Thursday, December 06, 2007

Joyful night

Two entries in one day...can you stand it? ;-)

Last night before we left Instructor class, EL asked me if I could come to her second attempt at getting her 3rd degree belt. She said that pretty much no one else could make it, and it would mean a lot if I could come. Usually Thursdays are relatively free days for me, so I told her that I couldn't make any promises, but I would certainly try. EL had to test at KC's school, as SW is not a high enough rank herself to be able to pass EL to the next rank.

I did make the attempt, and I got there after things got started, but she was one of the last to go, so I didn't miss anything. It was just me, her parents, and one of her dad's cousins who came the last time as well. She did her form fine, and she said she missed a section of her weapons form. Oh well. I guess they didn't notice, since KC has about a million people out on the floor at the same time. I mean, SW does too, but it's more like a half million vs. a million. The one thing I noticed about the students at KC's school is that they do their forms a little differently, and well, I think the students at our school have more snap to what they do, in general. Anyway, then EL did her sparring. She was in her chair, and KC matched her up with a very tall teenager. Well, as we joked after she was done, it was a good thing she sparred with me yesterday, as that kid was at least as big as me, so she got some good "long legs" practice! LOL

Then the big moment-- board breaking. No pun intended, but this is literally what makes or breaks it if you pass or not. The one thing both EL and I were noticing with the other students was that almost nobody was aiming for the centers of the board. There was a lot of plastic being used (plastic boards, that is), and the set ups that the kids were doing were just whacked out. They made no sense. Just their whole methodology just looked like almost none of them had done that many breaks, or had practiced all that much. It wasn't where if they didn't get the break on the 1st try that they just had tweak boards-- they would majorly move them! The holders were also not good, because if a break wasn't done, they wouldn't just hold the board where it was. The more it's kept still from where the person places it, from my own experience on both sides of the board (holding and kicking), the more success the person will have if the board is already set up correctly, and less injuries too.

Well, EL's turn came up. I reminded her before she went up about the placement of her second board, as she made a mistake with it last night, and also told her from watching all these other people trying to break boards, very few were doing it, but she could definitely pound it out. I also suggested that she punch the hell out of those things, even if it meant breaking her wrist. She agreed, in jest! ;-) So, she set up her boards, and man, I don't think her board holders were the best, but she was setting it up fine, at least, as long as they held it where she put it! She bowed in, and made her first attempt at each board. A "thunk" was heard on each board. So she set up the boards again while KC watched another kid make an attempt. One thing I don't like about this scenario at KC's testings is that she makes each kid wait for so long between attempts, that it really gives the person testing enough time to psyche themselves out. I was afraid of that happening with EL. When it was EL's turn again, I just did my best to send her a karmic/psychic message across the room of, "Don't think about it, just GO!". While I don't know if she heard me or not, WHAM! went the first board. There was applause. But then, there was the break with which she was having the most difficulty in practices. Deep breath....WHAM!!! As soon as she broke that second board, I jumped to my feet punching the air with a big, "YEAH!!!!!!!!" and of course, she got general applause for breaking. Well, I couldn't contain my excitement, naturally. I know how bummed she was when she didn't break at her last testing, and she's worked so hard for this testing that it was a joyful relief that she did it. Changing over from her chair to her walker really made a huge difference, and fortunately she figured that one out.

I could stay long afterwards, but I had to get a photo with my cell phone of the happy new 3rd degree black belt. And this is only a half smile for the night! ;-) She even asked her mom afterwards, "Can I squee now?" because she is that happy and excited, and for good reason. She really earned this one. EL is admirable just in the fact that all her limbs don't work the same as the average person, so she has to work that much harder right off the bat to do the forms and everything else. But she loves this sport, and she's not a World Champion for nothing! She puts every ounce of her soul into what she does when she does TKD, and it shows. And she's a good example for persevering when the chips are down. She could have let her difficulties from the last testing get her down and psyche her out. She didn't let that happen. She was much calmer this time around, and she did much better, with a very positive outcome.

So congrats to the newest 3rd degree black belt at my do-jahng! :-)
Emily-- the new 3rd degree!
EL-- showing only about HALF of her happiness and pride of her accomplishment!

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