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, May 29, 2007

Home Stretch

Our time here is rapidly coming to an end.

Again, focus is so far below that of what it was when we were ramping up for Nationals that it's not even recognizable. But at least the motivation is there, on the adult side.

On the kidlet front Cowboy still goes 100% every time he goes, simply because he still loves it. Princess, on the other hand, is barely hanging on. I'm still afraid she'll quit once given the opportunity by us leaving to go to Alabama. Once her beloved instructor left, the air was just sucked out of her sails--and it doesn't appear to be coming back.

As far as SW and I go, we've already determined our own path--we've spent far too much money and time to quit now. We've already decided that even if the school in Montgomery is miserable, we have to stick it out simply because we can't go back at this point.

Class has been interesting, to say the least. Once it was finalized who would be in Leadership, and SW and I realized we would not be in that crowd, I was filled with mixed emotions. We probably wouldn't do it here, anyway, since it is more of a purely instructor training than leadership training, and it's just so expensive here. But the fact that we have been kicked to the curb (other classmate's words--not mine) was really a smack in the face. At the very least, the staff should have at least told us why we weren't coming in. Again, speaking from experience, if you let the student make up his/her own reasons as to why things are happening, 99% of the time they will choose the worst-case scenario. This school has so much potential to be great, if only they could overcome some really simple obstacles.

I do love this school, and this region--I really do. It breaks my heart to see my friends all moving on and leaving us behind, even though in a month we would be doing the same to them. But we are looking forward to moving on to another pasture--whether it be greener or not.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Changing of the Guard

This weekend marks the last time I'm going to learn from my first instructor.

I'm filled with mixed emotions--sadness, optimism, some anger. I'm very optimistic of our new instructor--he has more energy than any of the Tiny Tigers, teaches things very quickly and runs us into the ground in our workouts. But there's no chemistry yet--none of that which we've developed over the last year with our instructor.

It's been interesting to watch, the dynamic between not only the students and instructor--but also between the students themselves, and the instructors themselves. I still hold a feeling inside that there is something more to our teacher leaving on his own journey. Things that he's said or done seem to make me feel that it is not 100% what he wants to do. Still--he has been teaching us this week, and remaining true to his ways rather than changing to accommodate the new instrcutor's style of teaching.

I wish there were a happy medium--somewhere between what our new instructor is and what our old is. The intensity of the new guy with the care of the old. If only we could have them both...

And then there's Cowboy. He absolutely idolizes the old instructor, and SW and I are worried about what his reaction will be. He seems to think that anyone not with us would be "alone" and that's what bothers him the most. And the old instructor, who at the beginning was cold and distant to the students, has come to show real affection for Cowboy. I could not pick a better person or teacher for him, and I fear losing that.

As part of the changes that have been instituted with this changing of the guard, all of the adults have been invited into Leadership. All, that is, except for SW and I. I'm not sure why--if it is because of us leaving, our attitude, or something else. We are extremely loyal to the school, all objections included. But it didn't surprise me when we weren't invited. I can't exactly explain why. One of the other adults has been hired on as part-time help, presumably to fill the void that the old 3rd Degree assistant left when she abruptly departed. We don't have time to do that, nor the expertise, so maybe that has something to do with it. But then again neither do any of the other adults.

Part of being a leader is caring for your people. Part of caring is letting them know where their shortfalls are and how to fix them. I think this area, more than any other, has been the biggest issue with our Songahm experience so far.

My attitude has dramatically improved. I think the majority of the issues I was facing are past me now, and can be directly or indirectly pointed at the things outside of TKD that were weighing on me. We still haven't sold the house, but TKD is quickly becoming the escape it once was for our lives. Our goals at this point are to learn as much as we can over the next two months from our school--and then press on to whatever the next leg of this journey holds for us.

Farewell, Mr. N. You have been an inspiration to us and a spirit that we will never forget. When we get our Black Belts, one of my first thoughts will be to thank you--wherever you are.