eternaleponine: (TKD)
Yesterday I tested for my high brown belt. Once again, I was the only adult testing, due to other obligations (work, a class that couldn't be gotten out of). I'm kind of used to it by now, although Amy did actually test with the group the last couple of times. This time around it wasn't so bad; when we did stuff with partners the kid I ended up facing was at least roughly my size.

We started with warm-ups, then basic skills (kicks, strikes, blocks) and somehow that ended up taking half an hour. Mister L., who does our testing, spent a lot of time talking for some reason, and over the course of the hour (which ended up being closer to an hour and ten, fifteen minutes) we probably lost ten to fifteen minutes to that.

A lot of it was having the younger kids get up, then sit down, then get back up, because they were slow and didn't say 'yes, sir' (which granted Master Paul doesn't enforce, like, at all in regular classes, so I tend to be the only one who says it) and whined when they were told to do something they didn't want to do (push-ups).

Which actually led to an interesting moment, where Mister L., who had been talking about saying 'yes sir' added, "Or 'yes ma'am' for a female instructor," to which one of the kids commented that we don't have any. Mister L. said, "Not yet," and then looked over to the side of the room where the higher ranks were sitting and said, "There are future female instructors here," meaning, presumably, me, Danielle, and Audrey, who are three of the four brown belts. (I guess it's a good thing that I've figured out how to tie other people's belts as well as my own. One of our littlest guys only had his belt wrapped around him once, so the ends were hanging way down. Master Paul was busy with his brother, so I went over and said, "Let's fix that," and managed to get it right. You wouldn't think it, but it's a lot different doing it on someone else than on yourself.)

Luckily, my group (which was four brown belts and a red belt) were better about getting up quickly, remembering to say 'yes sir' and generally treating it like testing instead of like fun time. So we mostly just had to sit through the lectures... or sometimes stand in ready/fighting stance for extended periods of time while he talked. And in my case, I got to be called a 'big stinky pumpkinhead' repeatedly (because he knew I wouldn't get upset) while he discussed how being told that you were not doing something well is just an opportunity for improvement and not to take it personally. At least I think that was the point of that particular tangent.

We did a little (very little) step-sparring (for the higher ranked students) and self-defense (for the lower-ranked students), and then we did our forms. He had the brown belts also do the yellow belt form, since next time around we'll need to know all of the forms when we test for our black belts.

From the way he was talking, it sounds like he actually expects us to be testing for black in the next testing cycle. I had honestly expected that it would take six months, and we would test in June, but that might not end up being the case. I'm pretty sure I can be ready by March anyway, but I'm not as confident about two of my beltmates. (Danielle will be fine; she knows the forms better than I do, although she's not as solid on step-sparring and self-defense all the time.) Audrey and Alan don't train as often, and are younger, and I'm less sure they'll be ready. But we'll see.

He had Master Paul, along with his son (who had apparently decided this morning that he wanted to come along with his dad for the testing, resulting in Mister L. having to cut down one of his old black belts to make it short enough for his son to wear; his own belt was at the school) do one of the black belt forms, and then he had Master Paul do one that we've actually never seen before, and holy shit... It seems impossible now that I'll ever be able to remember anything like that, because there was a lot of moves. (It was called Banya or something like that.)

After testing was over, Mister L. shook my hand and said something about how I wasn't upset by being called a pumpkinhead, right? To which I responded of course I wasn't. He's such a nice guy, there's pretty much no way to take anything he says (especially something that silly) personally.

He also asked about knife defense, and I said that Danielle and I knew 1-6. He said that maybe he would have us do it next testing, but sometimes it made parents nervous. Juniors don't do knife defense, only the adult class, so it's not as if they have to worry about their precious darlings wielding plastic knives at each other... but I can kind of see why it might make people nervous in general, because in addition to their being weapons involved, several of them involve takedowns, and are just generally violent overall. (Which is kind of why I love it... the more dramatic a thing is, the more I tend to like it.)

Overall, it was probably one of the easiest testing sessions that we've had, at least for the higher ranks, because so much focus was placed on managing the behavior of the lower ranks. Some of them just aren't used to the process, but others really should know better. But like I said before, Master Paul doesn't really enforce the responding to commands with 'yes sir' and all of that, so that's part of it. I really wonder if some of the behavior that happens would be tolerated at all in another school. It got to a point where it was embarrassing to me that these were the students of my school. Hopefully next time they'll be better behaved.
eternaleponine: (TKD)
Today I tested for my blue belt. Everything went pretty smoothly, so I'm not worried about not getting it. (I'm not sure anyone has ever actually failed, although certainly from what I've seen it seems like some people ought to...)

Testing, Testing... )

In other TKD news... )
eternaleponine: (TKD)
I can't remember the last time I actually posted about TKD – what I might have said and what I didn't – but I figure it's been a while, so I might as well write something.

I had my test for my high green belt on Saturday, June 23. Earlier in that week, we spent a good part of class practicing breakfalls, and I managed to give myself whiplash, which made life... interesting. When I told Master Paul on Friday, he said to just take it easy, and sort of implied that if I wasn't up to it, he wasn't actually going to make me test to promote me, because he knew that I knew the stuff. But I discovered that the only thing I really couldn't do was sitting up from a prone position. I let Mr. Lesinski, who was conducting our testing, know before we started, and unlike Master Paul the night before, he actually remembered (Master Paul forgot during class on Friday, and was teasing me for being too slow doing the side headlock self-defense, until I gave him a Look), and when we did sit-ups he told me not to, and then when we got to self-defense and we were doing choking on the floor, he had me sit it out.

Somehow during the higher level self-defense, I ended up paired with one of the younger students, who is my same belt level, but comes up to, oh, my shoulder. He managed to hit me in the face during one thing, although not hard.

Other than that, it was pretty uneventful. Since then, it's been brutally hot, although that hasn't really slowed us down much. On Tuesday we did flying side kicks, which resulted in me crash landing and scraping the inside of my foot on the base of the heavy bag (yes, really) but then on my last kick I knocked the heavy bag over, so I felt vindicated. Amusingly, one of the notes on my test evaluation form was that my coordination had improved. Oh, the irony.

On Thursday and Friday I was the only one in class, which I hoped meant I would go to do joong bong, but it was not to be. On Thursday it was relatively cool (Master Paul's words, not mine!) so we did sparring. On Friday it was too hot for that, so we just did some other drills, including the turn kick (which may or may not be a spin roundhouse... not actually sure) ad nauseum. I have a spot on the ball of my left foot where the skin's been worn raw from all of the pivoting. We also did a new self-defense: handshake.

Now, why would you need to defend yourself from a handshake? You really wouldn't, but it's a good lead-in to How To Break Someone's Elbow 101. And it's very effective. We're taught to tap our leg or whatever to indicate when we've had enough, and on the first demonstration, I whacked Master Paul's arm because it HURT. (I probably didn't hit him that hard, but it was harder than usual.)

R. was back on Saturday, so we practiced step sparring #8, which we'd learned earlier in the week. We managed to completely forget #6 in the process, which was both amusing and embarrassing. I also completely failed a drill where we were supposed to see how many times we could draw a circle in the air with our foot around a target. I could do it once, and R. seemed to believe that I should be able to do more, but it just was not happening. Guess that's something I need to work on.

Also, it amuses me when Master Paul starts sounding like me. We were making a line in front of the heavy bag, and instead of getting in front of him, I went to the end, even though I was right there and there was space. He looked at me and said, "Really?" But I'm always first!

It's good to be learning new things. I assume we'll probably start our new form soon. Hopefully it'll be more different from the last two than green belt was from yellow, or I'm going to start getting really confused.
eternaleponine: (TKD)
I am proud of my green belt. Proud to a level that's kind of stupid, really. It's only a green belt, which means (for most people in my school – other schools have different belt progressions) about six months worth of training. That's not that long, and my skill set is still pretty darn limited.

But I'm proud nonetheless. )
eternaleponine: (TKD)
I really meant to update about TKD more often, but then I forget or I'm busy doing other things or whatever, and it just doesn't happen.

This morning I tested for my green belt, three months and a week after my yellow belt test. (It probably would have been three months exactly, but Master Paul made sure to schedule the test for a Saturday I didn't have to work, so that added an extra week to it.) This means that our next testing should be right around the end of the school year (not that it matters to me, but for the kids) so that works out well.

I was more nervous going into today's testing than I was last time, mostly about my poomsae (form). I don't like the yellow belt form (Poomsae Taeguk Il Jang, for the curious) and I had this weird paranoia that I was going to somehow mess it up.

Last time, we all had to do our poomsae individually, but that didn't happen this time, which makes it a lot less nerve-wracking. (If all else fails, sneak a peek at what everyone else is doing. *g*) I didn't need to, and it ended up fine. I've been helping out one of our young white belts with her form, and she did really well, too. At one point, she was actually the only one of the three that got a bit right, so yay her!

During the testing of our basic skills (punches, kicks, etc.) he had one row of students sit down, and then another row line up behind them... and kick over our heads. Let me tell you, that is incentive to make sure you've got your leg up! When we did the side kick, I had it easy because the person I was behind was the smallest one there. I was kicking well above her head anyway, and not just because she was hunched over in fear.

We did step-sparring and self-defense, and that all went smoothly. One of the self-defenses we've been working on we didn't actually get tested on, which is probably a good thing because we're all still a bit dicey with it. The Master doing our test (I don't know his name... I should find that out) said that going forward we should work on making sure that we are able to do the self-defense on both sides, instead of just drilling primarily on one side. We have done that for some of them, but there are some that are still pretty hairy if suddenly the person attacks with the left instead of the right.

He also talked a bit about a tournament that's coming up, and some of the events in it. We did a mock sparring match, which was rigged against me, because he wanted to show what happened if someone did something illegal. I got picked to be the one to do the illegal move – TWICE – so it resulted in a point deduction and all of the judges deciding that my partner won. BOO. (He did thank me for playing along, though. *g*)

And then Master Paul did a demo of breaking, and I got called up to do it as well... until Master Paul said that I'd done it before, so instead one of the younger yellow belts got to do it. BOO AGAIN.

But overall, it was fun, and I look forward to seeing what new skills we get to start learning next week for green belt. I know that with the tournament coming up in a month, the intensity of our training is going to pick up to get us ready, but I don't mind. It's good for me, even if it gets more brutal as the temperature goes up.

I should actually get my belt in class on Tuesday, which means I have to make sure that I actually go that day. Yes, I'm a little bit petty and don't want my classmates to actually get their belts before me. (I get mine first because unless there is someone with an actual higher colored belt than me, I am considered the highest ranking because I've been training the longest.)

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eternaleponine

February 2014

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