Wednesday, December 12, 2007

First of a long line of midterms, and a new belt

Tonight was graduation/testing night. Both Drew and I tested. It was a bigger deal for Drew than it was for me, because he was going for a new belt, and I wasn't. Y'see, now that I'm a black belt, I have about 12 testing cycles to go through before I'm eligible, provided that I don't take a big break, before I test for my second degree belt. There are 10 midterms, of which 2 are big ones where you go for the points you need to promote, your "bootleg" test to 2BR (second recommended), and then your final rank test. Of those 10 midterms, I was doing Midterm #1.

Anyway, it was a more important night for Drew. He was bumping up from full camo belt to half-camo, half-green. (Next belt, as you guessed, is full green.) But before the graduation, which was a pretty small group compared to usual, Drew had a slight run-in with another kid. All the kids were on the back floor, "practicing" with their weapons (meaning some were legitimately practicing, some were half practicing, and some were just goofing off). Drew falls in the category between half-practicing and not exactly practicing. Anyway, I wasn't watching, as I was getting myself prepared to do some knitting while I watched everything, and this dad comes up to me and lets me know that Drew hurt his kid. Oh great. The kid was holding his mouth. Supposedly, Drew was chasing the kid and hit him with his SJB. Now for those of you not in the know, EVERYONE in the school uses the super padded foam weapons. Even so, if you get whacked with one of those things, even in doing to yourself by accident when practicing, it hurts! Drew told me one story, and the story the dad told me wasn't implausible, but I can't believe Drew was 100% at fault. A lot of the kids were not behaving like angels there. Too many people just don't understand that Drew is the littlest one there, and doesn't always have the maturity that the other kids have, even if he looks at least 2 years older than he is. Anyhow, I assured the dad that I would speak to Drew. Drew got upset, but he was willing to apologize to the kid. The problem was that the kid was in the bathroom with his dad. (He got hit in the mouth, and cut his lip.) Drew is NOT a malicious kid. Immature, impulsive-- absolutely. Malicious- never. Of course, at that moment, that's when SW told the kids to line up. When the kid came out a few minutes later, I apologized to him for Drew, and assured him that Drew did try to apologize because he didn't mean to hurt him, and he would try to say sorry to him later. Drew told me later that he did try to say something to the kid several times, but the kid would ignore him or he didn't hear him. I assured Drew that as long as he didn't mean it, and he did try to apologize, then that was fine, but he wasn't going to play with his SJB that way EVER AGAIN.

Anyway, other than that, he had a good night. It was probably the first testing that I've seen him with the most poise-- for him. When he was called up to do his form, being that he's still a Tiny Tiger, he only has to do half, and with an instructor. He was the only one called up. So, except for an instructor, he had to be up there all by himself. And that being said, it proved that he was the youngest one there, as only TTs do it the way he had to do it. Anyway, it wasn't perfect, but he did a really good job. His movements have a certain crispness to them, even if they are not exactly the right moves, if that makes sense. He had good jumps, he has the "pop" in his punches and other hand movements and kicks. He did great. Then, he had to wait until later to do his weapons. After the earlier incident, he originally was going to abandon doing it, but he changed his mind. He had a hard time keeping it still while he was waiting, but then again, remember, he's ADHD- he's hard to keep still, period! But once he was able to get up and do his weapon, he was back on track, and he felt good, and he was trying to do some tricks. It was cute. When he had to do the sparring, I was a little fearful, as he was paired with JV, the little boy who kicked Drew in the head several weeks earlier. Before he went out to the floor to spar, I reminded him that graduation sparring is "no contact", which meant no touching, so he needed to work on doing that. So off they went! I was surprised to see that Drew did maintain his control, and was doing well. Then, JV kicked Drew in the head again. It was more like a tap this time, so he was doing his best to keep his control too (he's a lot taller than Drew). Of course, Drew protested, or at least very loudly alerted the judges there, "Hey, NO CONTACT!" :-) But he was fine, and he did well. And that was that. He was very proud, in the end, that he got his new belt, and that he got another silver star for his uniform.

Here's the boy with his new belt now!
Another fierce face!

I don't know why he feels that he has to look so tough and fierce when he is taking a TKD photo. Maybe he thinks that he seems more powerful if he does that. I dunno. It's not something I encourage. He actually did have a smile on his face, and he was very proud of his achievements.

As for myself, there's not much to say. I had to do half of my form, half of my weapons form, and spar. I did my form with another 1st degree, but it was a kid I'm guessing was no more than 8 or 9 years old, and he was speeding through. I didn't care. I was going to take my time. I did have to ask some of the teen instructors where the kihaps were, because I never learned where they were (after the 2nd set of punches, and after the knifehand strike near the end of that half), and I was able to get them in at the right time. I went commando with the knee braces (horrors!), but I did fine, because I hadn't overdone it. My weapons form was also done at MY pace, not some kid's pace, and as a result, I know it was done right. I know he didn't do his V-strike correctly, and I made a point to do mine correctly, because SW had made it a point to demonstrate the correct way of doing it. Oh well. In sparring, I went up against ES again, like last time. She kept me moving, but it's never that exciting to go up against her. I did kick her in the head, by accident. I was trying to clear her head with my foot, and well, I missed. Oops. I didn't hit her hard. But then I heard Drew's words come from ES-- "Hey, no contact!" ;-) She knew that I had better control, of course, and I explained that I wasn't meaning to hit her head, that my aim was bad, and I didn't stretch as much as I thought I was able to do. No biggie. So, it was all said and done. It was probably one of the easiest testings I've ever done. Perhaps it's because I didn't feel the pressure of the last few. So, it was a fairly pleasant evening.

I think for Drew, who I'm much more concerned about his progress right now, he really does enjoy TKD. I think he's just an overly sensitive kid, due to all his learning disabilities, and so the littlest thing can set him off, and then he'll say he hates TKD. But when he's in there, he loves it, and that's all he does when he plays at home. So I know deep down he does like it. But he's still little, and it will take him time to get to the point where he has true "black belt" poise.

At bedtime tonight, Drew told me that another kid whose name he didn't know thought that Drew was in Leadership, when he knows he's only in Masters. We talked about it a little bit, and he understands-- and agrees-- that he's not ready for Leadership yet. But he's definitely got a lot of the right raw materials for it. Give him until next school year, or when he gets his black belt, or when he turns 8-- whichever seems right at the time-- and then we'll talk. I know it's a long climb, but he's going to be a great martial artist someday. I feel it in my creaky old bones. He made me proud tonight.


Silverstar said...

Congratulations to you and Drew!:)

Becky said...

Congratulations to Drew! And to you as well.

frotoe said...

Sounds like Drew is really enjoying himself now. That is excellent. Congrats to both of you :)