Belts and Birthdays

This post is going to be fairly short because.....

It's my birthday today and I don't know if I'm going to have much more of an opportunity to sit here in the peace and quiet and write this blog post. This afternoon I'm going to be helping bake and frost cupcakes for tonight's Trunk or Treat at church. I'm really looking forward to that, but once I leave for the first thing I mentioned, I probably won't be back until really late.

Anyway, there is something that I want to mention before I go. Wait, I don't want to mention it. I'd rather shout it out, but for the safety of everyone's eardrums, I'll refrain.

You may have noticed something new about a certain belt rank that's pictured on the right side of this post. Last Tuesday night, my instructors surprised me with...well, I really don't know what to call it. It really wasn't a least, I don't think it was. Ahem. Anyway, They had me do one full form, a side kick with both legs, and then the very beginning of 2nd advance form. After that...they awarded me a stripe on my blue belt. To say that I was surprised is an understatement. I was completely and utterly shocked. In a good way though. Definitely a good way.

They also told me that this doesn't mean that now my brown belt test day will be extended to some time in the future. I could be tested next week, two weeks from now, etc. It depends on me as to when they test me.

And with that, I will end with one final line.

I hate these surprise test dates. They drive me insane with all the waiting.

P.S. Have a Happy and safe Halloween!

Can't Get Enough of Tae Kwon Do

I have so many things on my mind that I want to talk about that I'm not sure where to begin. The past couple of weeks have been absolutely wonderful for two reasons. The first is because my hip has healed and I can resume my regular practice without suffering any pain when I come home. The second reason why these past couple of weeks have been incredible is because I have now added a third class of Tae Kwon Do to my schedule. Yes, I said a third class. I'm learning so much from every one of them that now I question how I was even surviving on 1 class a week.

Here's a basic schedule of my week:

Mondays: 3:00pm-4:15pm. I go to an after school class at an elementary school. While Mrs. C teaches her white belt students, she gives me most of the class time itself to work on forms. The rest of the time I help her teach.

Tuesdays: 6:00pm-8:30pm. This is formal class night.

Thursdays: 6:30pm-8:30pm. Another blue belt and I have been meeting in the workshop at Mr. M's house to work on sparring, and more recently, forms, kicks, 1 step sparring, and the like.

I think I'm obsessed with Tae Kwon Do. Not that it's a bad thing, but now it's an obsession more than ever. I come home from classes pumped up and ready for more. I tallied up the amount of time I spend in class every week, and it comes out to 5 hours and 45 minutes a week, not counting practice time at home.

Now I will admit that my practice time at home is not what it should be. I'm working on that, because practicing at home is key to getting better, and that is what I'm aiming for.

I blog about martial arts. I'm a member of a martial arts forum. I write about each class in journal fashion. I talk about martial arts so much to my family that they're probably getting a little tired of hearing it so often. Oh, and I also can't stop thinking about it. I'm constantly going over forms and Self Defense techniques in my head.

Something that's probably contributing to all of this is the fact that I'm getting ready to be tested for my brown belt. In the next month. Ie: November 2009. And this has me on edge. I want to do my very best on that day and I have to be ready. I need to be at the top of my game.

Anyway, this has gotten to be fairly long, so I'm going to wrap it up for the day. I'm planning on a post for tomorrow, so be on the lookout for that.

On Injuries/Sickness and the Mental Aspect of Martial Arts

Well, it seems that within the past month or so, nearly everyone around me has been getting sick with something or other. From allergies and colds, to flu or worse. For the longest I avoided it, but my immune system finally succumbed at long last. I don't exactly know what bug I had, but it plagued me for almost two weeks -- that is why I'm just now getting to update my blog. Anyway, I'm feeling mostly better now. Thank goodness. I'm just trying to get rid of the tail end of some cold or allergy symptoms.

Now to the main point of this post.

I've recently added a second Tae Kwon Do class night to my schedule. There's the formal class on Tuesday nights, and now the new more informal class that a few of us have been attending on Thursday night's. The reason I say informal is because we meet in the workshop at my instructors house and wear street clothes/sweats instead of the full uniform.

I have really been enjoying the Thursday night class especially because we are focusing on sparring and we're getting a workout that way. But this also brings up the next point that I want to talk about.

About two weeks ago on a Sunday morning, I woke up with a pretty intense pain in my right hip. It wasn't constant, but every once in a while when walking or doing a movement that used the hip, I would get a stabbing pain from my hip to right above the outside of my knee. With rest, the pain went away entirely.

Well, being the kind of person that I am, I went to class on Tuesday night and since I wasn't feeling any pain, went through class as normal.

I was fine until I came home. It flared up again when I was going to bed. Once again, it stopped hurting entirely with rest.

After after talking to some people and doing some research online on my own, I'm pretty sure the problem is a strained tendon. I figured out that my side kicks in particular are what's causing the pain. Well, soon after that, I decided (with a lot of urging from my dad who has suffered quite a few tendon/ligament injuries due to football) to take it easy for a while. On Thursday night, I let my instructor know about the problem, and so now we're working on some things that will not bother my hip. Now that I've held off on the kicks and some of the exercises, the pain has decreased and whenever it does hurt, it's down to a dull ache.

I'm itching to get back into the swing of things soon. I've had to back off on my kicks and forms big time and focus on not-as-strenuous techniques and more of the mental aspect of Tae Kwon Do. As for mental, I mean the process of understanding why we do the techniques the way that we do, being able to know the material inside out so that I can feel comfortable explaining it, and being able to teach it to others.

I would say that the mental part of martial arts is as important, if not more so, than the physical. You can learn a set of movements in a form, but until you see why it is done that way and what it is used for, then you are doing nothing more than going through a dance.

That's a interesting thought to end with. I may have to continue with that in my next post.