Saturday, May 03, 2008

Back in the saddle

Well, while Thursday was technically the first day of May, thus the first eligible day of going back to classes, I decided to start back today. And yes, black belt classes are early in the morning, but sorry, Saturday is usually one of the few mornings (Sunday being the other day) that I can try to sleep in a little, so I certainly try. I still needed to get back into it, so I asked Drew if he minded if I took his color belt forms class with him, and he was cool with that. He's better about that sort of thing now. I also figured that since I really haven't been working out since February, even though I've practiced my own form now and then, that starting with a lower rank class was a good way of getting warmed up again on this stuff.

I partnered up with Drew, because a)he wanted it, and b) I knew that I could keep better tabs on him and getting him to cooperate and do what he's supposed to do. We were working on #1 hook kicks, then the hook kicks followed by a round kick. It's not difficult for me, but it's part of their form, and I have hook kicks in my form too, so it worked. I discovered in the process that while I think Drew understands what's required of him, he's not executing it quite right. He swings his leg out to do the hook, rather than the proper execution, which is doing a sidekick, then bringing the "hook" in to kick the pad. The other thing was that instead of hitting the pad with his heel, he was slapping the pad with the whole bottom of his foot. Maybe this is part of his "global" apraxia that he has, whereby his motor planning is not exactly that good. I would show him on his foot where he had to hit, and yet he'd still slap the pad with his foot. Oh well. The other thing was that he wasn't holding the pad correctly. Nobody ever seems to bother to show him. And granted, he was holding for an adult,and that's harder, but he was doing things like not stabilizing his hands or arms, not holding it straight back after the kick is executed (so I'd miss the pad altogether), and holding it near his face (which is a safety hazard). JK asked if it would be helpful if he held for me, being that he's a teenager at adult size, so it'd be easier for him, and Drew got frustrated and walked away. I got my drills in, but it was okay. I had a talk with Drew later and explained that JK was only trying to help, and that it IS hard to hold for a grownup, and it just takes practice.

After the drills, we learned the new segment to IW#2, which incorporated the hook kick/roundkick combination in it. Between BP, who was leading that part of the class and myself, we were able to keep Drew on track. RA was also helping to teach the class, and just to make it more interesting for the kids, he made it into a slight contest. He wanted to see who could do it the best, and he had a tie for doing it in the first direction. The prize was that the person who "won" got to choose which instructor had to do 10 pushups. The boy who got it had JK do it, and the boy got to count the pushups out. The kids liked that. So, RA had them do it on the other side to see who could do it the best. This time around, RA decided to let the best improved person do it, and he chose Drew! Oh, Drew was very excited, but he earned it, for sure. He chose RA, and was very excited that he could do that, as well as be recognized for his good work. BP was relieved that none of the kids picked him! :-P At the end of class, Drew asked if there were any stars or awards that needed to be delivered, I think because he was hoping he'd be rewarded with something. RA decided that since all the kids did well today in class, they all got paper stars, which Drew hasn't gotten one in a long time. (If you get 10 paper stars for good behavior in class, then you get a fabric one for your uniform.) Drew was very excited. When another little boy asked if they could trade stars, just because they were different colors, Drew said sure, and did it happily. He really had a good class.

I had a good class too. My balance is a little off, as I discovered in the drills, but otherwise I've still got it. Not that I've been away THAT long. But it was a good class to go into so I could work on my teaching skills as well get back into the active swing of things, instead of just being on the sidelines. I think Drew is finally starting to make the connection and not be jealous of the fact that I have my 1BD already, and he doesn't. He's catching up, slowly, but surely. By this time next year, hopefully he'll be getting closer to his own 1st degree black belt, so that will be good. And upon hearing that, I think he's starting to feel better and like TKD better too.

When I told him he did a good job today, and I asked him why I thought he did better today and why RA thought he was the most improved, he replied, "Because I participated." That was a good observation. He really WAS participating, and that's a big part of it. He also felt that he had good manners and I reminded him that he had better FOCUS. I also reminded him that if he does all of that all the time, he's going to continue to do really well and be great in TKD. He might think he's good in TKD and knows everything, but sometimes what he does is almost right, and the instructors-- and Mom-- can help him get it ALL right, so he needs to continue to listen and learn. He seemed agreeable to that. At least for now. ;-)

So, I think I'm back to a good start. It was slow and easy, but I still felt like I had a good workout without overdoing it right off the bat. I'm a lot more out of shape than I thought I was, so it's going to be a little tough for a while, but I'm ready. And perhaps if I continue to do this with Drew and be his "mentor" in some classes, then I think he'll start to improve too.

It was cute last night, as we were waiting for Cub Scouts, we bumped into our new neighbor, Mihak, who studies Kung Fu and was going to class with his bo staff. Drew was excited to show Mihak the amount of IW#2 that he knew already, and Mihak was gracious enough to say, "Good job!" (he's a teenager himself). I think when Drew does focus and participates, as he said, he really does enjoy TKD. It's when he doesn't do those things that it's not good.

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