Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Another teacher

As we come around from the top of the stairs, we see Ms. Pryor warming up in the dojang.

"Oh no. Ms. Pryor!" says Eli.

Ms. Pryor is the other head teacher at our dojang. She has a reputation of making students work very hard. But I find her an excellent teacher as well--she's very good instructing one-on-one.

She has a 3rd degree blackbelt (at least) and is a sparring champion. This is obvious when you work out with her--she's fast and bold. I'm encouraged by the fact that she's so good at sparring--she's not much taller than I am and slender with smooth, shoulder-length blonde hair. She's all muscle, though! I remember the time she demonstrated her flying side kick and broke a stack of three boards. Ms. Pryor is a real athlete and won a "woman sportsman" trophy of some sort at the last tournament. She is intense and serious, a no-nonsense teacher.

Ms. Pryor keeps good order in class, too. Perhaps it's the intimidation factor--everyone knows her rep. More likely her no-nonsense, intense approach is contagious. The children trot into place with "yes Ma'ams" and mostly keep from chattering during class. My boys bow and say "yes Ma'am" which makes me proud. Robbie listens to her advice and Eli doesn't fuss when she fixes his stances during each move of Chun Ji.

We also work on proper form during kicks ("turn that back foot" could be a tape recording in every lower-level TKD class, I think!) and power roundhouse kicks. In a power roundhouse kick, you turn and kick with the top of your foot, following all the way through instead of snapping your leg back to the chambered position. She stops the boys to make sure they're doing it right.

"Robbie, your leg's going straight up. The roundhouse needs to come around in a big arc. If you go straight up, you'll glance off the side of your opponent's head. You want to knock him back like this."

She demonstrates, slowing and pulling up short of Robbie's head. He smiles. "Yes, Ma'am."

After class, I thank her for filling in today.

"You had to put up with all these little boys," I note.

"Oh, I don't mind boys. I have two myself, you know."

We talk briefly about parenting boys before she heads out. It's the first time I've had a non TKD conversation with her--different from my easier-going relationships with Mr. Houtz and Master Hughes.

Each teacher here has slightly different approaches. I like them all--and I like the different ways I can learn from them.

No comments: