Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Breaking Things

First off, I did pass my test. It was pouring rain in buckets, and only I, Sensei and one 9 year old white belt were there. Sensei was more stringent than usual (all that time, and no witnesses!), but I didn't make any significant errors, though he made some suggestions for improvement in my kata. Mostly that my stances could be purer - Seisan wider after turns, Seuichin deeper, transitions clearer. Kumite was brutal - Sensei himself until he decided he was tired. Breaking went well, I went through everything on my first try.

The three classes I've had since then have been prepping for the dojo Break-a-thon, which benefits the MS Society. That's this Saturday, and I've been alternating between practicing my own breaks, and helping some of the kids with theirs. We're supposed to be breaking 1000 boards in 30 minutes. The Taekwondo people (who own the dojo), set this one up. We generally don't teach breaking until middle belts, but the TK side does it from white belt, so a lot of our little ones want to participate, and we're trying to prep them.

One of our newest (the same 9 year old boy who was at my test) is waaay over-eager. If Sensei didn't keep such a tight watch on safety, he'd have injured himself by now. He's this way with everything - pestering me to teach him Taikyoko I by the end of his first class (after Sensei told him "Not yet."), hitting up everybody in sight to teach him anything they know about anything. It's always nice to have an eager student, but this one worries me. His ambitions are so far ahead of his actual ability at this stage of the game that he's a menace - mostly to himself. He wants to break the big boards with a seikan, when he can't hit a makiwara straight with one, and he can't break a little board with a kick. The most worrisome part is that he's willing to be deceptive - play a senior student off of Sensei, or fail to mention previous attempts or failures, in order to get people to let him try what he wants to. It's going to get him kicked out if he doesn't cut it out. Sensei's already warned him twice, and he's only been here 8 weeks (if that).

In other news, school started today. #1 son is in third grade, and reports that his teacher seems nice, and that there are about four kids he knows in his class - none of them kids he's had problems with before. #2 son started kindergarten. Unfortunately he was put in the wrong class (away from his best friend), by mistake, so the first day was marred by constantly looking for Ashley. We have it straightened out now, and tomorrow he starts in Ashley's class, which is making both him and Ashley feel much better about the whole kindergarten thing. He was so tired today after school that he lay down for half an hour after he got home, which is unheard of. Other than Ashley's absence, he seems to have no complaints about kindergarten, so I'm pretty confident about tomorrow going well.


Becky said...

Congratulations on passing your test. Our dojo, so far, hasn't taught breaking at all. If we do it, it is one of those non-class options that we do before or after class. Sensei does have some PVC re-breakable boards from Century, but has never used them in class.

As for kumite, we don't do a whole lot of that in class either. My shodan test was the first time I'd sparred since my ni-kyu test.

[Mat] said...

congrats too!

We broke boards and our teaching was, ok, hit it.



PerpetualBeginner said...


We have what I would call minimal breaking under normal circumstances. Two belt tests (yan-kyu and san-kyu) have single board breaks with basic techniques - only for those over sixteen. Sensei is very cautious about teaching for these, probably because he's broken his right hand three times doing ill-advised or ill-prepared breaks.

Kumite we do always - at least once a week - and at that we're far more kata oriented than my first dojo, where we fought every night, without exception.

Normally there's no way we would be having the little ones do breaking, but they really want to participate in the Break-a-thon, and the TK kids of the same age are breaking boards. I'm participating largely because my dad is a neurologist who specializes in MS, so I can't really let it go by.

Based on the tournament at the dojo, though, I'm showing up with a cooler full of ice-packs and a first-aid kit. The TK people seem to be very willing to encourage difficult breaks for very small kids, and aren't always well prepared for the results.