Well, well. I was expecting, post shodan test, to be left alone to process for a while and not have any new kata thrown at me. Instead, Sensei has launched right off into showing me a new sai kata. I can't complain. I always love learning new things, and I'm liking this kata a lot, but I am rather surprised.
Chatanyara no sai is what I'm working on. It's easy to see why this one is a black belt kata. It has what appears to be a lot of repetition, but in the performance no two repetitions are the same. Not just the right-left-right changes of previous kata, but significant alterations more like a Bach theme-and-variations than a repetition. The linked video doesn't show this terribly clearly, due to the horrible quality, but unfortunately that's rather more the rule than not with footage of Master Shimabuku.
I seem to be picking up Chatanyara fairly quickly, but I can already tell what my big issue is going to be. It's supposed to be an aggressive, forward moving, fast kata. Sensei is already after me for my overly restrained motion. Much like Kusanku, which was good for teaching me to take up space (still working on that), this is going to be good for teaching me to show aggression and dominance. (Stop that Bill, I can hear you laughing from here!) I'm looking forward to getting the kata down so I can work on the style of it with some level of confidence and comfort.
In related news, Robbie has set his sights on the Lennox Legacy Tournament in Akron, OH the second weekend of November. It will be his first ever competition. Mommy will be going and competing also, as I do every year. I need to decide which empty hand kata I want to compete with and get cracking on dissecting it and putting it back together. Wansu, Sunsu, and Chinto would be the primary candidates. Wansu is my favorite, but also the earliest/least advanced of the katas. Sunsu I like very well, but it's also the one that gets used as a tie-breaker, so I'm not certain about using it for the primary competition (I.e. having never competed in the black belt rings before, I'm a little jittery about what's approved of vs. what's allowed). Chinto seems the most likely candidate.
Robbie will of course be competing with Seisan, the only kata he's going to have done by then. We also need to get him more comfortable with sparring. He's a bit prone to being either on full defense, warding off shots without making any himself, or full offense, throwing poorly aimed punches and kicks without any regard for whether he's opening himself up.
He's doing much better with his math now. We just got the next report, and he hasn't had any completely missed assignments since we talked to his teacher about his forgetfulness. I'm picking him up from school for this month, and making sure he has everything he needs before we leave school grounds. Once he gets reliable about packing his backpack correctly (right now he's getting it right about 2/3's of the time), he can go back to riding the bus. But at least now he's out of danger of getting himself booted from the advanced math class (You have to turn in 90% of your work with at least an 85% average to stay in.)
Aaron is dealing with a low-grade bug this week. We'll find out tonight if he can go back to school. He was running a fever last night, and the district rule is no fever for 24 hours without drugs, so while he seems to be feeling much better, if he shows any fever tonight, no school tomorrow. Fortunately, his grades are thus far ridonkulously high, so missing work isn't exactly an issue.