Thursday, January 31, 2008

Cruising along

I know I haven't written here in a while. Sorry about that! It's been a couple of crazy weeks with life outside the do-jahng, but Drew and I still have been going to classes as best as we can. For the most part, there's not a whole lot to report. Last week was the first week I didn't go to daytime class in a long time. That feels a little odd now. I've always gone to the daytime classes offered since I started, but now with the new job, I can't go. (I only work part-time, and it's during the same hours.) So to hear SW say, "In my daytime class..." and not be a part of that feels really, really weird. I guess I'll have to get used to it. :-S Sandy's not there right now anyway, as she is still recovering from her injury, so I don't miss it. It's only fun when she's there. Otherwise, it's a sea of white belts, and two or three black belts, and of those 2-3 black belts, only one (KW) is someone I'd want to do a workout with or have as a partner working on stuff (that is, other than Sandy, of course). The other two are older women who just don't put any oomph into their workout, and the one that's almost a 3rd degree, WS, is so "fragile" that if I even put the slightest bit of power, she tried to compensate by moving out of the way with the pad (which doesn't help) or I have to basically tap a pad rather than hit it. Oy. So in that sense, I don't miss it, but at the same time, it was a good daytime activity.

I have continued with my Wednesday night classes still. Drew's been trying very hard in his classes too. He still gets the wiggles and gets in trouble for it sometimes, especially if he's looking at himself in the mirror or not paying attention to the directions or whatever, but I still have seen a lot of improvement in the last few classes. There was a class last week where he was extra bouncy (which was my fault,because I let him have caffeine before class, my bad), and SW was on top of him constantly and disciplining him. Instead of having crying fits and becoming uncooperative, he would just comply without an attitude. That's a HUGE step forward. Really. Even yesterday, I was told that when he was starting to lose a little control in sparring, NK put him on one of the bags, which he hates to do, but he complied and didn't cry or cause any further problems. That's a huge step forward for him, I think. No major outbursts or attitudes. And yesterday, that was considering it was the day after he was diagnosed with an ear infection (yes, he's properly drugged up now, so he's fine.). Does he know his form, or at least what he has to know? Yeah, for the most part he does. Is he keeping better control? Yes, I see some improvement, but there's still room for more improvement. You have to take the positive strides, no matter how small, and feel some accomplishment.

Drew did have an incident at school yesterday in which he and some other boys were goofing off in the boys' room, and they were playing "play boxing". Well, Drew often forgets his own strength, and hit a kid in the chest a little too hard. He admitted it was an accident, that they had gotten carried away, and he understands that when he's playing, especially without gear, it's "no contact" (and he understands that means no touching). In retrospect, and I didn't think of this until now, I should be glad that he hit the kid in the chest, because that means he understands he isn't supposed to hit the face! :-P

As for myself, I took my classes as usual last week-- both regular adult/teen classes and the instructor class, but this week I only took the adult/teen class. I was just way too tired, and I'm a little sick too, so I didn't want to overdo it. The new job has changed up my routine a lot, and between lack of sleep from the night Drew woke up with his ear infection as well as me starting to come down with something myself...well, I wasn't in good shape to do two workouts in a row as usual. I think for all the time I've put in prior to now, I've earned the right to take off sometimes. Granted, graduation is in two weeks, but I'm fine. I have my whole form down. It's not always pretty due to the jumps and spins that I have to do, but after watching some of the kids do it, I know that I do a more precise form than they do, and yet they still pass. I know the expectations are higher for me, but even so, I watched this little kid who's seveal midterms ahead of me and should know the form much better than I, and he was just, well, sloppy. No tucking of the hand not in motion, his jumps looking no worse than mine, etc. Even with me just getting the whole form down this cycle, it looks so much better than most people's. I haven't worked on my weapon as much. My main problem, as silly as it seems, is doing it with my uniform jacket on! I'm used to practicing without it, but then the sleeves get in the way and such. It's not a tragedy. I only have to do this weapons form with the SJB(numchakas) for the rest of this cycle, then add a freestyle at the end of it for the next cycle, and then I'm done with them for a while-- hooray! I'll be doing BME again next, and I'm actually thinking of investing in a new one. I have a non-handled one, and the balance on it is SOOOOOO different from the handle ones. The handle ones just feel SO MUCH BETTER. I'll think about it.

I have been working on some new board breaks, however. I guess that's what's new for me. One of the 1st degree board break combinations is a reverse jump side kick, with an upset ridge hand. I'm getting the hang of the reverse upset ridge hand. If I'm remembering correctly, this is the break that Ralph Macchio did in Karate Kid II, when he went through all those blocks of ice in that bet. Well, for now, I'm just working on getting it through one plastic board. :-P I was shown to start with a hammerfist of sorts, and then work towards opening the hand. I got it in about 2-3 tries or so, so that's cool. The reverse side is a little trickier. I have to get the jump in there soon enough, if this is a break I'm going to use.

Other than that, I was told yesterday that I have to watch my own control when sparring, specifically with lower ranks. I didn't realize that I was even doing that. I thought I was going fairly easy on people, but at the same time, making it challenging. Heck, nobody showed me THAT much mercy as I worked my way up! They would go easy on me, but not THAT much! I usually was put up against teenagers that were 2nd degrees while I was a piddly color belt! Oh well. I guess Drew and I both have control issues sometimes, as we can really get into it.

So that's the scoop. Not a heckuva lot going on right now. Just adjusting to new routines on the outside of the do-johng, battling illnesses, but still working on material and making progress. Graduation is in about two weeks. I only have to do my full regular and weapons form and sparring, and that's it. The next cycle will be an "official" midterm where the scores go to ATA HQ for my progress, and I'll have to do all that, plus add a 20 second creative form for the weapons form (I'm already working on that), and the board break of my choice. Hmmm. I guess I still have a lot of work to do.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Looking for creative solutions

I cross posted this information into the Black Belt Knitters website, but I thought I'd show it here as well. Heck, I might even post it in my knitting blog as well.

Anyhow, in ATA TKD, during your second degree black belt curriculum, there comes a midterm that you have to do in which you create a totall creative form. It can be open hand or closed hand, and you can use traditional weapons as well as unconventional weapons as well. I've seen people use pool/billiards cues, golf clubs and the like before. So, even during my color belt time, I would be looking ahead, thinking about what I might use when my turn came in a few years.

So, here I was, cruising the internet (as usual), looking at some new knitting websites I hadn't seen before, as I was looking for a specific yarn that's becoming difficult to find. In one of the shopping sites, I found this:

(You can check out more details at this shopping site when you click here.

Yes, those are what you think they are. GIANT KNITTING NEEDLES. Oh, what a grand discovery for someone like me who loves knitting AND TKD! So, you can guess what I'm thinking. ;-) When I saw this, I thought, "A-HA!". I could see using these in place of a double short ecrimas/double bahng-mah-ee for a routine. Oh, that would be too rich!

Hmm. I think I'll have to bookmark this one, in order to save it for the future. Oh yeah, I can see it now...heh heh instructor will just be rolling her eyes at this one, but I know it will certainly garner attention, for sure...

(same info cross-posted in my martial arts blog.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Somehow the David Bowie song, "Changes" is going through my head as I write this. The lyrics don't apply, but the title certainly does.

On Tuesday, Drew's class was not so great. He's had much worse classes, but it wasn't a good one. He was getting in trouble for not cooperating during pad drill, but he was the worst of the class-- everyone in there was not cooperating. He got through the class, albeit very grumpy, but was holding his own. One thing he was very proud of, but I didn't see, was that he's been practicing a fancy kick that he saw in one of his Hot Wheels DVD during a fight scene. He decided to try to use it in sparring, and SW noticed. She told him that he was evidentally doing a butterfly kick, which is a fairly advanced jump kick. I don't think they start to teach that until you are at least a second degree. So, he left on a high note on that.

Wednesday was busy for both of us. My morning class went alright. I was paired with WS, when I wanted to be paired with KW instead. WS and KW are second degrees, and well, KW is the stronger student. WS is, as I've said, this weak little thing that can get the job done, but in pad drills, I basically have to tap the pad, and can't put any force into what I do, because she'll just fall over. Whereas KW-- wow-- she is one of the best martial artists at our school, when she comes. She takes periods of time off, as she's more dedicated to her kids' schedule than her own, but she doesn't miss a beat. Instead, she was paired up with a white belt. Bleeh. I don't get as much of a workout when I'm stuck with WS. This is one reason that I miss Sandy! Anyway, the drills of the week, both in my classes and Drew's classes have dealt with side kicks, and man, my hips were sore last night. But in the morning class, I was the only first degree there, so as usual, I had to work on my material on my own. SW has a lot of people in the beginner ranks right now, so she spends most of her time with them. There are a lot of white belts in there right now, so they need the extra attention. I did get some refinements, as I have some difficulties with two transitions, and I'm still getting the whole form memorized. I don't have any idea where the ki-haps go, but that's, as I often say, the icing on the cake. She remembered that I'm only in my 2nd midterm (out of about 12 that I have to do before getting to 2nd degree), so she didn't seem too worried right now, and said that my main objective right now was memorization of the form. I think part of it was because I said that I really wanted to work on the form, but I don't feel like I will be anywhere near competition form by April. She feels I should still go, because it's good for the practice. I don't want to go if I feel I'm not even good! At least the last one, I felt confident that while my weapons were bad, at least my 1BR form was still good (and the last time I did it was the best I had ever done it), and sparring would give me a chance. Oh well.

During the first evening class, KW had come in to help, and she was very nervous because it was the first time that she was leading a class. Yes, there were some flaws in what she did, but overall it went well. She should have moved some people around and paired people up. I was paired up with an 11 year old boy, and another large woman, SP, who is a camo belt, was paired up with Mr. Blue Belt. He's not really a good match for anyone smaller than him or well, as sexist as this sounds, with a woman. Fortunately, KW caught onto him fast, and told him that he was putting WAY too much power and energy into what was just a drill, and fortunately he listened. But I could see poor SP having a Dickens of a time dealing with him. And I felt, for the second class in a row, that I wasn't getting the kind of workout I should have gotten because I wasn't really paired up with someone who was at the same level. But at least when we went to practice our forms and weapons, I was with my "girls", the C sisters and one of the G brothers, so I had good company,and they could help me out with getting some of the kinks out of my form. Because of lots of kicked fingers and extra sore hips from teaching sidekicks all day, SW asked for help with board holding. She confessed to me later that she said she really didn't want to hold for the brown boards, because those guys are way too rough and powerful, and she didn't think she could hold up. For blue and green boards, with a strong helper (like myself), then she could do some. Naturally, I stepped up to the plate. She could still advise with the breaks. She's very good at verbally explaining exactly what you have to do to adjust if you don't make the break. Since I was the last one, she and Dr. T (he's so funny) held for me. I learned a new break, since I'm trying a few new things out. It was the start of an upset knifehand break. She had me do it like an upset hammerfist first. It went through on the second try, which is pretty cool. I think if I try it again, I'll be able to do it open handed. Sparring was not all that eventful, but Dr. T was disappointed that I didn't spar him, as I'm one of the few women who can keep up with him to some degree, and he's always waiting to get kicked in the head. ;-)

Instructor class was a little interesting. She split us into groups, and each group was to give a mini demonstration and talk about a life skill. Well, at our school, we don't talk much about life skills (goals, respect, discipline, etc.), but rather act through example or mention it in passing through example. We don't lecture about it that much necessarily. I was paired up with EL and AS. It was an interesting match up. EL knows her stuff very well, and it was she that told me, when it was my turn to teach, that I did really well but didn't really talk about the life skills we were supposed to be working on much. According to her, at certification camps, they really harp on that point a lot, so it's just something to work on, but otherwise, I did a good job. For her, the only criticism I had, and I think it's only because she is in a wheelchair and naturally doesn't think of it right away, is reminding the students where their beginning and landing foot should be if they are doing a foot drill, such as, start with right leg back, and it should land in the front, bring it to the back again, etc. That's an easy adjustment, and she agreed that she forgot about that. Oh, but AS. Now, I know the kid has a lot of learning diabilities and such, but this wasn't rocket science. He chose to teach a jumping slide side kick, which we had done in the class before. That was fine. But, all he had to do, at the most basic level, was to demonstrate it and break down the kick (chamber, slide jump, kick, rechamber). Again, not rocket science. He just couldn't do it. I was trying to get him to think how he would break it down. In the end, the "student" (me) was teaching the teacher how to teach. EL told me after a bit that I needed to let him figure it out, but I think she forgets how much prompting he needs. We both also had it a little hard because being that she's SA, she expects that we would be able to come up with an adaption for her. Well, that's asking a little much. For me, for the kick AS was trying to do, I would have her do the jump in the chair and knifehand (the latter of which she explained was the wheelchair sidekick). Evidentally, that's not correct, but at least it would have been a good guess, and she would have done it. AS could even come up with that. But I don't think it's fair that she would expect that. Our school is a little exceptional in that we do have a lot of SA kids in there, and SW has been working with them for MANY years, and we're still learning how to teach abled kids. But oh, working with AS was worse than trying to pull teeth! He just had no clue whatsoever. Even when I went last, EL was critiquing about the life skills stuff, and he was stuck talking about that. It took three attempts by me to steer him back to simply giving his own critique-- "A, go back to the beginning. What did you think about MY performance? You agree with [EL]? OK, that's fine. Is there any good or bad things about my performance that she left out?" I mean, THAT basic. I applaud the kid for trying, but man, I don't think he'll ever be able to be a full-time instructor. He literally just doesn't have the mind for it!

So, it was a long day of classes, but they went okay.

But, I know you are saying, okay, Windsornot, this sounds like a fairly typical entry from you. What's "changing", as the subject heading implies? Well, it's this: Thursday, January 17th, 2008 is my last day working at the ATA. I've been looking for a new job for almost a year for financial reasons. While there was some great flexbility in having this part-time job, the pay was less than desirable, and for a while now, especially recently, we've really needed to start pinching pennies. An agency which I had applied to a while ago called me on Monday offering me a temp position at a local healthcare philanthropy foundation (a very big, well known one, in fact) that is only one mile from my house, still giving me part-time hours, is more in line with the kind of work that I'm trained and have experience in doing, and the biggest part is that they are paying me more than twice the hourly rate that I'm getting at the ATA. How could I say no? I figured out that even when I took out taxes and even my TKD tuition funds from the paychecks, the net from the new one would be about 5-6 times more than what I'm taking home now. I start very shortly, and I'm looking forward to it. Since my employment is no longer tied to my training, if I want to take that long awaited break that I wanted to take back right after I got my black belt, I could without any guilt now. I'm not going to, since there's a regional tourney in April, and I really need to train for that. I'm thinking that if I give Drew the summer off, I'll take the summer off too. I have been training for almost 2 1/2 years nonstop, so I think I need a slight breather in a while. We'll see. But it's kind of the end of an era. I've worked for SW for almost a year and a half. She was already recruiting my replacement yesterday after my morning class, which is fine. Starting ther was a good place to get my feet wet again in the work world. At least it was in a familiar place with familiar faces, and that helped. The new job is going to be a total surprise. New place, new faces, etc. I'm a little nervous about it, but I've been assured that I'm more than qualified for the position, so it should be fairly easy for me. Even NM was happy for me, and said that she was glad that I could move on. She was also nice enough to tell me that a lot of people had always said kind comments about me being helpful while doing my Front Desk duties over time, so that was nice to hear. Part of me will miss the familiarity of being there, as the ATA is one of my "other homes". But, it's also time for a change of pace and a new challenge. And while I'm very nervous about that, I need to remind myself that I am a Black Belt. When I put my mind to it, I can meet any challenge I choose.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bribery CAN work!

Drew's been sick lately. It wasn't until very recently-- and by the DENTIST, no less, -- that we figured out what was going on with his health. He's finally on the upswing again, so I had made him promise that since he had missed so many TKD classes lately due to his illnesses, that he had to go to Saturday classes today. Just so as not to push my luck, I told him that he only had to attend forms specialty class, and not sparring, weapons or board breaking. He was fine with that. But the agreement was, too, that if he wanted, I would attend class with him, and that's what he wanted. Okay, I could do that. It's only Songham #5. Been there, done that.

So, we went off to class. I had to remind him about behaving in class today and listening, keeping his hands to himself, etc. I also told him that if he behaved, then we could go to the convenience store next store after class and get a juice or ice tea. Well, that was not enough, so I broke down and promised him something I rarely do-- I promised him some candy. Now, just so you know, while like any kid he loves candy, he rarely gets it, so this would be a major treat if he succeeded. It was either that or going for fast food for lunch, and I figured the candy would be better than artery clogging french fries.

We went to class. He loves gathering the attendance cards, and did that very well remembering to say to the other kids getting the cards in their rows, "Thank you sir!" and bowing. And I think since I was in class, he liked bowing directly to me when we bow to the parents in the kids' class (as a sign of respect for them bringing us to class). I was then put with another adult in the class, who technically, if he hadn't taken several breaks, should have gotten his black belt WAY ahead of me, but he's still a red belt. (heh heh) Anyhow, turns out his son and Drew were paired up for warm up drills right in front of us, so we could keep an eye on them. Drew was antsy in class, but he was doing well with his kicks and holding the pads and such. Then, we were working on reverse side kicks. The first time you are doing it, it is a little bit of a difficult concept in what direction to go, how to shift your feet, etc. While BP was teaching class, he had RA, EL, and JK in class assisting, and so RA helped Drew get the hang of it. Once he helped Drew understand what he had to do, he did a beautiful reverse side, and I think he was pleased with himself. We then learned the segment which had to do with a back fist in a middle stance, stepping into the "T" to prepare for a sidekick, landing back in a middle stance with a twin low block, then twin inner forearm block. After doing that a few times, then we put the first segments together with it. I think that now that I have an 81 step form, a 34 step form is pretty easy. Guess that's experience talking for you! Drew had his wiggly moments, but generally, he kept to task, and with a few nudgings from me, he paid attention. BP said he was impressed when Drew answered up with the answer to what the next step was when we reverse the combination (always have to learn things on both side, right?). When we also were working on getting the kicks up high, he liked getting the praise of when he got his kicks up high, and got them up with correct body positioning.

So, while he had his moments, they weren't that bad. I think he was either distracted or excited when he had the moments, and that's not too bad, in comparision to the last few classes he's had, he had a really successful day. I think he felt good, and I felt good about it. Now that he's feeling better and back to himself, and had a good day in TKD, I think future classes will be a little better again.

And in case you are curious, he chose Wonka Chewy Gobstoppers. ;-)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The magic of endorphins

Life is a little rough right now. Drew's been sick on and off for weeks, and due to that, it's stressful. Add to that trying to find a new job, juggling work and regular home life, then it's really stressful. Just today alone, I had to take Drew to the dentist because he was having problems in his mouth, and it turns out it's stuff the doctor should've caught the other day when I took him there. (Needless to say, I love my dentist for spending more time and figuring out the problem than the MD, who wasn't our regular MD, didn't.) That was a big chunk of my time this morning, and I missed class this morning. I went to work, did some stuff that was asked of me, went home, and encountered a very grumpy boy coming off the bus. He went to play, but then he fell, and that set the ball in motion for things to get worse. A tired, grumpy boy was more tired and grumpy than usual. That did not make life easy. To make matters worse, I get a phone call from SW that there are internet/website problems, and she wants me to figure out how to fix it. WHAH...? So, it took me an hour to get to the bottom of the problem, and the answers were pretty. Talk about adding fuel to the fire. I had already decided not to take Drew to TKD, because while he could do the movements, I didn't think he was well enough, at least with his attitude and grumpies that he would benefit from class, and I'd also be sparing the students and instructors in that class from his...issues of the day.

Needless to say, I was stressed enough that I was starting to cry in the car, because frankly, I really need a break, and there's no end in sight. If anything, it's going to get worse before it gets better.

So, I step into class, and it was a fairly large class. Mr. Blue Belt was in class, but SW was teaching, so I was glad when she paired me with another woman, SM, who I've known before, but hasn't been in class lately, and is a camo belt. Being that SM and I are both fluffy gals, it was a good match, because there was no pressure to do miraculously. Because it was a big class, and I was the only 1BD in there, as usual, I had to work on my own. Nothing new there. Because SW was running around taking care of everyone else, I was lucky that RA was there, which he hasn't been in a long time. (I think he was because he needs the practice time, as he's testing for his 3rd degree in February.) So he helped me a bit with the transitions I was having trouble with, and gave me the last part of the form. So now I have the whole form! Now, I have about a month to get it down well enough to at least be passable. I will be doing this same form for the next two years (okay, a little less than that if I don't take any breaks), so I think there's time for getting the nuances down and such. I didn't want to work on my weapon simply because I think my form needs more work. When we got to board breaking, Mr. Blue Belt tried to hold a board for someone else. I don't know why he thought he could do it. I was originally going to help SW, but since I was one of the few people in there that knows how to hold boards correctly (or I know more about it than most in that class), I held for the practices, and AS helped me hold for the break of this one person who was trying the dreaded run-jump-sidekick break. Now, AS is a 3BD. He should know - even better than I - how to hold a board. But no. I was the "expert" this time. Fortunately, SW came over to help the student (a transfer adult from S. Brunswick, whom I actually have talked to and like), and there was no criticism of my holding, so I was fine. :-) For myself, since I'm still trying to figure out what to do, I wanted to try a new board break. This break is a reverse side jump kick. In breaking it down, it's not too bad, and SW was helping me get the feel for it. I see what I have to work on in just getting the reverse side kick down first, and then we'll add the jump. Not too shabby. Sparring wasn't too bad. I sparred two younger kids today, and the first girl, oh, I could tell she was really tired, as she usually has twice as much spunk as usual, and tonight, she barely punches or threw any kicks. The second one was a boy who I've worked with before, and I think I was wearing him down tonight too. I was even teasing him, trying to get his gumption up with, "Hey, Mrs. V is bugging me...I can't let that happen!", as if I was his inner thoughts talking aloud. He took in in stride and good humor, as he should. He knows I wasn't being mean, just being silly. So, it worked out okay.

Instruction class was just a matter of us practicing the one steps for Songahm #1. AS, again, as a 3BD, should be a lot more focused, and should definitely know a #2 front kick from a #1 front kick! Eesh. Sometimes you have to reel him in, and get him back on track, way too often. He's 15, but he's as bad as a 5 year old sometimes. Afterwards, being that there were a lot more 1BDs in this class, I was able to practice my form, and get some help from the C sisters, who are truly watching my back in getting the form down. ;-) When everyone else was working on weapons, I just continued on my form. I'll get it down, eventually. This needs more work than my SJB form. I already figured out my freestyle that I add at the end of the SJB form next cycle, so there you go. My regular form is not hard, but it's not easy either. Good thing that get to work on it for a long time!

In the end, by the time class ended, between working out and being around my friends there, I felt better. For those who do any kind of exercise regularly, they know about the endorphin high that often happens from working out. As much as I didn't really feel like going to class tonight, between not feeling that well both physically and emotionally, I'm glad I went. I still have the same problems, and still feel as bad, but don't feel as down about it, if that makes any sense. It was the boost I needed to get me through the rest of the night. That, and watching Project Runway when I got home. ;-)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

One of the newest ATA Corner Judges is...


I don't tend to go to the ATA on Saturdays much anymore. 1st degree classes are WAY too early in the morning on a Saturday for me, for sure, hence why I tend to cram so many during the week. But today was a long overdue seminar that had a good turnout. It was a Chevron Clinic. What is that, you non-ATA people are asking? In tournaments, you have to have judges, of course, who know the rules. Not just anyone can be a judge. You have to be at least a black belt of a certain level, a certain age, and you have to complete clinic/certification seminars on a yearly basis to certify or re-certify your status. Well, the age thing isn't a problem, but the rank level and having taken a clinic was the only thing in the way before. But now, I am a black belt, and having passed my first levels, I am now a corner judge for color belt matches. Hooray! What does that mean? First of all, you have to understand how the scoring works, how points are awarded, and all the other main rules that apply. One of the things that SW can tell you confidently, is that as the RCT (Regional Chief of Tournaments) for our area, she makes sure she attends all the seminars on judging and forms and ATA rules so that she is completely up to date. It turns out, too, that students who compete in weapons can only compete in weapons that their instructor are certified in, and she's certified in ALL of them. There are even Masters who don't recertify to judge or keep up their teaching certifications as well as they should, and she said it shows. But anyway, as a corner judge, you do not have to necessarily know the forms, but you do have to understand techniques. As a corner judge, you are assigned to only judge just hands or just feet. Center judges, which you can't do right away (I think I might be eligible next year) look at forms and overall performance of techniques. So, even if I know the form, and someone is supposed to do a sidekick but they do a roundkick, and it's a really well done roundkick, I am supposed to give them the point. The center judge will take off points for incorrect form.

So anyway, once you pass your clinic, to show your designation, you get to wear a special chevron patch on your lower right sleeve. The more things you certify to judge, the more chevrons you get, but there are only so many of them. But I got my Level 1 today, and that's pretty cool.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

It's what Janet Jackson talks about...

It's about CONTROL!!! (Her song just keeps going through my head as I think about it.)

After having a nice surprise yesterday, for the most part, classes went on as usual. Drew acted up in class. He couldn't keep his hands to himself, and was goofing off, hurt another kid, and said he was "bored" and acted up. Oh well. Another day at the ATA for Drew, as it was. My leadership class was cute, as two more teens/tweens came on board, and it's a small class, with some good kids in there. I was the only adult, other than MZ, who was learning her 3rd degree material while we worked on leadership stuff. (MZ already has her black collar, so she already is a very full-fledged certified instructor.) But prior to leadership class was a regular teen/adult class, and I got really pissed at a new student. I don't know his name, but I know he's new for sure, and must have transferred in from somewhere.

He was about as tall as I was, and reeked of cigarette smoke like he had had about 5 before walking into class. I'm guessing he was about 15 or 16 at least. MZ was teaching, and we were doing a sparring drill just on pads, and this kid and I were partnered up together. Well, all I have in my hands are two focus pads of sorts, and that's all. All we were required to do was a series of simple punch/jab/cross combinations, just to get into the rhythm of it. Well, first, when this kid held the pads for me, he held them too high, and too close to his face. I warned him that it was dangerous to do that, because I might accidentally punch him in the face with the pads so close to his face. He didn't care, no matter how many times I adjusted the pads. But then when it was my turn to hold the pads, whereby I did hold them far from MY face, he hit them with full force. And I mean FULL FORCE. C'mon, this is just a drill! This isn't even sparring, and even in sparring, you wouldn't need to hit that hard. After a few hits, I told him to back off a little, as he almost took my arm off by the shoulder (yes, he hit THAT hard), and that at graduation and tournament sparring that kind of punching would NEVER be allowed. But then it happened. He was trying to go so fast and hard that he missed the pad, and hit MY arm, on the inside part about 6 inches below my hand going towards my elbow. All I will say is that it is DAMN lucky he didn't break my arm. I could barely use my arm that well after that. I think he hit a nerve pretty badly, to say the least, because I could barely move my fingers for the rest of the night. I had to have my husband, later, help me get dressed and undressed, that's how bad it was.

We had to break boards, and since my hand was in no shape to be doing an actual hand break, I opted for my elbow, and that was fine. When we went to get our sparring gear on, which was painful for me to do, I went and asked SW if she could order me some forearm pads (I'd been thinking about it anyway), and told her what happened with the new Mr. Blue Belt. She asked if I said anything to him about backing off, and I told her I did, but I was still hurting. She said he was new, and she could quite figure out what his actual background was prior to this, but she suspects some of it was self-taught, and some of it was more from boxing. She had a pair of mismatched forearm pads that she sold to me at a discount since they were mismatched, but at least I have something now. We did things out of order, but my arm just hurt for the rest of the night, especially when doing forms. I couldn't really practice my SJB because my arm and hand hurt that much, so I just practiced with my left hand instead (which needed the work anyway). MZ did give me another huge section of my form, which helped too, but I just have to get the memorization down, and practice that. Thank goodness for the DVD video I have to help me review it if needed.

My arm hurt all the way home, so it was hard to drive, and as I said, my husband had to help me change. All I could do was ice it as much as I could, take an anti-inflammatory, and rest it. It did feel better this morning, and I can move my fingers again with less pain, but oddly enough there's no bruise there, but it still aches quite a bit. I'm just mobile now, and it's not as bad.

It just pisses me off that this kid had no control. I know this is a big issue with my own son, but he's 6 and doesn't know his own strength most of the time. I mean, I know some people reading this have had similar problems with some teens who don't use control, and unfortunately have broken some bones. I was spared this time, but I can tell you for a fact that I've sparred with a lot of the teen boys around here, and I have never felt like I was in danger, even with the ones who were bigger than me and really could wallop a punch if they wanted. Same with the adult men. The trick for that? Yep, you guessed it-- let's sing it like Ms. Jackson---"CONTROL". This kid had NONE. If I am ever paired up with this kid again, I will give him a very stern warning, and if he continues after the warning, then I see no reason to give him a taste of my powerful kick in his teeth.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Mixed Media

You've heard of Mixed Martial Arts, right? Well, in this case, I present to you my newest treasured item:

State Champ Quilt
My State Champ Quiltlet!

You've read on here about my good friend and competitor, Sandy, on this blog often. Sandy is not only a very talented TKD person, but she is also an incredibly talented and creative quilter. She's on a small hiatus from TKD as she has a bad ankle injury that she is healing from, but she came to class today to bring me this beautiful gift. If you can't tell, that's me in the mini quilt! :-) She knew that I really wanted to have a State Champ uniform, but it's just too expensive right now, so she made this as my "Christmas/Valentine's/Mother's Day/Birthday" present. She was very meticulous in the details. She even went as far as to make sure she had the hairstyle and hair color (I'm back to my natural blonde after a year of attempting life as a redhead/strawberry blonde), the color belt I was wearing as the color belt champ when at the tournament when I clinched the points for the title, my name on the back, the Weapons patch, and even the weapons I used for the winning routine. It's better than any uniform I could get, for sure! I can't wait to hang it up somewhere in my house to display it.

How can you beat having friends like that?