After the stress and sad events of last week I decided to just focus on family and work for a few days, and to try not to dwell on those who have passed on for the time being. My aunt and uncle from Connecticut are in town -- have been since Friday, though they are currently visiting one of my aunt's cousins down in San Antonio along with my mom -- so the entire weekend was packed full to bursting with Family Time.
So much for avoiding stress. Lots of bickering, and the kids and their cousins have done a spectacular job of synergistically increasing each other's bad qualities, resulting in a broken bed frame, a wasted Sunday afternoon spent fixing said frame, and lots of "arrgh!"
Anyhow, things are settling down now -- we'll probably all get together for a last hurrah tonight once they return from San Antonio, and then they fly out in the AM. I'll probably get to see them for dinner or something while we are in NYC a couple of weekends from now. I should have recovered by then.
So anyway, I received my invitation to test for 7th gup last night, and needless to say I've begun to stress myself out about that. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I feel like my training has been a bit random the past few months. Happily, now that Master Nunan is back on the mat in the dojang, things are very rapidly returning to normal and the entire focus of all of our forthcoming classes appears to be on prepping us for testing. I'm nervous, but I'm sure I'll be ready. I mean, I really only have one or two minor problems with some techniques (spin hook kick continues to present a challenge, in particular -- I think I get it right about 1 in 4 tries with my right leg, less frequently with my left), but they'll get straightened out with more practice, I'm sure. Still, I'd prefer to feel a bit more confident in my techniques than I do. Hopefully that confidence will develop over the next week or so.
I also get to write another paper, this one a bit more personal-experience oriented. The topic is "What have you learned about Tang Soo Do Academy?" (that's our dojang). At first I was a bit flummoxed -- I mean, does he want history? The address? Square footage under air? But then I got to thinking about it last night, and I realized that in the time Master Nunan was absent from the dojang recovering from surgery I learned quite a lot about how our dojang operates, how it functions, how easily change can destabilize it, how when people pull together it can make it through the rough patches until things settle down again, and how rapidly things can return to normal when stability is recovered.
In a sense, it operates very much like a family. What will be interesting is that in that context, I am a child of the family, a junior member of a clan, and given that context a lot of the stress and concern I felt about the progress of my training over the past few months makes perfect sense. It also explains the thrill and relief I felt while training last night when Master Nunan complimented me, several times, on my hopping side kicks -- I hadn't realized how much I needed to hear him say that I was doing OK before I could accept that yeah, I was. Children thrive on stability, whereas chaos and rapid change tends to destabilize them and slow their growth. I think that the past couple of months of entropy (some good, some less so) had a similar effect on my progress as a student, or at least on my confidence in my own progress. I'm looking forward to exploring this topic more in my paper.
Anyway, I'll be in NYC the day my test is scheduled, so instead I'll be testing the following Friday night at the makeup exam. My daughter will be testing that night as well. I'm a bit worried about how well she'll cope with all of the distractions; unlike the standard testing the makeups are considered harder -- longer and more chaotic -- since all of the ranks are tested more or less at one time, instead of in ranked groups, but all I can do is work with her and get her to practice more and try to work on her focus. Regardless, it will certainly be a very different experience than my last test. I have no idea just how many folks will be taking the makeup test, but I imagine it will be more than just 3 or 4 of us: I'm sure there are lots of kids whose parents have made vacation plans that overlap with the testing day. I'm sure we'll be in good company.
Now Playing: Aaron Copland, "Appalachian Spring"