Category Archives: taekwondo

Friday update

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I’ve just realised I haven’t posted since Monday. Sorry to make you wait so long! When I started this blog, I was posting nearly every day – now, I find I’m spending less time on the computer, sometimes only using it in the evening rather than morning and evening.

I was “on the go” all day today, except for a small window of opportunity for half an hour before Taekwondo, when I picked up my knitting and did a few rows. We don’t usually go to TKD on a Friday, but the September schedule has started and there are lots of new classes. Apart from our main classes, which are for red and black belts on Mondays and Wednesdays at 7.30, we now have lots of other choices to make. Do we go to an extra sparring class? A self defence class? A kickboxing class? The young man who’s running the club these days is very motivated and an excellent teacher and is committed to four hours a night, five nights a week, at the dojang – in addition to his full-time day job.

I decided to freeze some of the tomatoes that we bought last weekend. I used 12 wide-mouth Mason jars, just washing them and pouring in the tomatoes that I had chopped up in the food processor. I did this last year and used them instead of canned and they tasted way better in recipes. We still have a pile of them left on the kitchen counter, but they are keeping well and we are doing our best to eat some at every meal!

I now have three trays of peaches in the cold store room. During the last week, I have been going down to the peach tree every other day and checking every single peach for a bit of “give”. If it seems a little soft, I pick it. The first batch still looks good and I am hoping that they will store for long enough that I can enjoy eating some of them without actually having to live on them for a week. I don’t want to freeze or can them – my freezer is full enough already.

Don’t tell my kids but I have simplified my bread recipe down to the absolute basics. Tonight’s pizza dough was just spelt flour, salt and yeast. I cut out the sugar, the kids haven’t noticed, and the dough still rises, so that’s great!


I finished the knitting part of my Brea Bag and found a boring black handbag at the thrift store for $2 which has a boring handle I can cut off and use for my Brea. If I find something better later on, I can always switch it. Really, I think I should have just continued knitting the gusset strip in the moss stitch until it was long enough to make a handle, as a knitted matching handle would be much nicer. I played with the kids’ Sculpey today and made some buttons. Not sure which one I’ll use, but one of them should work for my bag. (The thing with fangs and the stick-man-type character on the left belong to Ninja Boy, not me!)

And my latest project: a baby blanket. On Wednesday night, my Taekwondo instructor revealed that his girlfriend is expecting in January. Very exciting news….so what does a knitter do at the first sign of a new baby on the way? Yes, of course, I went to buy more Lion Brand Homespun the very next day in a lovely shade of blue (I don’t know if the baby is a boy or girl, but the blue was the nicest colour). I have knitted about 6 inches of the blanket so far. The photo doesn’t really show it well, but there are three big cables and a garter stitch border. I made up the pattern. Two strands of yarn, #15 needles (that’s 10mm I think), and 2 stitches to the inch.


I think we’re all caught up. Back soon!

Medals

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This is how K and I spent Worldwide Knitting in Public Day (Saturday)… earning medals in Taekwondo! Didn’t have time to knit.

We were up at 6.30 to be ready to leave at 7.30 for the one hour drive to Vernon. The morning was spent watching the younger/lower ranked competitors. As a black belt, I had my first experience of judging some boys performing their patterns and sparring. In patterns, there are five judges, in sparring there’s a centre referee and four corner judges.

Later, K competed in his division, earning a silver medal in patterns. His group was split into heavy- and light-weights for sparring, which was good as K is on the light side. At the same time, I competed in my division – there were five women in my group. It was a relatively small tournament, so they grouped all the women red and black belts over 18 together (normally I would have been lumped with the “35 and better” women). I made a mistake the first time I performed my pattern, but did it perfectly the second time, and made bronze. I sparred two rounds, first with my friend from my own club, and later with a woman from Vernon. No medals there!

Once that was out of the way, I was free to judge the men’s black belt sparring. That was great! The black belt men always compete last and a bigger deal is made out of it than anything else. It’s somewhat sexist, I’m afraid. I loved the judging – I was a bit nervous about doing it at first, but I got the hang of it by the end of the day.

I was happy with my bronze medal, as I have had a painful health problem the last few weeks that I thought might stop me from competing, but I resorted to a couple of preventative painkillers and made it through okay.

R spent all day Saturday and Sunday in a First Aid course, renewing his certification. It’s paid for by his employer, but unfortunately he has to do it on his own time.

And today we celebrated S’s tenth birthday. Yes, double digits for my youngest son. Ten years ago today, my bedroom was set up as a birthing room. Two midwives were here to assist me. My oldest son was 6 at the time and was standing in the hall with my neighbour, who had been looking after him and my 3 year old while I was in labour, watching me give birth to his littlest brother. (I just reminded him and he said he doesn’t remember it. Boo hoo! My neighbour certainly remembers it, though – she got more than she bargained for that night!) It was wonderful and definitely the best birth experience of the three (not that I had a bad experience with the other two, but this was the BEST)!

I didn’t have to make cake – S said he wanted some mango coconut Good Karma rice ice cream instead, though I also bought the Mudd Pie and Mint Chocolate flavours. We had home-made sub sandwiches and strawberries dipped in melted chocolate too. A gift was easy – I took his wish list into ToysRUs and found a Lego set that he wanted – a Mars Mission set called Alien Infiltrator, which he just finished building and brought to show me.

Happy birthday, S.

I made it!

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I did it! I passed my black belt test this evening. And so did my 12 year old son, and he tested not as a junior but as a full black belt (normally you have to be 13 or over to do that).

The last few weeks have been quite stressful. I had watched part of someone else’s test before, so sort of knew what to expect, but I was rather nervous about it all. I have been studying the manual, learning the theory (such as the history of Taekwondo and the meanings of the patterns) and working on the physical side of it in class and at home.

Today I managed to eat a little but the butterflies were getting in the way.

K and I arrived at the dojang just after 6.30pm, expecting a bit of a wait, but as it turned out the examiner had whizzed through the previous belt colours and was already testing the blue belts, so we were next. We started our test at about 7.30 and finished at about 9.45pm.

We had to perform nine patterns – I made a mistake in the very first one, but thankfully most of the rest were fine. Then we did pad kicking, then step sparring (which is stepping back and forth with set attacks and defences, not hard, but challenges the memory because there are 27 combinations to remember, plus you have to have prepared some of your own.

We had to do self defence techniques, including getting away from two guys, one holding each arm. We had to put on the protective equipment for the sparring – I even had my mouth guard in, because things can get a little crazy when those black belts start going at you. Actually, it was a lot of fun, the atmosphere was good – I did get bopped on the nose at one point, but it’s OK now!

At the end was the board-breaking and theory. I was able to recite the history of Taekwondo perfectly and answer the examiner’s other questions. K was a little slow off the mark with a couple of the questions – long silences while I willed him to say something.

At first, I didn’t have a lot of success with the board-breaking. When I tried the 3 board side kick, the back board broke but the others didn’t. The examiner checked the stack of boards and found that some were way heavier than others – they hadn’t been cut in advance and dried out so they were absorbing the impact rather than snapping in half. When he chose the lighter boards, I was able to break two at a time with a knife hand and two at a time with my side kick, and one with a spinning back kick. I didn’t succeed on the 360 back kick or the flying side kick. K broke most of his boards.

Because of the shortage of good boards, we didn’t have to do the 4 way kick or the double board break in the air with the feet.

The test went by fast. It didn’t seem as gruelling as I’d been led to believe. There are enough less active segments where you can get your breath back. So I will get a plain black belt at first, but in a few weeks I’ll have a new dobok (uniform) and a black belt with my name embroidered on it.

Of course, I can’t relax just because I achieved this rank. This is only First Dan of a total of nine. I am now an Assistant Instructor and not only will I be helping to teach others in class but I’ll have three new patterns to learn. However, the Second Dan test won’t be for at least 30 months, so there’s plenty of time.

I really must go to bed now – I have a headache, and whilst I am only aware of a scraped ankle (from a board) and a bruised hand (from a board) at the moment, I may wake up in the morning with a few aches and pains. It’s worth it, however, to know that I passed my test!

Oh, and my friend Anne came to watch (yay, my cheerleader, minus the pompoms) and took a bunch of photos with my camera. I haven’t looked at them yet. I’ll upload them in the morning. For now, it’s time to try and get some sleep.