Superwife - Camo belt - D

My wife of 8 years and mother of our three kids. She started TKD after the birth of Odie, our third child.

Princess - Camo Belt - D

Our seven-year-old daughter. She was originally supposed to be a spectator to Cowboy, but jumped in and has proven to have an incredible talent for the martial arts.

Cowboy - Camo Belt - D

Our six-year-old son. He is small for his age, so starting him in TKD is what got us into this mess. He is very close to our Chief Instructor, and his spirit is twice as big as he is.


Our youngest son, born in April of 2006. By the time he is old enough to start, we should all be Black Belts.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tearing My Heart Out

I lost my bag.

We're not sure exactly where, but I went to church to drop off some food on Saturday after class and the bag was on top of the food box. My only thought is that I either a) left it at the school (unlikely), or b) took it off the box when I took it out of the car and left it on the sidewalk. Noone has turned anything in.

In the bag--all of my gear and weapons, my brand new camo belt, and an old $500 camera.

Man, I'm pissed. I haven't even started paying it off yet.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Cranking It Up a Notch

We all graduated on Saturday to Camo-R's. It was our first mass-graduation, with students from all three Tucson schools participating. It was extremely chaotic, but we really enjoyed it. In particular it was nice to see something other than the Tiny Tigers test while we waited, since that is what we normally do. We also got to see the Candle Ceremony, something that I had never seen before. Being a former instructor (albeit military) myself, the ceremony brought me to tears.

Sunday we left town for a family event, and missed class on Tuesday as a result. On the way home I called one of the other students to ask how class went. I was expecting to hear that we would be given the "daunting" task of learning the second half of Songahm 3 for the Mesa tournament in three weeks, followed by the first half of In Wha 2 (a little more daunting) for our next graduation, just prior to Spring Nationals. I was assuming that we'd be doing Songahm 3 in the National tournament, as well.


In addition to the physical portion cranking up a bit (happily, for me and SW), they learned the first six moves of Choong Jung 1. And we're not learning half, we're learning the whole thing. And not for Vegas, but for Mesa.

Mesa's 31 days away.

I'm completely stoked about the challenge, but SW was a little miffed by this latest move. Not two months ago, we tested for a half-belt because our instructors didn't feel that we were able to handle all of Songahm 3 in a complete cycle. Now we're learning a Brown Belt form in three weeks. Again, I'm totally psyched that I'll be able to compete with this form--but a #2 Jump Crescent kick is a little intimidating for the whole class. Especially seeing as though we have half of a belt that's colored yellow.

We also switched to Bong Mahng Ee for Black Belt Club. I was pretty fired up about the SJB's, but at least this will probably be easier to make up a 20-second freestyle form.

Just prior to the graduation our instructor pulled SW and I into his office. With all four of us moving into a different level, the schedule for us became virtually un-doable. With Cowboy in TT's, and Princess in K4K, in order for us to go to all of our classes, and BBC for all of us, we would literally be there every day the school was open. Monday-Saturday. I had voiced my concerns to Mr. N and he said he would look into what could be done. We liked his answer.

Princess will be moving up to our class. This not only allows everyone to stay on the same day, but drops two classes a week from our schedule. In addition, he wants Princess to be more active in helping in the TT class, something that I think she is pretty good at. I'm a little concerned that she won't have any interaction with kids her age, but it's only for a short while as we're leaving in July. After that news, he asked us what our plans were--if we wanted to continue after we had reached Black Belt.

SW and I have discussed off-hand that it would be cool to someday run our own school. It's many years away, but she's already looking into getting her MBA. She needs to get her Master's anyway and this was a useful degree to get it in.

Mr. N told us that it wasn't his call, but that he was going to talk to the school owner about possibly getting us into the leadership program. No other students in the class have mentoned it to me, so I'm assuming that he hasn't spoken to anyone else about it. We walked out of there on Cloud Nine.

I am completely content right now. Things at ATA couldn't be better.


MILES: -30.4 (ugh)

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Thursday, December 14, 2006


I am so loving this.

We've begun sparring regularly now, after drills and prep work to get ready for it. The only complaint I have is the fountain of sweat that pours out from my hewadgear, but it's bearable. We've only been doing kicks to the body, with no punches or head shots allowed at this point. Either way--it's a blast.

I'm not sure if I'm going to enter the January 20th tournament. First, I may not even be here for work reasons. Second, if I do get to go, we'll be taking Odie along with us so only one of us will be able to compete while the other watches the kid. We had Cowboy next to us last time, but he's pretty self-sufficient in comparison to a 10 month old.

Sahng-Jeoul Bongs are going well. I'm having issues with the foam bouncing off of my back when I bring it over the shoulder, resulting in it bouncing back to the front. I also am having issues with the "around the neck" move. Either way, it's a blast.

Tonight's our last prep class before testing on Saturday. Finally a Camo Belt (albeit half camo/half yellow). After next week we finally have a break in training when the school takes the holiday off.


MILES: -26.3


Friday, December 01, 2006

The Best Class Ever

A little background...

Summer of 1979 or so. I was roughly the age of Princess, and my Dad had gotten a deal at the local Karate school to sign us both up for three months free. After the three months was up, I was due to go back to school and wasn't enjoying the class at all. I didn't like to sweat, didn't like pushups, and just wanted to play with my toys. So I quit. He stayed.

Fast forward ten years. I am now a junior in high school, on the football team, and have my eyes set on going to a military college. I like to work out. I like martial arts. My Dad, who never stopped, is now a 3rd degree Black Belt and one of the head instructors of the school. I go back.

For the next two years my Dad and I became very close. I made it to Green Belt, roughly halfway to Black, when I had to go to college and they moved away from Massachusetts. Both of us stopped Karate and never went back.

Shortly after my first attempt at Karate, my Dad started training with Nunchakus. He passed a pair of foam-covered ones to me to play with, showed me a couple of drills, and never asked me about them again. In my imaginary world of my bedroom I became Bruce Lee and swung the sticks around constantly over the next ten years. I never really thought much of it.

When I came back, the school decided to put together a demo team when I was an Orange Belt. They had each student pick a weapon to try out. I obviously picked the Chucks. When our first class began, the instructor's jaw dropped as I was spinning them around my body. He went and got the school owner. I was confused, as I thought I was relatively a beginner, since I had never gotten any instruction in how to use them. When the school owner came up, he turned to my instrcutor.

"Give him another set," he said plainly. I had never handled two at once. I started doing symmetrical moves around the training floor when my Dad came up.

"Where the hell did you learn that?" he asked. I just shrugged and told him that I had been playing with them for my entire life. They made me the demo student for chucks on the spot.

Fast forward to last night. Finally, an amazing class. The whole family has been under the weather recently and neither SW or I were very enthused about going to class. We started by doing 100 sidekicks--#1, 2, 3, and 4. About halfway through a light came on. I was feeling comfortable. My balance was still way off, but the kicks were good. Then we did our forms for a while, and learned the rest of our form. Lastly, we did our one-steps, and learned the third one. By this point I was in the zone--it seemed like everything I was doing was going smoothly, I was feeling great and hitting my moves well. At the point that we normally do ground fighting (which has been conspicoulsy absent for a couple of weeks) Mr. N had us all go pull some weapons off the rack in the lobby.

Sahng Jeol Bongs.

Hells yeah.

My adrenaline rushed once I was holding that weapon again. He started by showing us some basic moves, which I flew through like I had never stopped using them. It was the most pumped up I've been since we started Tae Kwon Do.

We finished up with some jump kicks on a heavy bag. By the time class was over, the emotion in that class was so charged I could have gone and run five miles. For one night, it was the class I've been dying to go to for six months.


PUSHUP: +129
MILES: -28.6