Monday, October 18, 2010

All Taekwondo, All the Time

The monkeys have been taking Taekwondo at school for about three years. The Millers, of Midtown Taekwondo fame, have been their teachers.


The school lessons are "club" lessons and the kids pretty much stopped wearing their uniforms when it became clear that getting dressed took up most of their class time. Satchel would wear his belt from time to time. I wanted the monkeys to have a fuller experience, like Warren has with Kendo. I thought this year would be a good opportunity for them to start taking classes at the studio.


Initially they were not very excited. The classes full of kids they didn't know doing moves they didn't know intimidated them. I had to actually plead with them to go each week. And bribe them with Taco Bell!


Jiro didn't want to be the lowest ranked kid in the class, so one week he wore one of Satchel's old belts with a couple of stripes. Mrs. Miller quickly noticed and encouraged him to earn his own stripes. Then he got shy again, worried he wouldn't be able to remember everything he learned in class. Mr. Miller happily told him that classes were for practicing, and it was okay not to remember everything.

Satchel, who had a club yellow belt, soon earned a real yellow belt and some green stripes. Earning stripes totally motivated him to want to go to class more and more, and practice at home.

Jiro started earning his own stripes and the two of them were soon practicing their moves at every turn.


Last week, the school had official testing and the Millers told Satchel and Jiro that they were both ready to test--Satchel for his high rank yellow belt and Jiro for his yellow. In one month they learned more than they did in the previous three years combined! Or maybe the three years base knowledge is what helped them progress so quickly. Or maybe it was just their desire to get more stripes and higher belts.


Personally I would have been nervous with all of the judges, but both Satchel and Jiro seemed to be cool and confident. A nice change from the earlier begging and cajoling required to get them there!


As Warren and I proudly watched, I noted that their testing seemed to be even harder than the Kendo testing he did recently! I had totally expected them to get their belts at the end of class, but the Millers announced that they wouldn't get their results until the 23rd, at a family picnic in Overton Park.

The monkeys actually took this news in stride, which was a nice surprise. But believe me, they are counting the days until the 23rd! I was really proud of them.

OK, so if you're still with me. I of course have videos.

Here's Satchel's Don Gun pattern:

Jiro's Song Song pattern:

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