Pet Peeves

Pet peeves. Things that push our buttons. We all have them. When I started helping to teach in class, that's when I developed a few teaching pet peeves.

But before I get to those, I'll start off with one of my instructor's pet peeves. His is people not looking him in the eye when he is speaking.

The whole class was reminded of this on Thursday night. I was working on one of my forms in the back of the room while the rest of the class was seated on the floor and working on partner stretches. Mr. G had them stop for a moment so that he could explain some details about the stretch they were going to work on next, so that no one would get hurt. One of the yellow belt students was turned around and talking to another boy. Mr. G stopped class for a moment to reprimand him for not paying attention.

The reason I mention this is because the day before, I discovered one of my own pet peeves. A pet peeve that relates to teaching and martial arts, but it was in a different setting.

There is a 15 year old boy at church who is planning on joining our band. He practiced and played with us that night, but when we were getting ready to leave, I walked over to him to thank him for coming and playing with us that night. I addressed him by name to make sure that I had his attention. He was standing by a table and looking down at something. He said, "Yeah." I said what I had to say, and he responded with, "Yeah. No problem." I don't think he ever glanced my way.

And right then and there I almost went into teacher mode and did what Mr. G did. It bothered me that he didn't even glance at me in acknowledgment that I was talking to him. But I reminded myself that I was not in class, and he was not my student, so I let it go.

Have you ever had an experience as a student or teacher where you had to remind yourself that you weren't in class? What are some of your pet peeves?

Escrima Sticks and Journals

I was up late the other night and decided to take some pictures with my new escrima sticks.Tonight, I had my first little bit of instruction with them. We didn't  have much time left in class, but Mr. Mc showed me the first five strikes for me to work on this week. I'm really hoping that on Tuesday night one of the black belts will pick up where we left off tonight.


Speaking of escrima sticks, I was told to buy some gloves for when I start working with them in class to save my knuckles. I’m just not sure what kind of gloves to get at the moment. Obviously the foam sparring gloves won’t work. There’s an Academy Sports and a Wal-mart in town, but other than that, I would have to go online to actually have a good selection to choose from. Any recommendations about brand and kind? 


Do you ever have moments in your training when you wish you could remember a certain bit of information that your instructor told you about a technique, but for the life of you, you cannot remember what it was? What about trying to remember certain important events in your journey as a martial artist? I know that I usually say to myself: “I’ll remember exactly what went on in class." But a lot of times, I end up forgetting details or specific dates.

Back in early 2008, I picked up a journal that I was asked to keep for a class when I was about ten or eleven years old. That was also the time that I started in my first martial arts class. As I read, I found it fascinating what I had written about Tae Kwon Do. There were only about five entries about martial arts, but I loved reading those in particular. After I stopped writing in that one journal, I never really picked up the habit again.

As I closed the notebook and thought back to my earliest days of Tae Kwon Do, I realized that I had very few memories of those years. I couldn’t really remember much about what it was like just starting out as a new student, and I had no memory of how I felt about earning my first few belts.

That day I decided that I would start keeping a journal again. This time though, the only thing I decided to write in it would be my martial arts classes -- who was there, what we did, and what I learned. Things that I could look back on years later and really remember what class was like.

February 19th, 2008 was my first entry. I started out with a small journal that was about 150 pages long. It took me about a year and seven months to fill it up.

On September 10th, 2009, I began a second journal of about the same page length. It took me only around six months to fill it up. Going to class between two and three times a week really made a difference in how much I wrote and how fast I finished it.

Well, after seeing that the second journal only lasted me half a year, I decided to upgrade. My new journal (began March 9th, 2010) is a 400 page, college ruled, leather bound book.

I’ve found that I love journaling now. Writing about something that I am so passionate about is not only fun, but also has many benefits. When I look back at the troubles I was having with a particular form or idea, I can flip a few pages forward and see how I improved. It’s also great for keeping track of special events and accomplishments, and it allows me to see how far I’ve come.