Saturday, March 12, 2005

On Display

Saturday morning all-belts class always feels a bit like test day, and today is no different.

Master Hughes expects (and gets) instant response when he yells "OK. Line up."

"Yes sir," we all answer with a bow.

Brian and I stop practicing Palgwe 2 (he has just shown me how to do the whole thing, including a new block) and we wait for the senior belts to line up before we do. There are two new white belts today, so we are not at the bottom.

When we do our stretches I'm always a bit wary. As I have said many times before, I do not like to stretch cold, so today, I did jumping jacks and ran in place before class started. I'm warmer than usual, and can stretch better. Master Hughes isn't satisfied, apparently. He wanders by my and with a evil grin, nudges my foot back a bit. "Meanie!" I whisper. I wonder if others can get away with this. I'm not sure why I can.

Going through the usual battery of kicks, I'm feeling on display, like it's a performance. I do not like this feeling. But Master Hughes is still wandering.

"Jane," he calls out from the middle of the crowd. Jane F. and I look around. "You," he says to me. "Your foot is flexed when you do your front kicks."

I try again.

"You did it again."

"Show me, please," I ask.

He does, grabbing my foot and straightening it. He also critiques my roundhouse kick later.

I'm not the only one on display. He catches one of the children using the wrong leg. On occasion, he'll lift up a child and turn him or her around. He stops white belts and shows them the proper way to do a block--all the way back to the elbow.

No one is safe! But we all know that despite the size of the class, we'll all get personal attention. As a teacher, I need to learn from his approach.

We're all on display during all-belts. I wonder what it would be like to work out facing the mirrors. Would that help or hurt?

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