help me see what really matters.

Yesterday was the usual whirlwind of three classes for the day, plus Drew's class. Drew's classes have been okay for the most part. There's not a lot to report, other than he was asked to leave class for the first time for this year on Monday. I think RA needs to figure out how to get Drew to participate, and not give him the option of "participate or you can go", because Drew will always go. I wasn't happy with him, but he did make a choice. And maybe it was better that we left when we did, rather than have him rebel and meltdown for the rest of class. He was proud of his new roundkick break that he has now, however. ;-)

For me, I was reviewing and learning more for Shim Jun. What I have down isn't too pretty looking at all, but heck, I've only been doing it a couple weeks, after all. And I have to remember that I only have to have the first half for December, and I have, what, a total of 2 years to perfect it once I have the whole thing? So, I'm just trying to make sure that I have the sequence of moves down before I tweak them, and make them look more presentable than they are now. Maybe it's because I've been getting over this sinus infection thingy, but I'm just very tired and worn. I think I might have also pulled something in my good knee in the morning exercises, which doesn't help. So, during the evening classes, yes, I am now up to TWO knee braces, one for each knee. The bad knee still gets the heavy duty one, but the good knee is now needing support as well. Woe is me who is falling apart at the knees! I got through it though. Had a good sparring session, even though I was pretty winded by the end. There's nothing like having to spar two teenage boys who are 3rd degrees and old enough to be your teenage children when you are an old, newly christened 1st degree like myself. I got a few good hits in, so that was good.

I also tried a new board break. Well, it was new in the sense of me doing it on a different side and trying it. One of the board break choices for 1st degrees is doing a front, side and roundkick combination. Sounds easy enough, but the catch is that one of the kicks can't be on your "dominant" side. So, while all through your color belt training, you may have only used one foot for all your foot breaks, at this level, at least one has to be with the opposite foot. I know, I hear you. You already know that I have an opposite break, that left footed roundkick, so the rest is easy peasy. Well, this is true. However, when I would try to figure out the best way to do the break to incorporate that left foot, it just seemed easier if I did a second kick with the left as well. After all, I should be able to do that as a 1st degree now anyway. So, since I still have a lot of time before I have a required break at testing, I figured I'd start playing with some new foot breaks. Last night, I tried a sidekick with my left foot for the first time. And I'm happy to report that it broke on the first try. Go me! :-) Yup, one practice try, and right into an actual break. I was happy about that.

But I think the best part of the night was the conversation I had with NK. Now, for those of you who don't know, NK is one of SW's teen instructors, one of the highest ranked instructors in our school, and a very accomplished competitor. She's ranked in the Top Ten for her rank and age in the WORLD. She also has held several state championships over time. So, you could say she's been around the TKD block a bit. She asked me how the tournament went, and I recounted my story. When she asked who the 2nd degree in my ring was, she was familiar with the woman, and basically said that it was totally unfair for that woman to be in the ring, as a)she had twice as much experience than almost anyone in that ring, and b) she was an instructor at HER school, and practiced and taught every single day, and was in Top Ten, or something like that as well. Man, I was competing against THAT? That definitely put it in perspective. Now, Sandy had also told me about some of these other ladies, as she's one to check out the competition more closely. Sandy pointed out that we were the greenest black belts of our ring, and upon further thought, I really was the newest black belt there. I didn't have a prayer, really! And while NK was saying much of the same things of putting it in perspective as Sandy did, I think she understood on a different level, because she IS competitive like me. NK is not going to go to a tournament unless she thinks she has a chance at placing. And she said that the big "A" tournament last spring was the first time that she hadn't placed in anything for the first time, so she knew how I felt completely. I don't think that it was a matter than Sandy didn't appreciate how I felt, because she did. But I think NK appreciated it more having been in the same circumstance, and looking at it initially the same way, if that makes sense. I felt a little more encouraged, too, because even though NK is young enough to be my daughter, she is still my instructor, and she understands my limits as well as my capabilites better than most people, and how to get there as well. So when one of the World Top Ten tells you about not placing last year in a big local tournament and it being the first time she didn't place at all? Yeah, she understands that feeling of defeat very well.

I'm still debating whether to go in on Saturday just for the early morning forms class. I might go just because that's where I need the most practice. But I'm where I need to be, more or less, in the form. I'll think about it. There aren't any other local tournaments (other than an Interschool that I probably won't be able to go to due to Cub Scouts in December) until at least February or March, so I have time. And maybe I won't do well in that one either, but at least I'll know what the competition is like, and I'll have more time to practice.

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