Merry Christmas and After Christmas Shopping

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! My family and I stayed home all day yesterday and just relaxed after opening presents. It was nice to just sit back and enjoy the day and not have to worry about any obligations.

My post mentions after Christmas shopping, but I did not dare go out in all the rush like my mom did today. Instead, I did some 'surfing' and 'clicking' and found something I really needed on (Link to their website is on the top corner of the page) A new sparring gear bag.

My current one has one compartment to hold all my sparring gear and my belt. One compartment is NOT a good idea for me. After some of our workouts in class, I really don't want to store my belt with all of the sweaty sparring gear, so here is what I'm getting:

Have a great rest of December!

Class Party and End of Year Break

Today is December 22nd. More accurately, by the time that I finish this post, it will be December 23rd. Where did the rest of the month go? It can't possibly be time for a new year to be rolling around yet, but it is.

Back on the 8th, we had our annual Christmas party at TKD. There were tons of drinks and snacks which I was too busy to enjoy until after class, seeing as how a small forest's worth of boards were brought in for us to break. Everyone, (including parents) got a chance to break if they wanted to try. The reason why this is special for our class is because breaking is not something we focus on -- or test on. Add a bunch of white and yellow belt kids who have only been coming to class as of this year and you can see why this is always an exciting time for us. Most of the kids went home with an armload of the wood almost as tall as they were. I mostly supervised and watched, but I had my share of breaking time too, beginning when I was asked to explain how to set up the first break of the night and then demonstrate.

Our class was for the most part, a break from the norm. We did begin with a warm up and a few basics, but then we jumped right into the breaking and games. We played several rounds of dodgeball and one game of kickball. However, our games still required some essential things that we work on in class: Speed, coordination, focus, and good form on the kicks just to name a few.

Another important item of the night was the surprise 2nd part of a brown belt test for my friend and training partner Rachel. Even I didn't know it was coming. Needless to say, she earned her 3rd kyu brown belt! I am so excited for her!

All in all, it was a great night. But our Christmas parties also mean one thing. It's also an 'end of the year party,' which translates to: 'no more Tae Kwon Do class until January the 5th of 2010.'

Oh. No.

I hate having any kind of break from my normal routine of Tae Kwon Do class every Mon/Tue/Thur. So to help relieve some of my anxiety over not having an organized class tonight, I conducted my own 'class' in my driveway. I dragged out all the puzzle mats I have and set them up. After going through a fairly comprehensive warm up, and persuading the cat to stay out of the 'dojang,' I worked on several of my kicks and forms, followed by a 30 minute brisk walk around my street.

So even though I didn't go to class tonight, I still feel fairly satisfied with my at home practice.

As my ending thought, I have a question. What do you do when you are unable to attend class or have an extended break? Do you practice more at home? Get together with some training partners and work out? Sit back and enjoy the break?

Oh, and have a Merry Christmas!

Great News -- The Actual Post

My  plans to write this post yesterday didn't quite work out, so now that I have a good two hours before I leave to go to my Thursday night class, I'm beginning this... erm.... novella-length post.

So....for my great news! How do you like the new blog colors? I thought it was appropriate since on Tuesday, December 1st 2009, I was able to test for my 3rd kyu brown belt! Woohoo! Cue the celebratory music and confetti!

I think I'm still in a state of shock. I think it's because I have been a blue belt for quite a while and I just cannot believe that the day of the test finally came. Even though my instructors gave me a vague timeline for my test date, Tuesday night was still a great surprise, and one the best early Christmas gifts I could get.

I wasn't sure if Tuesday was going to be the night. When we started, the kids class lined up with us since there was going to be a surprise test for two of them. That test lasted a good 20ish minutes, and the two brothers received their new green and yellow belt ranks respectively. Their class then dismissed for the night.

Our class of five students and five black belts divided everyone up. Mr. G singled me out to work on all of my advanced kicks. By this time I was definitely suspecting. The black belts then called up the other blue belt, and then me (separately). I was asked if I felt confident of my four self defense techniques. By this time, I knew what was about to happen.

A few minutes later, the most exhausting and difficult test that I've ever taken began for both of us. I was and am still glad that I did not have to test alone. The testing itself was comprehensive of just about everything we knew, which translates into a very. Long. Time. Not that I kept up with the time, but I do know that we went past class time.

Some memorable events of the night included:

  • Starting with Basic Blocks and Punches -- the first set of techniques (that could be called a form) that white belts learn other than basic stances and commands -- and having to start over because we were not putting in quite the snap that the black belts wanted. "We could just go back to 1 steps for the rest of the class night instead of this test if you want...."
  • Being told that when we were going home at the end of the night, that we should not have nothing left in us to give. Absolutely nothing. It should all be out on the floor. Basically, we would be dead on our feet, having given everything we had and then some.
  • Answering our female black belt's statement to me by saying "Yes sir" and then realizing immediately what I had done and correcting it.
  • Demonstrating and teaching my 4 Self Defense techniques that I had been worrying about for months (and months and months) and them going off smoothly.
  • After finishing a teaching spar, a spar against a black belt, and a spar against a green belt guy, being told that I had to do a 2 on 1 spar with two of my instructors -- my first time to do so. Ever.
  • Focusing on what I was asked to demonstrate so much that at times I forgot about the other students and parents who were watching us.
  • Realizing that I really am doing this.
And finally,

  • After everything I've worked towards -- all the years I've put in -- all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears, and most importantly, all the support I've been given, being awarded my 3rd kyu brown belt.
If you can't tell, I'm ridiculously happy right now. It's just a huge relief. All the anxiousness from waiting and not knowing when it was going to happen after being told months ago that I was going to test is gone. I feel like I have room to breath again if that makes sense.

But that's not to say that I'm going to slack off now. No. Even though I did take a day off, I'm getting right back to work. Since Christmas is coming up soon and my TKD classes will end for the year, I have to stay sharp. Especially since there's going to be a black belt test on January 2nd and I have to be prepared to be involved in that test.

Before I end this post, I'm going to leave one last thought that just came to my mind. It goes well with the last paragraph actually. After the test, one of my instructors talked to me for a bit. He basically said, and I'm paraphrasing: "You think that it was hard at blue belt and that we were critiquing you a lot then? Well at brown belt.... It just got a lot harder. Put that in your blog."

Great News!

So I have some excellent, fantastic, absolutely wonderful news!

But at the moment, I'm dead on my feet -- even though I'm currently seated at a desk. I'm somewhere between asleep (maybe the correct term is passed out?) and a zombified state, so my long, detailed post rant is going to have to wait until tomorrow afternoon. Sorry, but I couldn't do it the justice it deserves right now. It's almost 11:30 and I have an eight 'o clock class tomorrow plus a research paper to turn in.

Until tomorrow then!

Have an awesomefultastic night!