Thursday, February 10, 2005

Last class before our test

We get to the dojang early today--Eli's idea. He's excited about the test and skitters around the room once he's outfitted (still needs me to get his jacket tied up). Robbie approaches Mr. Houtz with his sign-up sheet for the Jump Rope for Hearts project. Mr. Houtz asks me to run through Palgwe 1, which is difficult considering the chaos. Eventually we get started.

The class goes more smoothly today. The new students seem to be catching on and don't need separate tutoring. We also do flying side kicks, something I used to dread. I'm getting a bit better at them, and the black belt holding the pad says encouraging things.

The best part of class today, though, is after class--standing around and chatting with Mr. Hughes and Mr. Houtz. Our conversation, though short, is relaxed and friendly. Talking with them makes me feel young--later I realize it reminds me of being in college, where I'd chat with guys like that regularly. The two of them are obviously good friends, yet they seem to enjoy our presence--their friendship doesn't exclude us. Both men listen to the boys and treat them kindly, not condescendingly. Both Robbie and Eli really look up to them.

Funny how in my life, I just don't hang out with men too often. My officemates are women. I take ballet. I like to sew and crochet, girl things. Despite the presence of girls and women there--most notably Ms. Pryor--Tae Kwon Do feels to me like a male domain where women can also belong, kind of the opposite of ballet. I like the androgyny of it, being able to go somewhere to learn to be strong, to fight (!), to yell, kick, and punch.

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