Friday, July 18, 2008

It's been a month already? Gee....

I hadn't realized that it'd been a month since I last posted here. Well, then again, it doesn't seem like there's much to write about. About a week or so after the last graduation, Drew did "boot camp" in which they cram the whole summer's curriculum in a week, so that way they can take the summer off and not lose any momentum in moving up in ranks or midterms. It seemed like a good solution for Drew, and he was ready this year. It was also good daycare for a week as well! He lost so much ground not going for 6 months last year, that I didn't want him falling behind too much, especially when he's finally starting to get with the program, so to speak. He was excited to do CJ#1, I know that. I was sad that I didn't get to go to the graduation for the boot camp. SW put it at 11 AM-- what drug was she on, especially with most parents working? So JC went and took some photos and video. As usual, JC doesn't know what he's photographing or filming, so it wasn't much. But what little I could tell is that he generally has pretty good technique, and just has to have it smoothed out some more. Since they technically can't give them the belts until the actual regular summer graduation (which I didn't know), Drew was very upset and disappointed that he didn't have his blue belt. But, he should be a blue belt. He did the work, which is good. He's now halfway through his curriculum, and now that he isn't a Tiny Tiger anymore, things should move a lot faster now. Depending on how things go in the next year, he should get his 1BD this time next year or so.

For me, I'm a little behind because of taking that break a couple months back. And to be honest, I haven't had much motivation other than I paid for the services that I should actually show up for class sort of thing. (I'm still on the premium plan, unfortunately.) After finally getting past the midterm with the board breaks (no sparring--yay!) and the single SJB, I finally get to move on with the single BME. Sandy was kind enough to lend me her "fancy" BME, which is balanced very differently than the one I've been using. It feels better in my hand. If fate decides that she is to no longer take TKD, I'm thinking of offering to buy it from her. In the meantime, I've decided that there's no way that I can do the August tournament. It's only 2 weeks away, and for me, the purpose is to compete in weapons, even though you have to competed in forms and sparring too. But they are not my forte', weapons are. And I don't even have that much of the form down. I was having the same problem that I was having when I was learning the sword, namely that I was getting too many different versions, and it was confusing the hell out of me. I was actually happy that SW was there, because a)weapons is her specialty, so she knows it VERY well, and b)being the head of the school, her way is the ONLY way in the end...her version will always be the official/right way. So, she backed me up, and only got me up to a certain point even thought I learned more. My problem, as usual, is transitions. I swear as much as I was looking forward to doing this form, there's no way I could learn the whole thing in two weeks. At this point, I'll feel lucky if I learn half of it by the August graduation (which is about a month away). I'm just feeling very stupid right now that it's not coming to me more quickly. Oddly enough, SW was talking tonight about gaining better self-esteem in learning and practicing certain techniques, and sure enough, I wasn't feeling any of that. In my "regular" life, I've been gaining a lot of self-esteem in my new job, as my new boss loves me and doesn't want to lose me. After being a SAHM for 7-8 years, I'm finally back in the IT world, and found a perfect fit for me for where I left off, and I'm doing pretty well with it. So imagine going to TKD, where I've done fairly decently for a while, and between feeling exhausted physically and mentally from the new job, running around to camp, and then trying to not be bored with the rest of TKD, that the one challenge I have I can't master. Now, it's not that the moves are hard. It's still very new, but for some reason my brain isn't absorbing it as fast as I really should be learning it. It's incredibly frustrating that I found myself fighting back tears tonight being so angry at myself and feeling so stupid. I know I'll get it eventually. Once I master it, I MASTER it. I passed on sparring, a) because my knee has been hurting again, and I'm afraid to tempt fate, and b) I wanted to try to work on this section of the weapons form instead, because that needs more help than my sparring.

Just to break this up a little, I found the form on YouTube (after some searching). I'm not even a quarter of the way through this, and after watching this, man, I have a lot of work to do to make it look THIS good:

I guess the good news from tonight was that I mastered two new board breaks. The first one was a hand break-- a punch. Yes, an outright punch. The trick was to use the knuckles of your index and middle finger, and having the twist, speed and technique. SW had me do it on wood as well, just because if I missed on plastic, it would hurt like the dickens and it could still break even if it wasn't perfectly centered. Additionally, it doesn't hurt that wood is a little more pliable, one could say. (You know I'm a big advocate of wood.) The good news is that when I finally went to do it after a few painful practices, I did it, and about as close down the middle as you can get, so that was good. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, it was rather painful. With a glove, it'd be easier, for sure. I was afraid that perhaps I had done hairline fractures of my knuckles (I've had them before, but from volleyball, believe it or not, so I know the signs), and my knuckles didn't swell too much, and I could still move them quite a bit. After some icing when I got home, they are fine enough to be doing this typing! :-P So that was the first one.

After class, there was a board breaking seminar that I went to check out. JK was running it, and it was mostly kids, but there were enough adults. I was probably the second highest ranked adult there over the age of 18. ;-) The other adults were BU, who is a 2BD, and the other three were color belts. We had some good drills, and then we were encouraged to try a break from the next rank up or a variation of something you already know. Since my hand was busted up from the last class, a hand technique was out of the question. And besides, my heels and the balls of my feet can handle a lot more torture than my hands. I need my hands more than my feet, I've learned over time! LOL Anyway, it was suggested that I do a reverse hook kick, which didn't seem like it'd be too hard since it's much like a reverse side kick...with a hook at the end. So, I gave it a whirl, and fortunately, that came pretty easy-- with a plastic board, no less. So, I was pretty happy about that. I was also asked to help the little kid color belts with their breaks. I was helping one little girl we'll call BSM (hyphenated last name with the last two letters). Drew is not a fan of her older brother T, and she has a younger sister as well. I could tell that she really wasn't learning the sidekick technique that she wanted to do completely properly, so I slowed it down, and knowing that she takes dance, and was trying to get her to understand that one of her feet was in a ballet 1st position, and that's how you form the T, then I reminded her of the "table" when she chambers her kick, and then had her be more aware of her doing the break with her heel and not her toes. I think she was starting to get it more as we did it, and when she was finished practicing and did her actual break, her method was more dead on that it had been, so I was feeling a little proud about that. I was also helping coach another little boy named MO, who has this horrible habit of rushing things as well as checking for the approval from his parents, and not really thinking about what he's doing. His dad is one of those, "Do what they say, M! Yell loudly, M! etc." Kinda of like a sideline dad, but the difference is that when I do it from the sidelines with Drew, I actually know what I'm talking about, and this dad doesn't. I had to get M to focus on where his body was in relation to the board. He was doing a reverse elbow. This is not a break I do well because the back stance you need to do this break effectively is one that hurts my knees, so I can't do the break. BUT, I know where I would be making mistakes, and MO was making them worse, so I had to make him realize that he wasn't doing a side elbow, but a back elbow, and had to get him to understand that back stance, and lining up the direction of his arm with the line on the board where he had to break it. I explained it to his parents that he was looking at the board too much. He has to look at it out of the corner of his eye, or else he twists too much in the break. Once he did it the way I showed him, he broke it properly, which I was happy about as well. Maybe I do have the teaching thing in me. But to cram my material and all the color belt material in again would be hard, so perhaps teaching will continue to elude me for a while still.

So, that's about the extent of what's been going on. Classes are on hiatus for Drew until the Fall, and for me, they are not that exciting, to be honest. Yes, the BME form is proving to be challenging, and that's the only thing that's keeping it interesting, but frustrating at the same time. Oh well. Just have to keep chugging along. Send some karma that this form-- or at least the half of the form I have to know for the next graduation next month will actually be learned and retained successfully!

And for your ATA TKD pleasure, here's my favorite ATA eye candy, Taekwon Lee, in the video intro to the 2003 World Championships:

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