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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Black Belt v2

Apparently, I am terrible at blogging. I keep up with it for a while, and then.... not so much.

In just a few days, it will be six months since my little guy got his black belt.

On the day that I earned my black belt, I couldn't have imagined feeling prouder or more nervous. I was wrong. On October 23, 2012, I was ever so much more of both.

He's been working at this since he was three years old. That's more than half of his life. I can't imagine working at anything besides school consistently for more than half of my life. And the improvements in him have been astounding... I couldn't have imagined on his first day as a white belt, when he had an instructor assigned to him just to keep him on his spot, that he would have turned out to be so focussed and determined.

When we got to the school the day of his promotion, he immediately got on the floor and started practicing with his weapon. He was excited and motivated and proud of himself. It's such a big accomplishment for such a little guy.

He was front and center, with one other classmate who was getting her black belt too, the whole time, and he commanded it. He was confident and ready to do his best, and he did. He knew the material, his form was crisp and clean, and his sparring looked like real sparring (sometimes the really little ones look like they're sort of dancing about three feet away from each other).

The best part was his board break: since our entire family is in martial arts, we decided to have the highest ranking family member hold one board (his sister), and the lowest ranking family member hold the other (my sister). He used an elbow and a side kick to break them, and snapped through it the first time on the elbow. The side kick took a couple of tries, but he did it.

The speech his instructor gave really captured what I was feeling that day: that the transformation from a rowdy, unfocussed kid to a true black belt can be amazing. That discipline and hard work has brought out the best in him.

I wasn't sure what would happen after he earned his black belt. I didn't know whether he would want to quit, or get lazy about it, as sometimes happens with kids because there isn't the constant motivation of earning another belt in two months. Those things haven't happened with him. He is now more focussed, more motivated, and works harder at it than I've ever seen. I'm amazed at how much his technique and flexibility have improved in the last six months.

I had a conversation with him about it a few weeks ago. I said, "Do you still love going to karate?"

"Yes!" he said to me, "I really do love it. It's fun."

I was so glad to hear it, because I want him to stick with it.

"Good," I said. "As long as you still love it, we'll keep going."

Congratulations, Little Man. I'm so proud of you. Welcome to our black belt family. 

Friday, July 27, 2012


I just realized I'm coming up on 6 months as a black belt. Feels like I just got it!

We had our school's tournament last weekend. I always enjoy tournaments... but there's something particularly special about our own. The camraderie is greater, and there's a sense of pride in not only hosting an event like that, but doing it really well. We had a blast.

For the second time in a row, I placed first in sparring, and this time it counts (I still sort of can't believe it!). Since I became a black belt and joined the instructor training program, I'm earning points toward a state championship title. So we've decided that I'm going to chase more points... by going to as many tournaments as possible. We have one each month from now through November. I'll be busy! But I'm excited at the real possbility of pulling a title. And since The Man will be joining me, I'm sure he'll get some more titles too.

Little Man did awesome. He is getting so much better so quickly. I love watching him compete. Pretty soon he'll be competing for real too... right now he's still in the "everyone gets a medal and everyone is a winner" division, but he can't stay there once he gets his black belt - which is only a few months away! He's grown so much, and I'm so proud of him.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Diet update

I'm not crazy about that word, "diet." I mean, in the broad sense it refers to whatever you put in your mouth. But our society has made it such an ugly word... so many connotations of deprivation, restriction, and obsessing over food. What I'm doing is anything but. I eat fewer times per day than I used to. I spend less time thinking about food and when I can eat next than I used to. My meals are more flavorful and satisfying. So I'm not on a diet. I changed my diet (broadest sense), meaning I simply got rid of problem foods and eat whatever and whenever I want otherwise, but that's not what most people think when you say the word "diet." And it's not short-term either. I fully intend to do this for the rest of my life.

So, update on my success with it. I went to the doctor yesterday, and since I don't have a scale at home I consider this an official weigh-in. I officially weigh the same now as I did ten years ago, at 21. And I have better muscle tone and more endurance.

My acne is still gone (mostly... May is a big birthday month, which means alot of birthday cake, so I had a couple breakouts). My hypoglycemia is still gone. I have clockwork regular, painless (!!), 28-day cycles for the first time in my life. I'm more alert and more energetic than I've been since I was a young child. I sleep more deeply, and have started having vivid dreams again. I'm not sure how long it's been since I've been sick, but it's at least several months. I feel like my seasonal allergies are diminishing too... I have fewer sinus headaches and stuffiness.

The best part is that I do not have to count, weigh, or measure anything. I eat whatever I want whenever I feel hungry. Any woman over 30 who has had any weight at all to lose understands how wonderful this is. I did the counting and measuring thing for several months trying to lose weight, and it did nothing but make me miserable and obsessive.

I will post about TKD some time soon. I need to gather my thoughts.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm still alive!

Since we started the business, I have been working downtown only two days a week. We figured out that with me working about 6 hours a day instead of 9 and staying in town instead of driving 2 hours those other 3 days a week, I would get about 15 hours of my life back each week. Well, I have no idea where those 15 hours went. But the business is going great... really picking up steam, and we are enjoying the work. It's nice to do work where I'm moving around and using my muscles instead of sitting behind a desk all day. It's really helping me get in better shape.

May is usually a bit crazy for us. End of the school year and all that. We were booked solid through the beginning of June before May even started. It's been fun though.

I have been teaching the beginner adult TKD class with The Man for about a month now. I feel overwhelmed and frustrated sometimes, but mostly it's fun. It gets me out of my comfort zone and pushes me to learn more and work on my confidence. And we get to spend that time together again, which we haven't since I graduated from that class a year and a half ago. Now we are gearing up for our school's tournament, and fundraisers are in full swing. That's part of what sucks up all of our time this time of year. I need to start getting ad sponsorships and selling raffle tickets and all that fun stuff.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I've been a Saints fan since I was old enough to know what football was... and believe me, they were not good back then. It was a pleasant surprise when they won a game. It's alot more fun to be a Saints fan the last few years... except for right this minute. I'm not going to go into my opinions about what's going on, except to say I don't like it.

What I will say is, Sean Payton is a class act. I loved listening to his press conference this morning.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

What's next

Next on my list of things to do: open a business. The Man and I are going part-time at our jobs and opening a Home Services business (house cleaning, lawn care, minor home and landscaping maintenance). We have our license and tax ID and a handful of clients, and we're getting excited. It's terrifying but in a good, gutsy, challenging way. I know we can do well if we work hard, and I sure am ready to stop driving two hours a day. This weekend we need to get ourselves bonded and order business cards, and then we'll be set to go at the beginning of April.

I got my new uniform at class Tuesday night. It has my name on it! It's really real now, I'm really going to be an instructor. I still can't quite believe that I'm even a black belt. I've come so far in the last three years, I'm not sure I would have recognized myself back then. The next thing I really need to work on in TKD is calming my nerves, especially in competition. I always let them get the best of me, and I don't perform nearly as well in the ring as I do in practice, and it's intensely frustrating. I know I could be winning more often if I would just quit freaking out.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Two weeks

Well, almost. That's how long I've been a black belt. I'm not sure it has quite sunk in yet, but it sure feels good to tie it on and go to class. Pretty soon I'll be reaching for other goals and jumping into new adventures, but for now I'm basking in the glow of this one accomplishment.

I decided to give Little Man a break. The other night, when we started teaching him his new form, he burst into tears. That was when I realized, hey, he's probably feeling most of the same stresses I am. And by the way, he's been doing this for nearly three years too, but he has never taken a break. So this cycle - and next cycle too if he needs it - he's not going to class, not promoting, not doing any TKD if he doesn't want to. He gets to focus on school and being 5, because that's plenty all by itself. Right now he loves the sport as much as we do, and I don't want him to start to hate it because it's too much pressure. He stopped crying and actually skipped away when I told him he could have a break. I think it's just what he needed.

Mom is home from the hospital and doing reasonably well, considering. It's going to be a long and painful recovery, but she's one of the strongest people I know, so I know she'll get through it. But by all means, keep praying.