Wednesday, April 16, 2008

He's movin' on up!

I know, I know, this blog has seemingly died since I stopped classes for a bit. Life has been just too crazy, but I'm hoping that I might be able to start classes again in May. But I'm glad I've taken the break. I needed it. And after having a visit with Sandy the other day, who started back this past cycle at her school (where things are really changing a lot),and so much of what we talked about was TKD. Of course, she was teasing me that she's a cycle ahead of me now, and naturally, I reminded her that if I hadn't taken the cycle off, I'd be tied with her, thank you very much. ANd when I told SW that conversation, she teased that Sandy and I are worse than some of the kids. I retorted, "But she started it!" and SW replied, "See? There's my proof." :-P

Anyway, Drew has still been going to class, and tonight was graduation night. Before the graduation, there were a bunch of kids, some of them older and higher ranked than Drew, who were running around on the mats and goofing off. There was one boy in particular, I think his name is HL, who is a real troublemaker and he's a half-orange, half-white (which means he's just bumped up his first rank). I've seen him in his class while Drew takes his class on the opposite mat, and this HL kid seems to be trouble. Several times, I actually got up and yelled at these kids, especially this HL kid. When he got in Drew's face and tried to attack Drew, and I could tell that Drew wanted to retaliate REALLY badly, I got up and told the kid off, then instructed Drew that if HL acted up again to tell SW or one of the other instructors, because they would discipline him and tell his mom. Sure enough, when NK started to yell at the kids herself, Drew was sure to tell her about HL's antics. Not in a tattletale way, but rather factually. She appreciated him telling her, and she told me later that she was glad that he said something to her rather than get in trouble himself. That was a big step forward for him.

So, graduation started, and he was one of the first to go up with little JS. JS is a little girl (and I mean tiny!) who just turned 5, and whom Drew has deemed as "very cute". Even JS's mom teased, "Hey, is your son trying to pick up my daughter?" :-P Even though JS has a big brother who is a 1st degree black belt (he's 11, but he's not much taller than Drew, and he's a nice kid who tries to help Drew during classes), I think Drew thinks of himself like a big brother to her. He's very gentle and sweet and careful around her, knowing that she's a lot smaller than him. Both of them are "Tiny Tigers" (Drew just for one more cycle, then when he turns 7, he won't be anymore), so they end up doing stuff together very often. Anyway, they had to do their forms and weapons together, and I reminded Drew not to crowd next to JS, as they had the WHOLE floor to use. Well, they were doing great, and Drew was answering up and everything, showing great discipline.

Here's Drew getting ready to do his form. (You can see JS next to him.)

Power move!

Anyway, at one point, Drew actually got a little carried away in the movement he was doing (I believe it was an inner crescent kick followed immediately with a reverse side kick), and he lost his balance and fell. I was afraid he was going to start crying or have a meltdown, but SW just assured him it was okay and to just get up and continue. And sure enough, he did. (I think the "power move" above happened right after that.) He got through, and finished nicely. He did a decent JB freestyle form (aka freestyle bo kata), where again, he dropped his JB, but he just picked it up and kept going. He got the whole back floor to himself. Hey, at least he got up and did it! At this stage, he isn't required to do weapons, but it's good practice, because when he IS required to do it, it will feel normal for him to do it.

Lastly, he did his sparring. JS and he were ready first, and Drew promised, as did JS (hee hee), that they would remember that it was graduation sparring, otherwise as no contact sparring, or for them, no touching sparring (no contact doesn't always compute in the mind of a little one, y'know). Drew and JS went at it, and for most of the time, Drew just let JS attack him. He did defend himself, but he wasn't aggressive towards her at all like he would be if it was another boy his size. I was really surprised, but pleased nonetheless. JS's parents were too. (Yes, I'm friends with the family at the school, as JS's dad also takes classes now, and we see them all the time. Nice family.) When it was all said and done, Drew had really controlled himself during the sparring, and even though he didn't show his sparring skills fully, I think that self-control was HUGE, and that in itself was noteworthy. In fact, JZ, who was judging the sparring, made a point of coming over and complimenting Drew on his actions and doing so well.

The rest of the graduation, Drew had to sit patiently and wait, watching board breakers and other people doing their forms. Normally, after a while, he'd get fussy and fidgety. Not today. He sat patiently and clapped for other people, and cheered the board breakers and everything. He behaved beautifully.

I was very proud of Drew today. We've had a lot of things going on whereby he has acted out lately, and there have been things where he hasn't, so it's hard to know when he's going to react to things. Today showed that he could be the good boy-- and have a black belt attitude-- when he puts his mind to it. I was REALLY proud of him. Super proud.

And naturally, he's proud of his new belt. He's now a half-purple, half-green belt (purple recommended). Next belt: Full purple. And his last one earned as a Tiny Tiger. After that, he will have to know full form from that point on, starting with learning stuff for his blue belt. No more half belts until red-black (aka 1BR).

Good Job!

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