Sunday, December 11, 2005

A good test

Recently, TKD promotional tests have been grueling for me, not only because they're long and demanding, but also because I haven't done my best at them, making mistakes on my forms, having trouble breaking, etc. etc. They've been a test of endurance, mostly.

Saturday, though, I actually had a good test. I feel like I did my best, for a change.

Christmas at the dojang
Lights, a Christmas tree, wrapping paper on the women's changing room door. Ribbons hanging from the ceiling. Nice Christmas decorations, put up by "the girls," I guess the middle school girls. They did a nice job.

Master Hughes also hung up some plaques and other items. One plaque celebrates his induction into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame. The place looks nice!

Mostly good
Most of the test went really well for me. I felt focused, perhaps especially because I was at the end of a line with only Aimee next to me. That was nice, not to have people on both sides. I felt strong during basic moves, and was very relieved that I was not called on to say what goes next. (Our school has a set order for doing the "ten basic moves" and I do not know it)

We lined up to do our kicks, and I was having a good run of it; even my wheel kicks were good.


The floors seem slipperier during winter, maybe because my feet aren't as sweaty. So when I went around on one of my wheel kicks, my foot just slipped right out from under me and I went down, and I mean DOWN! It didn't hurt, luckily; I must have been relaxed enough not to jar anything.

Still: how embarassing! For about one second I thought, "I hope no one saw that." The next second I heard, echoing across the dojang, lot of voices: "Are you OK, Jane?" "Are you OK, Jane?" "Are you OK, Jane?"

Black Belts
One cool thing about this test is that the black belt candidates tested with us instead of testing later in the afternoon.

I've never been able to stay for a BB test, so it was really cool to see what they did. Noah and Tanner were testing for junior black belt, and Paul was testing for his temporary black belt (which is the adult level.)

They were all up in front of the rest of us, and they were watched closely as they did their basic moves and forms. Noah and Tanner had to do their forms a couple of times for Master Hughes; they're expected to do their forms with perfection!

Paul, though, didn't just have to do one form: black belts testing for the regular, adult belt have to do ALL the forms. That would be . . . 14? anyway, a lot! We all stood and watched while Master Hughes told him which forms to perform. "Won Hyo and Palgwe 4." "OK. Turn to your left. Now Yul Gok and Palgwe 2." (As far as I could tell, the forms were done in a random order."

He did an excellent job, performing the forms with precision, power, and wonderful memory. There were a couple of times when he got stuck, but he just stopped and restarted and finished the forms. We all erupted into spontaneous cheers and applause at various times.

I did well at sparring, too! I sparred a boy named Jacob, who clearly does not want to do TKD. But then I sparred Aimee and Curt, both good challenges in different ways. I was glad to notice that judges were wandering by and noticing. I want to be good at sparring, good enough to notice. I will work at it until I am, or until I have another phase of sparring angst.

When it doesn't go well . . .
After the test, Brian said that he hadn't done well on his form.

"So, OK, let's do it now, so you can feel good about it before you leave," I suggested. I gave my camera to Kevin, and ran through the form with Brian. We both did just fine, and Kevin got photos.

One Family
Master Hughes gave a nice inspirational speech at the end of the test about how we are all one family at our school. He wanted even people who come sporadically to feel part of the group.

As usual, he told everyone to "go hug your mom and dad and tell them thanks. They're the most important people in the room." There were lots of moms and dads there with cameras, grandmas and grandpas, like always at a test!

It made me aware of how much TKD at our school (and elsewhere) is centered on children--on educating them in TKD, in teaching them discipline, respect, how to deal with conflict. It's cool.

It also made me aware of how different my situation is than most other adults there. Adults who are moms and dads are almost all there with their children. I am not. My kids quit, but I stayed on! Odd. So whenever I go to TKD, I'm leaving my family behind, which is always a bit awkward.

Still, I do feel that there's something about TKD that brings us as students close together, like family. Maybe it's the trust we need to have in each other, the way we see each other fail and succeed. The way we sweat together.

My family wasn't there watching. But my TKD family was all around me!


Anonymous said...

Just a quick comment about having a "TKD family" -
My school's Christmas party was this past weekend. For the past 6 weeks, however, I've missed classes because of an injury. Seeing my old "gang" of TKD friends at the party made me realize how much I've missed them, and how much I care about them! Many of them are people who, but for tae kwon do, I would never have had the privilege of getting to know. But through TKD, we've shared blood, sweat and tears - and more importantly, respect and friendship.
Happy Holidays! Kicker Chick

Anonymous said...

I just recently found your blog. I am a 40 something Tae Kwom Do Mom as well. My two girls quit last spring, and I have continued. I have been doing this for three years. I really enjoy reading your thoughts on TKD. I take class early on Saturday morning with other adults, and I have stuck with our schools family class on Sunday, even though I am not there with the girls any more. My husband takes the advanced class on weeknights as he works right near where we take the classes. I also think its a little strange to go without the kids, but TKD has become an important part of my life.