Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ballet Week

(That photo is not of me; it's just from the web. I keep forgetting to have Suki take pictures during our rehearsals, but I wanted a photo!)

Feeling a bit nervous as this is the week of rehearsals before Sunday's ballet recital. The teachers were glad to have us adults doing a number--gave the younger students some time to change costume, etc. Glad to know we're appreciated!

So, this week:
Tues: 11 a.m. class, rehearsal (we worked a bit extra on the tour jetés and lifts)

Thurs: 11:30 a.m. class, rehearsal.

4 p.m. Tech rehearsal starts at Paramount. We're on at "8:20-8:30" (the times crack me up--it's hard for me to imagine the Tech rehearsal will run smoothly enough for those 10-minute windows to be correct!)

(If my guys want to see the show, I may invite them to come to this rehearsal or Sunday's--so they can see it, but don't have to stay for the whole thing.)

(Will they want to see it? I don't know. They didn't stay for the liturgical dance on Easter, nor did they see the last recital I was in.)

Sun: 8:30 a.m. call for final rehearsal; we're on sometime after 11:15.

4:00 p.m. call for 6:00 p.m. recital, which will supposedly be done by 8:25. (this cracks me up, too; there are more than 2 dozen dances!)

OK. Having it down here in print makes it seem more reasonable. We have 3 more rehearsals, two on the actual stage, and can go over the dance a couple times on Thursday. I guess we'll be ready.

Next week will be TKD week, I promise! Test day coming up June 10!

Monday, May 29, 2006


Memorial Day is one of those "small" holidays for us--big enough to mean there's no school, but too short to travel to have a picnic with family or to plant the geraniums on Grandma and Grandpa H.'s cemetery plot (what we always did when I was a kid).

So it's just our little family.

Last year, we visited a cemetery in a small town east of here. It's an old one, overgrown, and it's filled with wildflowers. This year, we went again, mostly to see the wildflowers, but also to visit a cemetery on this appropriate day.

Lots of the grave markers are worn so badly that they're hard to read, but some still tell a story. "Sarah E.," one said, "aged 29 years 4 months. Devoted wife, loving mother, trusted friend." She died mid-19th century, probably after childbirth, I'd guess.

Another monument was labeled with 4 names, all babies who died before they were a year old.

There were a few veterans' graves, marked with little flags, probably put there by the local VFW. This one said the soldier had fought in Korea.

It all made me think about soldiers and warriors. Many martial arts commentators and writers say that we are learning to be warriors. We certainly are learning to fight. And I've chosen this way, this "do"--to learn how to fight, though I'm far from being an aggressive person.

What about soldiers? Are they warriors?

After we visited the cemetery, we visited a museum that had an exhibit on the 1960s. There were photos and posters showing American soldiers in Viet Nam. One in particular caught my eye. The soldier was in full uniform, with some kind of ammunition on him and a gun; he wore a helmet. But his face--it was young. He didn't look aggressive or brave. He looked dazed. He was probably the age of my college students--the average age of soldiers in that war was 22. So he might have been younger, too, the age of Justin or Cavio (Cavio says she's going to join the army).

The guy in the poster didn't look like a warrior. He looked like a young man doing a job he was told to do, a scary job.

Ms. Pryor says her older son, a high school junior now, wants to join the Marines. She's not happy about it.

"But you were in the service--why not him?" I ask. Ms. Pryor was in the army, someone told me.

"There's a war on now," she reminds me. "A stupid war. Of course, he's 17. He doesn't think he'll get killed."

And that's what most armies need, isn't it? Is that a mark of a warrior, too?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

How the workout started . . .

Only 5 students in class today--it's a holiday weekend. Ms. Pryor is teaching. After we stretch, she has us each take a pen and a board and to write down answers to a few questions.

Here are the questions and my answers:

What's the most challenging move for you: turning kicks, especially wheel kicks
What would you like to work on today: the above plus board breaking
What are you good at/what do you enjoy doing: flying side kick, sparring
What will you break with today: jump reverse kick

Ms. Pryor reads the boards.

"Class line up!"

"Yes, ma'am."

And we get started.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Working out alone

I'm at the college in the middle of the day. I have about 30 minutes before I need to be somewhere and I'm going to use them to work on forms. I grab some workout clothes and go across the street to the college's racquet center where Brian and I work out on Wednesday mornings.

"Could you turn the lights on in one of the back racquetball courts?" I ask the girl at the desk.

The court has one glass wall, and I can see my reflection in it, like the mirror at ballet. I face that way and go through my new form, Palgwe 6, a few times. Then I stop and go over some of the middle moves that give me trouble. I do this about 5 or 6 times.

It reminds me of practicing flute or piano, how my teachers told me to isolate the measures that gave me trouble and play them slowly, then faster until I could get through them without trouble.

Then it's on to Chun Gun. That one also needs some work. I figure out the troublesome moves, run them a few times, then the whole form.

It's just those two forms today, but it's enough. By the end of the 30 minutes, I'm too tired to do them with any power at all. But it's been helpful.

When you do a form with someone else, it's easy to watch out of the corner of your eye, so you don't have to rely completely on your memory. But alone--that really makes you realize what you do and don't know. I guess that's what today's practice was all about.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


The weather has finally taken a turn toward summer here. Last night we had thunderstorms roll through, and today it's humid and alternately sunny and overcast.

It feels like summer.

Yesterday at ballet, we noticed the difference. After class and rehearsal, Lehrin and I talked about it. "It's really hot!" she said, wiping her face with her towel. "Yeah, I'm remembering what summer ballet classes are like," I replied, fanning myself with the curtains.

Advantage: the hot humid weather makes stretching easier. Disadvantage: being wringing wet at the end of class. Because ballet is hard work--fun and beautiful, but hard work.

You've seen the ballerinas after they do an exciting pas de deux: they glow--not just with pride, but with sweat, winter or summer!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Movie from our trip!

I didn't mean to make a movie.

I meant to take a photo of Justin doing a handstand. It's his specialty; the kids were asking him to do handstands at various points of our trip.

So I set up to take a photo of Justin doing a handstand near an overlook. But my camera was accidentally sent on "movie!" You can see the movie here, though it's sideways. At the end, you can tell I'm turning the camera over and saying "Oh no--I made a movie!"

Good thing I'm a writer, not a filmmaker.

Justin doing a handstand movie.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

TKD trip report

"So your school went up northeast yesterday--to a tournament?"

I'm at church, talking with the dad of a boy who goes to another TKD school.

"No," I answer. "We weren't at a tournament. I think the purpose of the trip was fun. And bonding. And we got some awesome photos."

I don't have the awesome photos--Ms. Pryor took them. But I did have my little digital camera and got a few fun photos.

I ended up driving on the trip, which was fine--my van was relatively clean and had a full tank of gas. I also got free "How to be a More Aggressive Driver" lessons from Justin, who rode shotgun. ("Are you going to let him pass you like that?!") I think I probably failed those lessons. Robbie enjoyed the trip, too--seeing the sites and visiting with the TKD kids.

Here we are at a small town with beautiful limestone bridges over the river. The kids are looking at a snake that had been sunning itself on the bridge.

We hiked through a couple of state parks. I loved the woodsy trails and steep hills. I pointed out wildflowers to anyone who'd listen: wild ginger, wild geranium, dame's rocket, and jack-in-the-pulpit. We also saw a Baltimore Oriole and an eagle.

The limestone bluffs meant there were plenty of caves and caverns. As we approached this one, a group of men were singing "How Great Thou Art" here in 4-part harmony. The cavern made a nice "shell" and projected the singing. After the singers left, the TKD kids enjoyed the cavern.

Near the caves and in the woods, the mosquitos were fierce! Many of them weighed a pound.* I was glad I had my mosquito repellant.

Here are Robbie and Patrick by a lookout.

The kids had their own table at lunch.

We adults were more staid. Master Hughes and Ms. Pryor were happy and relaxed hosts, telling us stories of trips they'd taken.

The views from the bluffs were fine.

I am looking forward to sharing some more TKD photos--we all put our uniforms on and took group shots at, believe it or not, a junkyard. Ms. Pryor used several rolls of film. I hope to share some of those on this blog soon.

Late in the day, the group started to break up. Some went home, some went out to eat, but I took Robbie and Justin back to the park to explore caves (Robbie's request). We had a good time.

We grabbed a bite to eat on the way home, in a town with this lovely sculpture!

As we neared home, I spotted Master Hughes's van by the side of the road. I stopped to see what was up--he'd had car trouble and was waiting for a tow. I took his daughter Gabi home.

By the time Robbie and I got home, it was 9:30--we'd been gone since 8 a.m.! All the fresh air (and driving) mean that I needed a nap today to recover.

So was it a good "bonding" trip? I think I would have preferred less driving and more hiking, not just for the exercise but also for the chance to visit more with everyone. Still, we got a chance to do something fun and see something new together, which made for a truly enjoyable Saturday.

*You're supposed to ask "How many?" according to my great-uncle Bob.

Friday, May 19, 2006

TKD trip!

Tomorrow a bunch of people from the dojang are going on a trip to visit a state park with this lovely view of the Mississippi!

It's a TKD trip, billed as a "workout" (we are going hiking), but I think it'll also be a great time to enjoy being with TKD friends in a new setting.

Robbie is going along, and has been talking about it all week. I will take my camera and post a trip report when we return (probably Sunday, as we will be gone ALL DAY on this trip).

Thursday, May 18, 2006


So before I get my massage today (I finally decided to treat myself), Courtney asks what I've been doing to make my back and legs stiff.

"Oh, the usual--tae kwon do and ballet."

"Well, the ballet must be relaxing, anyway," she says.


I love ballet, and those first few pliés feel great. But relaxing?

I sometimes tell my writing students that writing well might not be fun, but it can be deeply satisfying.

To me, that's ballet, too. Challenging barre work, dancing in center floor, finally getting a difficult petit allegro combination: it may be exhausting and difficult, but it is also deeply satisfying!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

TKD and ballet

I want to thank you, dear blog readers, for all your comments--here, by email, and in person, about how I might deal with Jason. I've gotten a wide variety of suggestions. All of them show that you care about the situation and about my safety! I think I'll take Kicker Chick's advice, and perhaps Justin will also help at class. Thank you all.

No TKD today. But odd things happened in ballet: some good, some not good.

The pirouette muse was smiling upon me. I could go around smoothly on one leg (that's a pirouette!), even did a double (well, more like 1 1/2.)

Not So Good
When it came to tour jetés, I just was having all sorts of trouble. Unlike pirouettes, they don't usually give me trouble!

In a tour jeté,you leap, one leg in front, and switch directions--and legs--in mid-air. Very fun, usually. TKDRocker, you'll like this if you take ballet! It's sort of like a tornado kick.

By the time we were practicing our recital piece, I had a major tour jeté block going.

Does this ever happen to any of you--in whatever activity you enjoy? You know you can do something, but one day you just can't?

I figure I'll be able to do it next time. Just like pirouettes today!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Revenge as teaching?

OK readers. So far, two people have told me that I should be the one to "teach Jason a lesson" for clocking me in the nose, and that the lesson should involve hitting him back, in the face or in another . . . tender . . . area.

So I want to know: is this appropriate?

And more importantly, would "getting him back" keep him from doing it again--to me or to others?

My intuition says "no." I don't think he meant to kick me in the face. He doesn't have enough control to do that.

If he does have that kind of control and meant to kick me in the face, would "getting him back" keep him from doing it again? It makes me think of my boys, fighting. "This is what it feels like!!!! (whack)" But maybe that's what works with testosterone-based life-forms. Or in TKD.

Anyway, any additional thoughts from you blog readers? Post, e-mail, or talk to me in class.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

I'm over being upset about being clocked yesterday. Sorry if I sounded annoyed. It's a contact sport. Gotta get used to that.

Today, actually all weekend, I've been thinking about my mother. I just talked to her on the phone. Yes, she got the flowers I sent (a pot of lilies of the valley, not yet in bloom). She'd seen my brother, hadn't yet heard from my sister. Wondered how I would spend the day. Asked about the boys. I wished I could be there, or that she could be here.

At our TKD promotional tests, there's always a moment when Master Hughes asks "who's the most important person here today?" The answer is not "you, sir," though often a child says that. "It's your mom and dad," says Master Hughes. "Now go give them a hug."

It's a nice point of the test, with children running back to Mom, Dad, Grandma, or Grandpa. Sometimes Mom or Dad is on the dojang floor taking the test alongside them. Master Hughes wants the kids to remember how much parents' encouragement and support means when learning a new activity, whether it's ballet or soccer or TKD. Sometimes parents show support by learning alongside their children, other times, they offer support from the sidelines.

My mom was never a sports mom with me. She didn't sign me up for sports when I was a child. That's mostly because I wasn't interested.

I wasn't a very athletic child.

Actually, that's an understatment. I was the last to be chosen for kickball, the first to be thrown out in dodgeball, the one who couldn't do even one "pull-up," the skinny girl with little coordination and less strength.

Today, a mom would definitely sign that kid (me) up for sports, don't you think? Wow, I needed physical activity, some way of getting stronger. But then (late 60s, early 70s), it wasn't done, at least not by my mom.

My mom supported our activities, but let us kids decide what it was we wanted to do. I wanted piano lessons (so I could learn to play like Mom), so she signed me up. Later, it was flute. Occasionally, I bugged her to sign me up for art classes. When I was a horse-crazy 10-year-old, my mom found ways for me to learn to ride horses, an expensive and rare activity in our suburban neighborhood. But it was really my thing, not hers. She was never a "horse show mom."

I have a very strong memory, though, of one time my mom made the first move to get me involved in something physical. I was in high school, not doing any kind of physical activity. (Today I find that hard to believe!) Mom found a modern dance class and encouraged me to sign up. Once I got started, Mom got out of my way and let me keep going. I did, despite being really awful at dance when I first started.

Lots of kids at TKD have very active moms. If they're not cheering from the soccer or TKD sidelines, they're doing a step class, or running, or doing TKD. My mom was never like that.

I don't ever remember my mom--or my dad--"exercising" when I was a kid. Although both of my parents were relatively fit and energetic, they were not good role models in the area of recreational exercise.

That is, until I was in college, about the time my mom was, let's see, mid to late-40's. She and I got into the early-80's aerobics craze at the same time! And she began taking daily early-morning walks with friends, which she continued (every morning at 6:30!) until her stroke in 2002.
Even today, she continues with exercise sessions for the wheelchair-bound, and has private workouts with a personal trainer. Now that's dedication.

So how has my mom helped me to become the Taekwondomom?

Mom always gave support when necessary (rides to the stable, getting me started in dance) but mostly, she stepped back and let me find my own passions.

Today, as taekwondomom, I'm doing martial arts because I wanted to do them not because someone says I should. I don't need someone saying how wonderful it is that I'm learning TKD. I don't need a family member say that I'm good at it. I don't need to be reminded to keep up with it--because I've found something I can be passionate about.

Mom helped me learn to find activities I can be passionate about and make them my own, to find rewards in just doing an activity, not in looking for a reward in praise from someone else. And today, she's showing me how to remain dedicated to what you love, even when adversity strikes.

Those lessons have shaped who I am as an adult student--a student of ballet, of writing, of Tae Kwon Do.

Thanks Mom!

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Is it possible to refuse to spar with a fellow student?

I got clocked again--in the nose--by Jason. This is the 2nd time it's happened, and he hits hard! I saw stars for quite a while and my eyes watered. After that, I had a headache and my vision wasn't right for about 20 minutes.

I suppose I should have blocked it.

Problem with sparring 13-year-old boys: they have poor control (this is supposed to be light-to-no contact). They flail gangly legs around which makes it very hard to see where they'll hit. They think it's cool to hit hard. They are probably suffering testosterone poisoning.

Jason was a bit sorry he got me in the face, but was mostly gloating after we started back up and he got a few points off me (no surprise).

Someone bigger than me needs to teach that lad a lesson.

I recovered enough after sparring to participate in a rousing couple games of noodle hockey, scoring one (or was it two?) after catching a pass from Justin.

"We're a good team. I think we should go pro," I told him.

"You were offsides," said Brian, whacking me with his noodle.

Offsides? "I was just tired." Yes, I whacked him back.

John and Dillon were impressed, even though our team lost. "Let's fire everyone but Jane," one of them said. "She scored."

Moms rule.

In general, a good workout with lots of stretching, some work on slow and fast kicks (adagio and petit allegro, as we'd call it in ballet). Justin led class for the first time in a while (that I've been there). I hope he has enough energy to enjoy his prom tonight with Chelsea!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ballet and TKD

Maybe some of you have read TKDRocker's blog recently. She's thinking about taking ballet! This is what she says:

At my voice lesson yesterday, I was informed that I should look into taking a ballet class. I plan to go to college for musical theatre, and to do that, I have to be able to dance . . . I want to improve my chances of getting into a musical theatre program, but that would mean cutting back on TKD. Its a decision that I'm struggling with, but I think that I will look into taking a basic ballet class, just to give me a good base in dancing. TKDmom, any advice on this? How does your ballet affect your TKD, and vice versa?

Cutting back on one (beloved) activity to make room for another--now that's a difficult decision!

This question--how does ballet affect my TKD and vice versa--made me think. I've been taking ballet and other kinds of dance longer than TKD, so it's a bit hard to say. But I think that being a dancer has helped me with balance, flexibilty, and quickness. I'm also used to learning combinations of movements. Plus, when you dance, you often need to move with a partner, which helps in sparring.

I told TKDRocker to let me know about her decision about taking ballet. I want to know what it's like going the other direction--from TKD to ballet! I'm sure that her background in martial arts will help be useful when she dances or does theatre!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Changing Workout Schedule

I'm lucky to have a pretty regular schedule when it comes to exercise. This is partially because I have a weird and flexible working schedule. (Be a professor/writer if you want a flexible schedule!)

It's also partially because my exercise involves being enrolled in classes that meet on certain days. But Life as a Mom means that I sometimes have to switch things around.

Usually, I do TKD M and Sat., then ballet T Th. Plus, Brian and I often get together for a short workout on Wednesdays. (That's mostly a brain workout, to help us keep the many forms in our memories! It helps.)

Last week, my schedule was a bit different. I did TKD M and W, then ballet T and Th. By Thursday, I was exhausted! Something about 4 days in a row of intense workouts--it was almost too much for me.

Gentle reader, what's your usual workout schedule? Maybe "workout" is too severe a word. What's your usual way of staying active? Do you martial artists take class more than 2 or 3 times a week? And those of you who do other things--is anyone living up to the govenment's suggested 30-60 minutes of exercise a day? (And I believe walking to work/school--that sort of thing--counts as exercise!)

Would you like to have more time to be active?

Just wondering!

Monday, May 08, 2006


Things that are counterintuitive:
1. Greeting blackbelts at class. My intuition is to greet people I know and people who look lonely or in need of greeting!
2. Moving toward an attacker for a self-defense move. I pointed this out to Ms. Pryor yesterday and to Master Hughes today. But, as Ms. Pryor said, we are stronger closer to our own bodies, especially women. So moving in is necessary sometimes--even when the object is to get away.
3. Working on my form alone. I'd much rather work with someone. When Brian is away, like he was this evening, I'm at a loss before class when we're supposed to be working on forms. It just seems, well, counterintuitive to work on a form all alone. Luckily Brittany was in class this evening, and wanted me to work with her on Palgwe 5. We worked on forms together.

Weapons and Friends

Some people seem to love weapons. Here's Robbie at the Faire.

There were lots of people selling "real" swords. Most had signs saying people under 18 couldn't look without supervision. So I stood at one booth while Robbie randomly but enthusiastically handled every one of the weapons there! ("Mom. Look at this one." "Mom. Isn't this cool?" "Mom. Can I get this one, please?")

I wasn't interested in the swords, but found his interest amusing!

I saw a surprising number of people I knew at the Faire.
--Mindy from TKD, who sat with me at the first martial arts demo,
--Mr. Schmidt and two of his daughters. They haven't been to TKD in a while--there's a new baby at home. Mr. Schmidt had a great costume, though.
--Mike from ballet and his wife. Mike did get a costume!
--Karen and her family. Robbie was glad to see Karen's son, Eric. They had a sword fight--perhaps that's the way 11-year-olds greet each other.
--Mr. Houtz and his family were over watching the afternoon martial arts demo. Mr. Houtz was my first TKD teacher, who hasn't been at the school recently. He said he also found bo interesting and would like to learn it. I was very glad to see him and update him on my TKD progress.

I made sure to get a photo of our little group before we left.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Martial Arts at the Faire

Contrary to popular belief, I did not spend the entire day at the Martial Arts pavillion at the Renaissance Faire yesterday. See, here I'm being blessed by a fairy!

But I did end up seeing all three demonstrations by the local Samurai Arts dojo, the Jade Tiger Dojo.

The first demo started soon after we got there. I sat next to Mindy, from TKD! It was nice to see her. After the demo, I talked to a few students and expressed my interest in seeing bojitsu. Cassie, a student at Jade Tiger, was happy to talk to me and glad to answer some of my questions. She pointed out that the bo was often used by women, historically.

"The men would go off to war and take the swords with them," she said. "So women had to be ready to defend themselves with whatever was available." Interesting!

"I'll let them know you're interested in seeing bojitsu, and they'll be sure to use bo in the next demo," she told me. "Come back at 2:30."

So I did.

The demo began with sword forms, with the students using "bokken" (sticks) to practice. I found as I took pictures that taking pictures really distracted me from watching. So these are my only photos, of the sensei's daughter doing a sword form.

After sword forms, they brought out the staffs to practice bojitsu, which looks a lot like Aikido to me. It uses flowing graceful movements to block and even throw opponents. But the 6' bo staff is used instead of hands. The bo was also used to strike or stab opponents.

After that demo, I had lots of questions, and I got to talk to the sensei. (Do you say "the sensei" like "the professor"? Or is it only a term of address more like Mr. or Ms.?)

He talked with me and some others for quite a while. I had lots of questions! This is some of what I learned:
*The students at this dojo do not compete in tournaments. Their "samurai arts" approach is so unusual--and very traditional--that there are few other places where students learn these arts in the same way.
*They do no free-sparring with swords, not even with bokken! For obvious reasons, if you think about it.
*Ki-haps in Aikido are different from those in TKD. In TKD, the ki-hap either ends with a consonant or is glottal (sound is stopped by the glottis) to tighten the diaphragm for hitting or being hit. This is because we use them in striking, blocking, and kicking, where there's a definite end point to your energy.

In Aikido, the ki-ais end with a vowel, in order to let the sound continue on, just as the energy continues until the opponent hits the ground.

It was fun to learn new things talking with the Jade Tiger group. I'm thinking I might get out there sometime. Maybe I'll take Robbie to their summer "camp" this summer. Here he is in "sword" fights with his friend Jacob and then with one of the young Jade Tiger students.

Or--maybe, someday, I'll go there to learn bojitsu.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


I'll admit it. I've been looking at another martial arts school's website.

Don't worry, TKD friends, I'm not thinking of leaving our school! I am pleased with the instruction I get there, with the fellowship of the students, with my progress as a martial artist.

But my frustration with hand and arm board breaking (and some of the comments I've received when I asked about breaking injuries on Karate Forums) made me wonder how I might find martial arts practices that are best for me.

I don't have a particular loyalty to Tae Kwon Do. I like the kicking and sparring; I like the forms. Yet, my goal is not to be a Tae Kwon Do champion (or even expert) but to be a martial artist. By that I mean someone who's focused and strong, someone who can demonstrate the graceful, powerful movements of forms, someone who is competent and unafraid of sparring. None of that has to be Tae Kwon Do. Other martial arts fulfill those goals.

Anyway, I spent some time looking at the website of a nearby school that teaches "Samurai Arts," the Jade Tiger Dojo.

Jade Tiger actually got me started in martial arts! After I saw an Aikido demonstration by that school a couple of years ago, I started thinking about learning martial arts myself. In fact, I liked the idea of learning Aikido . . . except for the falling down part! (Aikido uses joint locks and throws rather than punches and kicks.) Plus, that school is a good drive from my house: about 30 minutes. Our dojang is a quick 5-10 minute drive from my house.

Still. I like some things about Jade Tiger. The teacher seems knowledgeable about and interested in teaching about Japanese culture and history. He has swords classes for children. And he teaches other weapons, like bo or staff.

Unlike my boys, I'm not interested in weapons, generally. But something about the bo--its simplicity, perhaps--makes me wonder what it would be like to learn forms with it, to spar with it.

I'm staying where I am now, but maybe at some point I will take classes in bo at the Jade Tiger.

Maybe I could substitute bo for board breaking!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


"That looks worse than it did at suppertime," Bruce said when he saw my arm last evening.

Suki had commented on it during ballet, too. "Do you need an intervention?" she joked.

I'm a bit annoyed by this bruise on my forearm. I did not break the board with this part of my arm--I couldn't have. This bruise popped up the next day, as a small black and blue knot. The area of my arm that broke the board, back closer to the elbow, is fine.

Only thing I can figure is that this is where my arm dragged through the broken board.

I posted a question about it on Karate Forums the other day:
Can you get lasting injuries from board breaking?

I ask because that's what worries me when I break. I'm small and have small, not-very-dense (according to my doctor) bones. (I am 44.) Even if I break correctly, am I in danger of a lasting injury? Not the usual bruises or scrapes that I usually get, but an injury to bone, joint, etc. I ask because I broke a board with an elbow strike the other day--correctly--and a day afterwards, a black-and-blue knot appeared on my arm, near my wrist, probably where the board hit it as I broke through.

Several people answered. One post:

If you bruise really easily, you might ask your doctor if there are vitamin supplements that will help with blood vessel elasticity.

Hmm. Are my blood vessels un-elastic? This makes me feel old and fragile :-(

Another post:

I would be very careful about breaking boards with your condition. Is it needed in your martial art to promote in rank? What does that mean to you? What does your health mean to you? While a single board, if held and broken correctly, probably won't cause you harm, I'm not about to speculate on what repeated breaks will do. I would also avoid breaking multiple boards/bricks/etc. Best piece of advice? Talk to your doctor about it, and be honest with him.

My condition? Wimpiness? I guess my condition is "close to osteopena." (Osteopena is close to osteoporosis.)

I wonder if I could get very far as a martial artist if I don't break multiple boards and don't break with my hands or my joints. I wonder if I could still continue toward the black belt if I take this (sensible-sounding) advice.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


This is noodle hockey.

I probably should have taken a movie so you could see the crazy action. Of course, you'd miss the shouts and laughter, the noodle hockey sound track.

Monday night we also did some SPARRING! And I was very glad, because we haven't done it in a while. I felt rusty; couldn't quite remember the combinations that work with slow people, tall people, etc. But it was good.

Brian and I sparred during the last match-up. That's always fun. At one point, I pushed him back and he made a dramatic (and probably unnecessary) fall. So I stood there laughing and then heard applause--everyone else in the dojang had turned to look at us and they were applauding us--and laughing, too. "Way to take down the big guy," Brian A. said. I showed my biceps (such as they are) and bowed.