Thursday, February 03, 2005

Sunshine and Chun Jee

I cannot remember the last time the sun shone all day. Today it is not only sunny, but warm. There are small creeks of snow-water flowing down the streets and water drips from the eaves. We go to Tae Kwon Do without our jackets--a bit of an overreaction, but we are feeling good.

Before I even get into the dojang, Eli is showing the teacher that he knows Chun Jee. He makes it ALMOST all the way through without a mistake, and the teacher gives him a red tape stripe for his belt. He is pleased and works hard through the whole class.

Two brothers we've seen before, Alex and Jacob, are there again. Alex, about Robbie's age, has a brown and black belt. Jacob, age 6, is a white belt. Alex is extremely intense during class. He never plays around like the other boys; he's all business. His kicks are neat and powerful, his movements precise. When he practices his flying side kicks, the look on his face is downright scary, and he practically knocks his father--who's holding the pad--right over.

Jacob, on the other hand, is a happy-go-lucky guy. I don't think it's just because he's younger, either. He goofs around with Eli and seems to relish the puppyish rassling around that Eli likes. They play-punch, giggle, and jump on each other until I have to get between them to calm them down. Jacob smiles and is quiet for a moment, but then starts wriggling around on the ground, barking, and his dad calls him over to sit by the wall.

Everyone's having trouble breaking today. I comment that perhaps the humidity makes the boards hard to break. Savaun finally breaks a board, and the teacher calls me up.

"I think jump side kick is going to be too easy for you," he says. "Let's see. What else can you do? How about a front snap kick?"

A moment of panic. "No way!" I say. "I value the balls of my feet too much to do that!" Alex and Jacob's dad laughs. "OK," says Mr. Houtz. "Step side kick then."

It is too easy; I knew it would be. The board snaps on my second try. I start to wonder if I should have tried the front snap kick. I suppose I'll have to lose my fear of damaging myself if I want to keep going. I need to see someone do it first, and ask if it hurt. Kicking something witha heel is one thing--with the balls of your feet is completely different. At least I'd think so.

Before I leave, I pick up three test applications. We'll all be there on the 12th.

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