Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Congratulations, T!

I'm officially no longer the only brown belt in our dojo. T passed his brown belt test, and I have to admit the tall, slim teenager looks a hell of a lot better with his belt than I do with mine. He had some bobbles, mostly due to over-thinking, but he plainly knew his stuff and the test got better and better as he went on. I was especially pleased with his kumite. In free fighting T tends to the timid and over-analytical, not because he's afraid, but because he has a lot of native caution. Tonight he was able to put that aside and really go after his opponents, even knocking J (a very aggressive fighter), clean off her feet at the end of their bout. His katas, which started the test, looked very stiff and constrained, but when we had him redo his last kata at the end of the test, it looked about 10x better, showing what we already knew, that the stiffness was nerves rather than knowledge.

Sensei has already commented that T and I are going to start getting more things thrown at us, now that there's more than one brown belt. I'm really looking forward to it.

The boys are out of school this week because of Ike. A lot of our area is still without power, and several of the district schools are being used as shelters. We haven't lost power, but two poles near the back entrance to our subdivision are leaning at better than 45 degrees, and if they go down, we will lose power. Logically, but unfortunately, we're right down at the bottom of the priority list, because those wires are still intact and our neighborhood does have power. I'm crossing my fingers that they stay up until the crews can get to them, which isn't supposed to be until at least this weekend. Our personal damage is minor - several large limbs down, none of which hit anything major, a strip of flashing and about a dozen shingles torn off the roof. Rob will have to climb up there later this week and fix things.

And heaven help me, I'm having lengthy, daily theological debates with our neighbor's brother, a retired Baptist preacher. As much as I love theology, I'm not fast enough on my rhetorical feet to be good at, or particularly comfortable with, defending what I believe and why I believe it live and personal to someone's face. Particularly a very bright someone, whose theology is not terribly compatible with mine, and who has several decades of practice at this sort of thing. I'm torn between enjoying it very much, and wanting to scream and pound my head against the wall, mostly dependant on how well I feel I'm managing to make myself understood (agreed with is an entirely different matter). I find myself both eager to talk to him, and relieved that he's only visiting and will eventually wander off again.


pawpads said...

Glad things went well for him. I have a grading coming up and I'm just so un~confident, so I know how he felt.
Great news for you too, now that there are two of you.

Bill said...

Congratulations to T, from me, too!

I would love to be in on those theological discussions you're having - I have my theology well worked out, and I think it's pretty compatible with yours. Any "place" in particular you're having trouble?

Becky said...

Congratulations to T, and to you for not being the only brown belt again.

Perpetual Beginner said...

I've passed on the congratulations. T is still looking a little shocked at the brown belt around his waist.

Bill, my debate companion is Baptist (not Southern B, though), extremely conservative, personal-responsibility-above-all, AF vet (Vietnam and Gulf). He is extremely personally generous to people he decides he likes, yet seems absolutely against the idea of societal caring - which seems odd to me for someone whose bachelor's is apparently in sociology.

Among other things he's convinced that the Islamic fundamentalist terrorists will win because they have such absolute conviction in their own rectitude. Part of his solution is that we should have such absolute conviction in our rectitude.

Since I'm of the firm opinion that absolute conviction in one's rectitude is the first major sign that you're probably wrong, I'm not big on this plan.

He seems to think I (and Rob and the boys) are bright, idealistic people, well worth time and trouble helping, but wasting our energy and time worrying about those other people (I.e. most of the rest of the world) and how they will get by.

He and Rob actually have a fair amount in common in attitude towards the population at large, but Rob thinks the worthwhile people are better off if the not-worthwhile people aren't impoverished, sick and enraged. Also, that anyone regardless of circumstances should get a fair shot at proving him or herself worthwhile.

Bill said...

> Part of his solution is that we
> should have such absolute
> conviction in our rectitude.

> Since I'm of the firm opinion
> that absolute conviction in
> one's rectitude is the first
> major sign that you're probably
> wrong, I'm not big on this plan.

I have a pretty strong conviction in my own moral rectitude. This conviction is based on continually questioning my own actions and moral rectitude. I sometimes fall short, but then I correct. If I did not do this, then that itself would be a failing. This does not mean that I judge others: the Bible is pretty clear: "Judge not others, lest you yourself be judged."