Saturday, March 01, 2008

Gumdo isn't a soup, and other tricks too.

I unexpectedly attended a seminar at the ATA last night that my friend Sandy had somewhat talked me into going to. See, normally on a Friday night, I'm off playing Den Leader for Drew's Tiger Cub Scout group. But, I cancelled out meeting, and I had a free night. I had thought about going to the Haidong Gumdo seminar, which I had taken last year, but when Sandy asked if she could borrow my sword, I said she could use it, and I'd just have a free night. Then, here we are, emailing each other at midnight, and she convinces me to go, as she can also borrow a sword from SW. Fine, I'll go!

I get there an hour early-- by accident. I thought that the seminar started at 6:30 PM, but it started at 7:30 PM. I could've taken the 6:30 class, but man, it was packed, and well, I just wasn't up to it. Instead, I chatted with some moms and caught up with them. I had planned on doing some knitting, since I had it with me instead. I think the social time was more helpful to me and my mental state than doing the class or knitting.

Class started, and both the instructors who taught it last year taught it to us. It was all basics, and that's fine. I'm glad I had done the seminar last year and done a cycle of sword a year ago, as it helped me understand it much better this year. It was a more simplified seminar than last year, since a)it was mostly younger kids, and b)it was only an hour this time instead of a two and a half hour seminar. (If it wasn't 2 1/2 hrs last year, it was at least two hours.) AS irked me, as he was like, "Oh, I know this stuff," but he'd goof off and not focus, and wield his wooden sword, and wouldn't watch was he was doing, and not pay attention at all. Pretty bad for a 15 year old! Some of the stretches were a little easier, and in a conversation after the seminar, one of the instructors and I were discussing knee issues, and she said that this form was easier on the knees than regular TKD. (She is a 1st degree in Songham TKD, being, as SW would say, a non-training student of hers.) It's something to think about. It's also very intensive on the upper body. Although it's never been formally diagnosed, based on my son, I think I have a very mild case of upper body hypotonia, which is that I have denser muscles and they tire out more easily, so it's harder for me to build upper body strength. But it's something to think about for the future if my knee really gets bad enough. So it was a good night, and I caught up on all sorts of ATA gossip and news and hanging out a little with Sandy.

Today was a good class day for Drew overall. In forms class, he had the wiggles as usual, and I actually sat and knit, trying not to pay attention. From what I could tell from the few times I glanced up, he was doing pretty well. During drills, they were working on doing double round kicks, namely doing two round kicks without putting your foot down. The idea is that the first is high, and the second is higher. The boy he was paired up with during drills was older, and he didn't seem to always understand that the pad had to go a little higher, especially if Drew was doing the second kick higher. Oh well. BP, who was teaching the class noticed, and I heard him compliment Drew for doing some great kicks. Drew really is very good when he puts his mind to it. I'll have to tell you about his sidekick demo in a moment outside the ATA, but I'll tell you that later.

In the meantime, since this cycle the kids can do either single SJB or JB, Drew chose JB (aka bo staff) for this cycle, as it's his favorite weapon. Granted, he swings it around a little too much, but he's getting better control of it. I was a little surprised that he wanted to stay for weapons class, but that was fine by me-- we didn't have any special plans for the day, and if he stays, more power to him if he wants to learn. Today, they were trying to teach the kids how to do something whereby with one hand they flip the staff around their hand and catch it. You heard a lot of plopping sounds echoing off the mats from the kids trying not to hit each other and dropping their JBs on the floor a lot. BP also made sure that they learned to do it with both hands. With some practice, Drew was actually getting the hang of it, and was very excited to demonstrate it to me. I think as he starts to pay attention more, and not get as frustrated in practicing, he is getting better, and is starting to enjoy it. He was in a good mood when he got out of the weapons class, which is always the preferred way to have Drew after class-- happy.

The sidekick story now. Yesterday, I had to go to the chiropractor for an adjustment. The partner who saw me yesterday is also a certified sports chiropractor, and knows some extra advanced techniques to help with some sports injuries, and so I mentioned the fact that after doing some sidekick stuff about a month ago or so, my right hip joint was still bothering me, and asked if he could check it out. Now, this partner also has his own 1st degree black belt in TKD, so he understands all the lingo and jargon that I throw at him, and if I say that we were doing all these sidekick exercises, then he has a better idea of which muscle group area to target when doing his exam. Since Drew's school is quite nearby, I had picked him up from school before the appointment, and brought him along to the "back doctor", since he's quite familiar with them, and that way, I didn't have to worry about him. He's often the doctor's helper for Mom. Well, yesterday, I was explaining that it was some sidekick stuff that did this to me a while back, and Drew starts to explain in great detail how to do a sidekick, as in a sidekick break, since SW had just taught him the other day how to do it. He remembered his "T" (foot positioning), and his chamber and rechamber, and whoosh! I could even hear his kick even though I was not looking at him directly, just listening. Dr. L was very impressed and was like, "WOW! He's got really good form, doesn't he?" Proudly, I could tell him that I agreed. Drew was also proud to tell him that he was a green belt now, and Dr. L said it showed, and that in turn made Drew proud of himself.

It's taken a very long time to get Drew to this point, where he's actually starting to not mind classes, and focus better, and really start to make some significant progress. I'm glad that I didn't let him quit entirely, as it's starting to pay off. I still feel that if we can get him to focus more, not get so frustrated, and really listen and do what he's told, he can really be an outstanding martial artist. He's got some of his mother's dancing genes in him, which means that he's very fluid in his actions, and he sees how it can all come together as if it were a dance and how smooth it looks when everything is done right. He still has a long way to go towards his black belt, and once he turns 7, he won't be a Tiny Tiger anymore, and won't get help from an instructor during testing, and he'll need to learn the full form, not just the half form. That will be a big challenge for him. But I think with some patience, he'll get through it fine. By the summer, he should be getting his purple belt, which is just shy of halfway through the curriculum. If he continues through the summer, or goes to boot camp, he will be halfway through. Then, it will be at least one more year, hopefully, until he gets his black belt. Yeah, I think age 8 will be a good age to get a black belt for him. But we'll see. I'm not going to push anything, but I am definitely encouraged by not only this year, but especially more recent events for him.

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