Sunday, April 22, 2012

Taekwondo Kid

Have any of you seen that new Karate Kid movie?  The one with Jaeden Smith?  Loved the movie, despite the many uncomfortable feelings I have while I'm watching it.  It's PTSD, China style.  (But not for reals.  So don't yell at me if you have PTSD for reals.)  I get flashbacks where I am momentarily transported to the land of the Eternal Stench, the land where I couldn't eat deli sandwiches, the land where I thought I would die of heat stroke.  And I get an uncomfortable feeling in my gut. Unhhhhh.  Like that. Right there.  Unhhhhhh.  For reals, yo.  I get that same feeling when Ben and I are skyping and I can see the apartment behind him.  Transported back.  Unhhhh.

Sorry.  I digress.  Anyways, it's a great movie, but my second biggest beef with it (my China PTSD being the first) is that it's called Karate Kid.  Duhhhh.  It should be called Kung Fu Kid.  Hiiiii.  He is in China.  Therefore, he is practicing Kung Fu.  Not Karate.  If he was in Japan, it would be Karate.  And what is practiced in Korea, you ask?  Why, it's Taekwondo.  And some of the stuff is similar between the different kinds of martial arts - the moves and whatnot. But Taekwondo (what Dylan does) uses Korean words, numbers, etc.

We signed Dylan up for Taekwondo a little over a year ago, and then we left only a couple of months afterward, so I didn't really get exposed to the ways of Taekwondo until we returned and got him back in.  It's been so fun to discover this whole new...subculture.  You know how each activity that people do has its own unique culture?  Take Barbershop Quartet singing.  My BFF, Pooh, and her mom are really into it.  When Pooh and I were both in college and single, Pooh would invite me along to these big, national barbershop quartet singing championship thingeys in Salt Lake.  It was so cool and soooooo funny.  I would hang out, like, in the "backstage"-type areas when Pooh and her mom weren't singing or whatever, and it was hilarious to hang out and soak in the culture.  These people just BREAK out into song randomly!  They'll be talking about something, and then suddenly, they're singing some song, each person in a different part, smiling and doing dance's seriously like being in a musical.  It's the craziest, funniest, coolest thing ever.

So what I'm learning about Taekwondo is that it, too, has a subculture. And it's been fun to learn about it.

Dyl had his first tournament in December.  It's called a Friendship Tournament.  It was just down in Pocatello.  Ben actually went with Dylie to this while I stayed home with the smaller kids.  Which is a really, really good plan.  You don't want to be chasing kids during any of these things.  Because they last for HOURS.  Hours and hours and hours.  You do a lot of sitting.  And a lot of waiting.  And a lot of confused blinking.

Kay.  So in Taekwondo, you learn sparring (fighting with an opponent) and you learn these things called forms, which are like dance routines, but with fighting moves.  You do both things for tournaments.  You usually do your form with one other person, to move things along (like it helps), and then you spar with a few different people.  They use those bracket thingeys like you see during March Madness.  This friendship tournament is a smaller tournament, which is a good place to start when you are a first-time Taekwondo-er.

Oh.  And you've heard of "black belt," right?  Your first belt is a white belt.  Then the next level is white-belt-with-a-yellow-stripe.  Then yellow belt.  Then yellow-belt-with-blue-stripe.  And on and on and on through the rainbow of colors until you reach black belt.  And then there are seven degrees of black belts, I believe.  So you spar and do forms with people who are in your level, right? They don't have black belts and white belts sparring.

Kay, so this is Dyl in the Friendship Tournament, doing his form:

And then he did a lot of waiting....

And then he got to do some sparring, which Ben got a video of, but no stills.  Dylan won 3rd place in his division for sparring and 2nd place for his form.  He got some certificates:

That dude giving him his certificates is named..let's call him Grand Master Blade.  His last name is the word for a weapon.  Which I think is funny.  He's the main dude in charge for the entire state of Idaho.  He lives in Boise.

The next thing on the docket was a Rank Test.  This is where you do your form, and then you spar.  And if you do well on both, you get your next belt.  There are only a few opportunities per year to move up to the next belt.  This rank test was in February.  Dylan earned his yellow stripe at this one.

A lot of waiting went on at this thing.  So we get down to Pocatello, and I'm like, okay, where do I pay my money? Let's do this thing!  And all the Taekwondo Moms (they're like soccer moms) were like, "You must wait for Grand Master Blade to appear.  When Grand Master Blade appears, then you can pay your money." 

I was like, "Appear?" 

"Yeah.  He has to drive here from Boise.  When he is here, then we can begin."  It was all very mystical and weird. 

My sister, Lex, was with me, and we're like, "Who is this Blade guy?  Why do we have to wait for him to appear?  Will he arrive in a puff of smoke??" 

And then I was thinking to myself, "So when you get to be, like, a seventh level black belt and become a grand master, do you get to choose a weapon as your last name??" So then I was, like, imagining what I would choose as my weapon last name, which invariably led me to go through all the weapons in the game Clue.  Grand Master Lead Pipe. Grand Master Rope.  Grand Master Candlestick. 

Turns out, this guy just happens to have a weapon as a last name.  Which I think is so cool.  For reals.  Imagine.  "Hi, my name is Karlenn Knife."  "That girl over there, her name is Karlenn Wrench..."

Here Dylan is, waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiting...

Finally, Grand Master Blade "appeared" (walked through the door), and we could finally get the show on the road.  Here Dylie is doing his form:

And then he got to spar with his little BFF in his class.  We'll call him Carson:

They both did really well and earned their yellow stripes.  Here is Carson, looking back at his mom, like, "Hey, ma, get a load of this!!"  Carson is a really funny, cute kid:

We took a picture of the kids from Dylan's school who tested:
Kay, and here's another thing about Taekwondo that I actually like.  There are a ton of kids in this group, but you'll see later on that there are usually adults mixed with the kids.  I'd say that maybe a third of Dylan's class is adults.  Which I thought was weird at first, but it's part of this subculture.  Everyone starts somewhere.  There are senior citizens who are doing this, some of them just starting out, some of them black belts.  There are moms.  There are teenagers.  There are college students.  And everyone helps everyone else. And they don't ever pit adults against the kids or anything.  Everyone has their own category.

Here is Dylan with his teacher.  We'll call him...James.
Dyl was thrilled to get his yellow stripe (which is actually just electrical tape.  I learned the hard way that you do NOT launder these belts once they have their stripe on them, or they'll peel off).

Then, on St. Patrick's Day was the big Northwestern tournament - everyone from the entire northwest (that wanted to) was there.

Lots of waiting.....

Forgive me for these pictures.  I forgot my camera and took pictures with my craptastic phone.  I call it the Barbie phone.  It's a piece of junk.

I don't have a picture of Dyl doing his form (which he just learned in February - each level of belt has its own form you have to memorize).  But I do have some of him sparring:

And more waiiiiiiiiiiiiiting.... (I brought stuff to make hair bows during the periods of waiting.  Sadie, who accompanied Dylan and I to Boise, was so bored that she begged to help me.)  {Aren't her little St. Patty's Day gloves cute???]:

They didn't do awards for forms in this tournament (maybe there were too many people??), but they did do awards for sparring, and Dylan won first place in his division!  Out of the entire northwest!!!  To say that he was walking on air is an understatement. :)

Alright.  So now we come to this last Friday, which was another rank test.  His teacher felt that he was ready to earn his yellow belt, so we went down to Poky again.

Again, no pics of his form, but I do have some of him sparring.  The kid can jump:
Ahh.  Like mother, like son.  Jumps were my specialty when I did ballet - did you know that?  Now you know. :)

 Sure enough, Dylie earned his yellow belt. Here is his teacher, putting it on him:

The members of the class who came down:

See? Adults, kids, teenagers...

One happy camper:
And below, one happy camper eating an amazing sandwich from this sandwich place in Poky called The Works.  My sis, Lex, hung out with us at this thing, and she and I ran over to get some food during one of the waiting lulls.  These sandwiches are to DIE for.  A. maz. ing.:

I'm so proud of my little man.  It's been fun to see him find something he really likes. We've tried him in different sports, but he wasn't ever really enthusiastic about any of them, until we found this.  So I think this is what we'll stick with for awhile.

Sadie told me the other day that she wants to do Taekwondo.  I was surprised.  "Really?" I asked.

"Yeah," she said, a slow smile creeping across her face.  "I want to fight."

Yeah, that is sooooooo Sadie.  We'll just have to find a money tree from which to get some money to pay for two kids to do this.  It's expensive stuff.


Emily Empey said...

Good Job Dyl! I didnt know you did Ballet! Awesome!

Nat said...

That's awesome that he got his yellow belt!

Yes, lots of waiting. It was like that with Jakob's dance class a couple of years back. W-A-I-T-I-N-G.

And yes, kid stuff is expensive. I've been looking this morning at things that I want the kids to do this summer/perhaps this fall, and it's so dang expensive! I'm like, maybe I can do stuff on my own that would be free, or cheap.

And I asked Jake today what he wanted to try this summer or fall, and he's like, "I just want to sit around the house all day in the summer." I'm like, not gonna fly, honey. Relax? Yes. Lazy? No. Maybe I'll do some reverse psychology on him, like, "That's fine, we don't have to sign you up for anything, but instead you can do chores for me all summer." I bet that will help him decide on something. :)

Mindy H. said...

Congrats to Dylan on all of his awards and belts. I have a friend who owns and runs the Taekwondo place in my cute little town, so I have learned a little bit about the "subculture". What a good mom you are to help Dylan find something that he enjoys and then spend the time and money to help him really get into it!

megan said...

Wow!! That's awesome that he's already at the yellow belt! Congrats Dylan!:) That's great that you've found something he loves to do!!

megan said...

P.S. I would totally LOVE to see you perform ballet!! I think it's amazing that people can do ballet!

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