Sunday, February 19, 2006


On the one hand
I always look for Ms. Pryor's car when I come to class on Saturday. She used to teach Saturdays; seems like it would be a good day for her to come back if she were going to come back.

But her little Vibe wasn't there, as usual.

Nor are the vehicles of many of my TKD friends--Brian's Jeep isn't there, nor is Brian A.'s white van, or June's big vehicle with out-of-state plates.

When I get upstairs, Justin is there, but looks down. Another friend looks like she's going to quit Tae Kwon Do--Chelsea. I'm shocked. Chelsea is one of our best young black belts.

"Why is she going to quit?"

"I don't know. She's a teenager," says Justin. And lots of his other friends have gone to another school. Today, with many of my classmates missing from class, I have a small sense of what it must be like.

On the other hand
Robbie is with me today, dressed in his uniform. He's happy to be at the dojang. "Is Justin teaching?" he asks before we go in. "Yes. He always teaches on Saturday," I answer. "Good," says Robbie.

Also, Master Hughes stays around after the children's class for a bit. We are talking about the fact that I need to do a "hand technique" for one of my next board breaks. I'm worried.

"Look at these bones," I say, rolling up a sleeve to show my thin arm. "My doctor says they're just barely normal in terms of density."

Master Hughes isn't worried. He and Justin tell me that I'll be able to do a front elbow break. They show me how to do it. "I don't know," I say. It seems doubtful.

Master Hughes goes off and returns with . . . a board.

"OK. You need to coach me through this," I tell them. They show me the way to stand (deep front stance) how to hold my arms and hands (one fist in the other palm, elbows out).

They hold the board out. I focus, breathe, ki-hap, and break the board.

"Ouch!" Oops. I bow and thank them. "It's amazing what I can do!" I tell them.

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