Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Most of the interesting things at TKD happened after class was over last night.

This is not to say that class wasn't good. It was. Master Hughes had us go through Chun Ji, then watched us do our forms. I did fine, except for a few minor problems--Master Hughes corrected my hand position ("that thumb needs to be like the trigger of a gun").

We worked on combination kicking, too. My partner was Nolan, and I'm very glad I wasn't sparring him. Those young teens (boys) just have no control over their kicks. I could tell that I would have probably gotten hit by him if I'd been sparring. And he could kick high, too, so it might have been my head.

My hook kick is still not the best. We practiced kicking for a while, and my heel is feeling the consequences this morning--I'm wearing clogs because it hurt too much to have shoes on. I think I'm not doing the kick right.

Master Hughes helped me again, patiently, and gave me lots of encouragement. "You'll get it," he said. OK. I want to get it once, to break for the test, and I'll never use it to break again. Like the wheel kick.

Mid-way through warmups, Master Hughes asked me if I'd ever done the Tango. "Not yet," I said. He said that he'd been at a Tango class over the weekend, and that he'd enjoyed it.

Later, after he helped me with my hooking kick, he told me about dancing with a ballet studio. "Mr. Houtz got me into that," he said. He talked about lifting dancers up, demonstrating behind me. "Oh, like this," I said, and put his hands on my hips. "Go ahead." He did a nice lift! Of course, strong guys have a tendency to lift too long, rather than just assist the dancer in her jump.

Actually, I bet many of the men (and boys) at our school would be excellent at ballet. Like ballet, TKD teaches strength and graceful movement, not to mention how to work with another person. Still, I don't know if they could get past the stereotypes about ballet!

I hadn't noticed, but at the end of class, a woman had appeared with a nice video camera. As we were getting boards signed, etc., she was talking with Master Hughes. Apparently, she's from the community college where Stacey works, and she was working on a little feature piece about Stacey's life in TKD.

Stacey wasn't there last night, but the filmer wanted to look around and make sure her camera would work in this light. Master Hughes volunteered to be a model, and demonstrated lots of cool moves. I took pictures, but, as usual, my digital camera didn't really capture the action.

Domestic Dude
After class, I also showed Justin how to sew a button on his suit. I told him that sewing on a button was "a life skill." Brian A. agreed. "I sewed up these pants," he said, showing us the nice, neat hem he'd made on a sewing machine. We assured Justin that women find this kind of domestic competence to be an attractive quality in men.

Testing when you're ready
The taekwondomom also had a conversation with Cavio last night. I asked her if she was going to be at the test on Saturday to judge. She wasn't sure, and she wasn't completely happy with the way testing is done at our school.

"Two months just isn't enough time to master two forms and a new kick."

"What was it like at your old school?" I asked.

"I was at the school for two months before I even got my white belt," she said. "And it took 3 months to get my yellow, and another three months to get my orange. I was there 7 1/2 years before I got my black belt, and they thought that was fast."

"So was testing every three months, or did they tell you when you could test?" I asked.

"My instructor told me when I was ready. Then the tests were small, maybe 8 people testing and 4 judges."

I like this idea, especially the individualized approach.

When I was in graduate school, I worried a bit about passing my oral exam for my doctorate, and also about passing the defense of my dissertation (that's the long, scholarly paper one writes as a doctoral candidate). But my advisor told me, "I won't let you take the orals until I think you're ready to pass." So I just read and studied until I was told I could take the test.

For this test, I feel like I'm ready. I should ask Master Hughes if he thinks I'm really ready to pass.

No comments: