He's done

Jun. 10th, 2012 07:00 pm
ciroccoj: (All Black Belts)
Sixteen Black Belt candidates: ten going for their 1st Dan, one for 2nd, one for 3rd, one for 4th, three for 5th.

  • 10:15: Warmup, oath
  • 10:30ish: Patterns
  • 11:30: Step-sparring
  • 11:50: Self-defence
  • 12:06: Free sparring
  • 12:24: Breaks
  • 1:04: Oral questions
  • 1:35: Feedback
  • 2:00ish: Belting :)

So, we have another black belt in the family. Congratulations to Chris :D :D :D

And wow, it's been a long time coming. We started this in the summer of 2007 ::checking:: Yup, five years ago, when the boys were seven and ten. Originally Chris and I were only going to go for the first few months, until the kids were confident and didn't need us there any more. Somewhere around yellow belt we realized we weren't leaving, and shortly after that, decided we really wanted to earn black belts.

We're all 1st Dans, now. And God help us, we're looking at going for 2nd Dan some day. Oy vey.

Happily, it's at least a year or so before you can even begin to think of testing for that. So we've got a while yet before we need to decide.

ciroccoj: (black belt tae kwon dos)
(Hopefully) last chance to use red-belt icon :)
ciroccoj: (black belt tae kwon dos)
Went well. Mostly. Justin wasn't there, as he was camping, and I was kinda glad about that. He gets so into it, and wants so much to win, that when he doesn't it's devastating to him. I walk around with a lump of dread in my stomach until his matches are over :(

  • By far the coolest thing ever in the tournament was Daniel's sparring, his first time as a black belt. He got silver. Not just silver, but a match that made us so incredibly proud I just can't even.

    So he starts, and it's going pretty well, and then I start to notice he's getting in there and blocking and scoring and the other kid has the reach on him but Daniel's just hanging in there, go go go go, and at one point he does this amazing double kick and from the black belt teens table I hear a "Whoa! Daniel!" from our star sparrers, and oh, wow, and the senior black belts are paying attention to a match that nobody expected would be this good...

    Halftime comes, he gets some advice from one of our senior black belts, and then he goes back and the second half is very very good, but not as spectacular as the first.

    And then the judges are gonna give their decision, and I'm so incredibly proud of Daniel because that's the best he's ever sparred but the other kid just got more points, and I prepare to tell Daniel that even though he lost he did really, really well, and then it's unanimous Blue, which is too bad because I thought it was pretty close so I hoped the judges wouldn't be unanimous and it would've been so nice to see even one Red flag but oh well --

    Wait. The ref just held up Daniel's hand. Was Daniel Blue?

    He was. He won!

    "You're kidding!" I blurt out, and then clap my hand over my mouth.

    Happily, Daniel didn't hear me. Some of the other black belts did, though, and laughed at my lack of maternal confidence.

    Daniel ended up losing the gold medal round, but holy crap. First time as a black belt, and he wins silver. Wow. Wow.

    Quite a few of the higher-ranking black belts came to talk to us afterwards, and to congratulate him. The common thread was, "I've never seen you do that well. That was excellent. Keep it up!" The head of our branch even pointed out how awesome he'd been to the first class back after the tournament. OMGsoproudofmykid.

  • Not as exciting )
ciroccoj: (black belt tae kwon dos)
Right, so, the only other black belt test I'd attended lasted approximately 2-3 hours. There were four people testing for 1st Dan, one for 2nd Dan, three testers, and maybe a dozen family and friends in our tiny little dojang in Nepean.

No relationship at all to what we went through yesterday )


Nov. 5th, 2011 11:36 pm
ciroccoj: (black belt tae kwon dos)
Done. Very happy, very exhausted. Chris now has to bow to all three of us, until May :D :D :D

More tomorrow.

ciroccoj: (black stripe tae kwon dos)
...to the black belt technical test.


Nov. 2nd, 2011 09:28 am
ciroccoj: (black stripe tae kwon dos)
  1. Just finished The Hunger Games trilogy.

    :O :O :O


    Daniel's not quite finished. We've been racing through the books together, making comments (OMG could you believe Haymitch?!) and I keep being reminded of my mom and how we used to do that too.


  2. By contrast, Land of Painted Caves is going slowly. But it's really not as bad as everyone said, IMHO. I know I have astonishingly low standards, but I'm not disgusted by it yet. Of course I'm on page 200 and nothing has actually, you know, happened, but it's still pretty interesting in a travelogue/Paleolithic history book kind of way.

    It also helps that I'd been warned that the introductions became endless and that every. single. person noticed Ayla's unusual accent and that the Mother Song has not yet been sung.

    I am also grateful that it took over a hundred pages for them to get it on, and that there have been no passages of animals mating. That mammoth tryst in the second book still has me traumatized, twenty years after first reading it o_0

  3. I can't wait for Sunday. Or even Saturday afternoon. We've been eating, sleeping and breathing TKD for so long I'm beginning to forget we've ever done anything else.

  4. Daniel's gonna need to shave soon.


Oct. 30th, 2011 09:45 pm
ciroccoj: (black stripe tae kwon dos)
Long story short: I'm doing the black belt test next Saturday. The fact that I passed everything but the 3.2k, that I didn't give up, that I sprinted like whoa for the 200m, and the fact that, as the black belt tried to put it delicately before remembering I'm me and just saying "We make allowances for people of the... older generation," results in me being allowed to test after all :) :) :)

And God help me beat some sense into me, I'm still thinking of continuing the training so I can run with Chris when he tests in May, and actually get to my goal. I will hopefully be cured of this insanity before January, but right now all I can think is I really really really wanted to get it. And despite weighing too much I'm in better shape, right now, than I've ever been in my life. I clocked in at 10 minutes exactly at the 1600 meter mark, a full minute faster than I was able to do at age thirteen despite being about sixty pounds slightly heavier.

Final black belt tutorial today consisted of sparring drills, kicking and punching and dodging and pivoting, back and forth, for two freaking hours. I would've been speechless with disbelief and barely suppressed eyerolls at the sadism of the black belt who was running it except he's one of the black belts going for his 2nd Dan, and thus had run twice as far as I had, and he's older than I am, and... yeah.

I hurt in places I didn't know had nerves.
ciroccoj: (black stripe tae kwon dos)
  • Last minute preparations, printing out our essays, our photo ID, etc. etc. UGH.

  • Last minute panic: Apollo goes missing! We're all searching for him up and down the street, calling for him, as the time for the physical looms closer and closer. And then we have to leave :(

  • Get to TKD almost late, and explain that we had a kitten emergency. Chris goes back home to keep looking. I'm wondering what the heck we're going to do if he's actually missing. Justin, in his "What TKD means to me" essay, concluded with this:

    So in summary, TKD has in a never-ending list of ways, helped me deal with bullying at school, helped me in school, has helped me gain a lot more self-confidence, made me overall a more responsible and better kid, has made given me a lot more endurance and perseverance, allowing me to do all sorts of things that I wouldn’t have been able to do without TKD, and finally, it has given me a kitten.

    So. What if TKD takes his kitten away because we lost him because we had to go to the physical testing? Justin is going to be crushed. Daniel, who isn't even the kitten's daddy, is highly stressed. Nobody's happy.

  • There are 6 people testing for 1st degree (4 kids, 2 adults); 5 people testing for 2nd degree (2 teens, 3 adults); 1 adult testing for 3d degree. There are three testers, and various people there for moral/practical support.

  • Write the knowledge part of the test. The first question asks for a list of five and I can only think of two. Bad start.

  • The rest is pretty easy. We've got an hour; most of us finish with plenty of time.

  • Chris comes back with good news. Our next door neighbours left a note on our door:

    We have Apollo! She/he was outside your front door shortly after you left.

    I love our neighbours.

  • As Chris comes in, one of the black belts, a huge guy who just oozes "I'm a big tough black belt, fear me" with no effort, asks him worriedly, "Did you find the kitten?"

  • Written test done, we move on to the physical.

  • 3 sets of 2 minutes of skipping, one minute rest in between: done (easily)
    50 pushups in one minute, rest one minute, repeat five times: done (slightly painfully in my case, less so for Justin, easily for Daniel)
    50 situps in one minute, rest one minute, repeat five times: done (easily)

  • We drive down to the nearest high school.

  • 3.2 km run, 8 laps around the track for the 1st Dans in 18 minutes. The second Dans get a 6.4km in 36 minutes, and the third Dan basically has to run (fast) for an hour.

    Daniel nails it, at 17:30. Justin's is 18:02. I fail, at 21:40, slower than my best time, despite training for five weeks and despite every mental trick and positive visualization I could think of and despite feeling like I was dying from about the second lap onwards, and apparently being ashen enough to worry Chris from about halfway through. Everyone's very nice to me though. One of the black belts says that the point isn't so much the time itself (a couple of the kids got in at 19 minutes) but your perseverance and your dedication to your goal. I have to point out that I was not only 3:40 minutes overtime, but I actually ran slower this time than my mock physical :(


  • 200m sprint. We do this one individually, and I ace it. 44 seconds. There's something really, really cool about running to the finish line to the sound of all the other people testing and the testers screaming encouragement and then praising your achievement. I even out-sprinted a couple of the kids :)

  • Go to Dick's to celebrate. Three venison burgers, one kangaroo burger, and more ice cream than a regular Dairy Queen serves to an entire family are piled onto each "two scoop" serving for the kids.

  • Home. Sit. Pass out.

That's done, then.

This week's agenda: practice our step sparring, self-defence moves including knife self-defence, all nine patterns, sparring techniques, board breaking, and review of the knowledge for the oral testing next Saturday. The black belts will apparently discuss my 3.2km time and see if I am still eligible to do the test itself. Obviously I'm hoping I'll be allowed to, but will certainly understand if I can't. Mostly I'm really, really glad the kids made it through, especially Justin. He'd worked way too hard, and wanted this way too much, to be able to face defeat with equanimity.

And hey, if I don't pass, then I'll just do it in May or June, with Chris. And in the meantime, I'll spend the next months bowing to the kids at the beginning of class :)

Chris: So, pass or fail, are you glad you did it?
Me: Yeah.
Chris: Why?
Me: I now have no fear of the physical test in May/June.
Chris: Why's that?
Me: Because I know I can do it. I mean, other than the 3.2K. And I'll have until May to do that, and I'll join The Running Room, and work on my strides, and probably watch Chariots of Fire fifteen times...
Chris: ::snickers::
ciroccoj: (black stripe tae kwon dos)
Here's the taekwon-do black belt test requirements (First Dan only; it gets harder as you go higher)

1. Physical
2. Written test (technical questions like what is a sitting stance, where are the vital spots on the head, what is the meaning of various pattern names, etc)
3. Essay (2 pages, something about TKD)
4. Technical test (be able to do nine patterns, self-defense, sparring, and answer technical questions orally)

The physical is:
1. two minutes of skipping, one minute to relax, repeat three times
2. fifty pushups in one minute, relax one minute, repeat five times
3. fifty situps in one minute, relax one minute, repeat five times
4. 3.2km (2 mile) run in 18 minutes
5. 200m sprint

The actual physical is on October 29th. We did a run-through today, to see if we'll be able to do it on the 29th. We all passed the first 4 bits, except for Chris, who isn't testing until next June and who didn't quite get all the situps done. Daniel was able to do the run in the allotted time, and Chris came close, but Justin took 20 minutes and I took 22. So we have three weeks to improve that. I'm pretty sure Justin will be able to; not so sure about myself. If I can't, I'll have to wait until June to test with Chris. Which means I'll have to bow to the kids in the dojang, which will thrill them to no end, I'm sure :D :D

I am pretty pleased about having been able to do the rest of it. I really thought the pushups were going to do me in. Mind you, the last few pushups were not pretty and if we were going for form I might have failed, but still!
ciroccoj: (black stripe tae kwon dos)
Too bad the TaeKwon-Dodos icon is only 100 x 100. At that resolution, you totally can't tell that we're now black stripes :) :) :)

If we move into the dojang and go three times a week, plus assist in one other class, we could test for black belt at the next date, in June. Master Lu totally wants us to do that.

With the greatest of respect and deference to a man we all very much admire, we are still ever so totally not. Eventually I'd like to be back to 3 x weekly, but it's not going to happen before June.

But! The next black belt test after that is December 2011. And what a very merry Christmas that would be :D :D :D
ciroccoj: (red belt tae kwon dos)
Just links to our patterns, for our black stripe test (eep!!) next Friday.

Chon-Ji )

Dan-Gun )

Do-San )

Won-Hyo )

Yul-Gok )

Joong-Gun )

Toi-Gae )

Hwa-Rang )
ciroccoj: (red belt tae kwon dos)
So, the post I wrote the other day about the tournament. Probably only of interest to myself and possibly other TKD geeks ;)

I wasn't nervous about today's tournament for myself, but I was desperately hoping the boys would do well. Especially Justin. What with being the little brother - especially the little brother of a kid as effortlessly bright as Daniel - and being far less popular than Daniel and what with his memory issues, Justin has a real problem with self esteem. And he had worked so hard in tournament training. And... I just wanted him to win.

He lost quite badly in patterns, but then his first sparring match, he won, against a really good opponent. And the first thing he did after they were done was tell the other kid, "WOW! You were REALLY good!"

Read more... )
ciroccoj: (journey)
  1. Probably should stop skating and going to TKD on the same day. It always ends in tears.

  2. OTOH, it was a pretty good day. Third time on the Canal this year; the ice wasn't as smooth as on Tuesday, but it was nice to be able to see. Tuesday's outing with the Cubs was... dark.

  3. Then again, we did visit the "end" of the Skateway. Have lived in Ottawa since I was eight, and had never once in my whole entire life seen the 7.8K mark - or the 0.0K mark, for that matter. We always just skate around the middle.

  4. Wind today? A little brutal. Awesome to skate with it at our backs, though :D :D :D

  5. TKD red/black belt class? Also brutal. But also awesome. I would love to learn how to do reverse kicks without falling down or ending up kicking myself.

  6. Bring on Old People Veteran Class tomorrow. Damn young whippersnappers can have their Friday night keggers, or whatever it is they do these days; us seniors will do warm-up diligently "unless you're getting tired," and spar "unless you're really wiped."

  7. Found out our pumpkin cookie recipe is extremely low-fat. Wish I hadn't. Now I want to eat more.

  8. Kids went to Aviation Museum to do a workshop. During the workshop I chatted with a mom whose seven-year-old daughter is now a son. Realized I only know/know of three transgendered people in my life, and all have been female-to-male.

    No, the mom doesn't know if her son will always want to be a boy. But she figues he's been pretty clear on it for the last three years, has become pretty adamant about it in the last six months, and if he changes his mind later on in life, at least he'll know that his parents are there for him no matter what.

  9. Cannot imagine how challenging it must be to parent a (possibly) transgender kid, and the self-doubts and second-guessing that must be part of... everything, really. My admiration for this woman knows no bounds.

  10. I really hurt. My feet and ankles and shins, mostly. Also my back. Thighs are a little iffy too.

  11. Will not be doing tournament training this Sunday, as I will be at my choir's Black History Month concert. Which is going to be wicked, despite the fact that one of the songs we're singing is a song I loathed with deep passion when we sang it at the Homeschooling Choir a few years ago, and it brought me the most joy right after we finished singing it in concert, because that meant we wouldn't have to sing it any more.

  12. This! We're going to be doing this! No, we're not singing Africa, nor are we making rain for the Loathed Song. We're going to do it for another song, appropriately named Rain, from Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I can't wait.

  13. The whole concert is going to be awesome. Well worth skipping TKD tournament training :D :D :D

  14. Must not forget to make munchies for the concert. I know! Pumpkin oatmeal cookies!

  15. Will do Family Day next Monday, when the whole world isn't doing it too. I want to skate the entire 7.8k length. Never done it before. Am possibly insane.

  16. Will not be attending TKD that night. Am not that insane.

  17. Yeah, that's about it.
ciroccoj: (red belt tae kwon dos)
Got our red belts. Kicked butt.

Was proud of the boys for two things: how they both excelled at what they do best - TKD knowledge for Daniel, and sparring for Justin - and how hard they worked at the things that don't come as naturally for them. Which happen to be TKD knowledge for Justin and sparring for Daniel.

Oh, and Chris and I did pretty good too :)

So. We're all red belts. Red signifies "danger", in that we supposedly have enough TKD knowledge to be dangerous. Approximately a year away from black. Probably more, since they only do two black belt tests per year, and we'd have to work out butts off to be ready for this December, so we probably won't go up until next summer. Still, it's very nice to be part of the almost-elite :D :D :D

Heck of a birthday present for Justin too, and almost-birthday present for Daniel ;)


Sep. 21st, 2009 10:16 pm
ciroccoj: (blue belt tae-kwon dos)
I got in a very good uppercut at tonight's TKD. I did not mean to. Apparently, it hurt quite a bit. The white belt dude I slugged was a pretty good sport about it though.

::ahem:: I mean, I totally meant to do that. The black belts tell us that one of the things you need to learn is how to take a hit so you won't be be startled by it during a tournament. You can't coddle a student just because they're a white belt and it's, like, their second class.

::cough:: Yeah, that's it.
ciroccoj: (red stripe tae kwon dos)
Today's class includes a small lecture to the kids about being "at attention" and showing respect and concentrating. After class, Justin lets me know, "The whole time Mr. P was talking about concentrating? I had an itch in my ear. And if I was a blue belt I would have scratched it, but I was listening to Mr. P and I thought, I'm a red stripe now, so I didn't scratch."
ciroccoj: (red stripe tae kwon dos)

No visuals here, just audio. Pretty sure it's supposed to be a radio play anyway. Still makes me smile, twenty years since I first heard it :D :D :D

Master: The only use of Ti Kwon Leep is self-defense. Do you know who said that? Ki Lo Ni, the great teacher.

Ed Gruberman: Yeah? Well the best defense is a good offense, you know who said that? Mel, the cook on 'Alice'.
ciroccoj: (red stripe tae kwon dos)
Well, you really can't tell from the icon (and Facebook doesn't even have an icon, so whatever) but we're now red stripes. There's symbolism attached to each belt colour, and a red belt (which is the last level before black) means Danger. As in, you have enough knowledge of TKD to be dangerous. And you must warn others of this danger. Or understand your own dangerousness. Or... something that I should probably learn before becoming a red belt.

We're not red belts. But we're halfway there: blue belts with red stripes. Therefore, we are only partly dangerous. Risky, if you will.

Also: will not be going to TKD tomorrow morning :)
ciroccoj: (blue belt tae-kwon dos)
Memo to myself: If I ever am about to leave for an extended period of time, nobody at the dojang must know. NOBODY.

Whenever somebody's going away, the black belts give them an extra-special goodbye class to remember them by. Today's actually got me almost hitting the wall, for the first time in over a year. We had running, then jumping over people doing 50 pushups, then doing 70 pushups while people jumped over me, rinse lather repeat, then kicking drills involving non-stop running at kickers for about fifteen minutes, then... omg I hurt. I went down to kneeling pushups during the 140 thing. And then, near the end of the class, Chris went down to kneeling pushups.

I'm pretty sure Sarah, the black belt who's going away, will remember this. For a long, long time. And probably fondly, now that I think about it. She's in the armed forces. Tough/masochist is in the job description ;)

Also, for the entire class, in between trying to not die, Chris and I thought about the boys, who weren't there because Monday night is usually for grownups and black stripe/black belt kids only.

There's this black stripe kid (that's the last colour belt before black belt, btw), Gordon. He was fifteen minutes late today - not a rare occurrence. The teacher, Mr. D, didn't bat an eye when he came in late; just told him to do one hundred skips, twenty pushups, twenty situps, five times. Standard warm-up routine, and much easier than what the rest of us had done.

Gordon did it. It took him the rest of the class, and the entire time he had a little smirky smile, as he slowly did his skips and leisurely pushups and situps while the rest of us sweated and I wondered if I should fake a coma next time a teacher announced this was anybody's last class.

Five minutes before the end, he told Mr. D he was done. Mr. D rather curtly said, "No, just keep skipping. In that corner."

That's all. Not a single reprimand, not a single suggestion that he, you know, finish his supposed-to-be-15 minute warmup so he could do taekwon-do. Just let him piss away the entire class.

Contrast this with a class the boys suffered through last week, where Mr. M spent a great deal of his time correcting them and berating them and getting their attention, the names "Daniel" and "Justin" and sometimes "Daniel and Justin!" called out about half the time he called anyone by name.

The boys were unhappy. They felt picked on. On the walk home, I pointed out that their behaviour had not been good (Daniel was spacey and Justin was goofy, which they acknowledged) but that wasn't the only reason Mr. M had been singling them out. I pointed out that they are now upper belts, and supposed to be an example to the other kids, which they know. And I also pointed out that part of why Mr. M was picking on them was that he knows they can do better. The teachers know our boys try hard (most of the time); they know that picking on them isn't a waste of time.

I pointed out that next time they were feeling hard done by, they should take a look at how the teachers deal with Gordon. He's always been a bit whiny and lazy, but it really seems like ever since he got his black stripe he's just decided this TKD thing isn't his bag after all, and he shows it. He's perpetually late, he does only the bare minimum, he goes to the washroom for about ten minutes almost every single class, and the other day he was even being disrespectful to the teacher. Which may be considered cool in school, especially by other kids, but is absolutely not accepted in TKD.

The teachers have gradually stopped getting on his case about all of the above. They just roll their eyes and ignore the behaviour. Which is, IMHO, pretty much the best thing they could be doing. TKD is not mandatory; if anybody doesn't want to do the work, there's no point in forcing them to. I do think they should talk to his parents about pulling him out, because the parents are wasting their money, but other than that there's no reason to pit their wills against his, and waste everybody's time.

So we talked to the boys about the class after we got home, and I think we'll bring it up a few more times this week. Talked about what they would rather have: Mssrs M and D harping at them, or ignoring them? Being able to smirk at a class full of people pushing themselves to exhaustion, or being part of the class, learning, and having a sense of accomplishment by the end of it?

Conclusion of tonight's talk: I love our boys :) :)

Also: we're testing for our red stripes this Friday. Normally it's about six more months from there to red belt, then six more to black stripe, then six more to black belt.

November 2012

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