pegkerr: (Karate Peg 2008)
It seemed to go by so fast. Karate marching basics, basics (punching and kicking), paper kicks, self-defense, pad strikes, and sparring. We ended with horse back riding punches.

I wore my White Tree of Gondor T-shirt underneath my gi for good luck, as I had planned to do for years (during pad strikes, I thought about bashing in orcs. Hey, whatever works).

I did Zhang Du Moon for form )

Sparring )

Mr. Sidner, who has taught everyone in our family since 2003, tied on my belt. It meant a great deal to me.

Then I tried on my new blue coat and my family joined me for the taking of pictures. I got genuinely teary. My, how long and hard I've worked for this!

Special thanks to my instructor, Mr. Sidner, who has been with us every step of the way on this journey.

Thanks to my family,

Three black belt girls!

my parents and my sister Betsy, and to [ profile] naomikritzer

who got up early on a Saturday morning to cheer me on!


pegkerr: (Karate Peg 2008)
If anyone is interested in attending...

My black belt test will be held this coming Saturday, April 30, from 9:00 a.m. until noon. It will be held at the Earle Brown Heritage Center. Here's a map with directions on how to get there. Almost 100 people will be testing, and so seating for spectators will be tight. If you're interested in coming, better come a little early.

pegkerr: (Karate Fiona 2008)
Fiona has passed her black belt test, second degree! She now will wear a red uniform with yellow piping.

July 31, 2010 Black belt test for Fiona - Second degree
July 31, 2010 Black belt test for Fiona - Second degree

Kicking section ) (Fiona is the taller of the two girls in this line, farther from the camera)

Form )

Self Defense )

Jump Scissor Kicks )

Paper Kicks )

Pad kicks )

Sparring )

More pictures afterwards )
pegkerr: (Karate Fiona 2008)
Fiona went to take the second of two screenings for her next belt tonight.

She was worried going in because she was really not feeling up to par. She hasn't had a hard workout since the mugging, because of the medical restrictions. "And I feel tired," she said. "I've been feeling really tired for months now." I looked at her in the rear view mirror, worried. I wonder if she might actually be a touch anemic. She takes vitamins--when her Daddy nags her--but she barely eats any red meat or other high iron foods.

The kicking section was what was weak last time, but that seemed to go much better this time. Her balance looked rock-steady, and she kept her leg up at belt level. On form, I saw one bobble--she lost her grip on the bo with one hand mementarily--fortunately when she was facing away from the test examiner.

Then came self-defense. She started out as the attacker. I looked over at her and suddenly realized that she was in tears.

I was immediately alarmed. What had happened? Had her partner inadvertently hit her? This was the first time she had faced punches in a week. Was she having, god forbid, a flashback from the attack or something? Her back was toward the front of the room. She surreptitiously wiped her face several times and pulled herself together, and then switched to defense. It didn't look terribly solid. I don't think she twisted or transferred her weight on everything. But the examiner made no comment.

She came out for a water break and I made a bee-line to her side. "My skinned elbow [from the mugging] opened up again when she took me down with that sweep," she explained. "And I hit my head on the ground. Now my head really hurts."

The concussion I thought. Damn.

She got through paper kicks and pad strikes. Then everyone suited up for sparring.

Sparring did not go well, and I could immediately tell that something was different. It took me a little bit to realize what it was.

She was paired up with another woman, slightly bigger and heavier, and she was retreating. She was doing nothing but retreating. And that wasn't like her at all. Fiona fights guys MUCH bigger than her all the time, and usually she's really aggressive.

The examiner stopped the bout a couple of times, directing his comments to her, telling her to change direction, to keep outside the red zone. The bout resumed, and she continued retreating. I clenched my fists. Toward the end, I saw that she was in tears again.

The bout ended and both were dismissed. I followed her to the back, where she took off her gear methodically, stopping to wipe away the tears on her face as she removed piece by piece. I handed her the water and helped her pack her kit bag.

I was so afraid of saying the wrong thing. "I'm really proud of you, honey. It was so hard, but you got in there and you did it."

She leaned her forehead against mine, obviously spent and still upset.

"Fiona..." I hesitated. "I could go and speak with the examiner for you. I could tell him what happened to you last week, so he can take it into consideration. But I won't do it unless you give me permission."

She thought about it, and finally nodded. "Yeah, why don't you tell him." She wiped her face again. "I hate being a girl when it makes me cry like this."

"I know," I sympathized. "I do it, too, always at the time when it's most humiliating."

So when everyone had finished sparring and had left to pack up their gear, I went to have a quiet word with Mr. Worley. "I just wanted to, did our head instructor tell you what happened to Fiona last week?"

He looked puzzled. "No."

"She was mugged. This is the first time she's fought since it happened. She was on medical restriction because she had a grade one concussion. I just thought--with what happened with the sparring and everything--maybe you should know." I was assailed by sudden doubt. Was it a mistake to tell him? Would he think I was an overprotective parent, just making excuses for an inadequate performance?

He looked shocked. "No, I didn't know that. I'm very sorry that she went through that. I think she fought okay. She was facing a larger opponent, after all. She just needed to work on her movement."

I nodded, and quashed the absurd urge to apologize for making the explanation.

I took Fiona out for ice cream. She was so tired that she only managed a half a dozen bites, and then she threw the rest of it away.

Came home where we got a call from our head instructor. He told me he'd spoken with Mr. Worley, and so he was calling us to apologize for his oversight in not passing along to Mr. Worley Fiona's situation. They would not have made her fight, had they known. But the good news is, Fiona passed the screening.

So, now Fiona, although still very tired, is extremely happy. She is testing for her second degree black belt on Saturday, July 31, at 9:00 a.m.
pegkerr: (Karate Peg 2008)
The test went really quite well. I was plenty nervous, especially because I was having cramps in both feet for almost a half an hour before the test started. But once I got started, the body settled down, and it didn't give me trouble during the test. Thank heaven. There were only three advanced belts testing: me, and two black belts, one first degree and one second degree, both testing for section stars. Therefore, we were told to come to take the test with the Intermediate belts, rather than having them hold an hour and a half long test for just the three of us. Therefore, things were much easier than they might have been, if it had been a standard advanced belt test. The kicking didn't go on nearly as long, I didn't have to do paper kicks, and I got much more rest.

I had a little trouble with balance on the injured side during the kicking section. But my instructor reminded me to arch my back, and things settled down. I felt quite confident on the form and self-defense section, and sparring was easy: I only had to demonstrate a setup and a jam, rather than free sparring as we would if it had been an advanced belt test.

My instructor said I looked very solid, and he thinks I'll be entirely ready to test for black belt test in December.

If I live through the screenings first. Oy.
pegkerr: (Delia)
Today is Delia's fourteenth birthday! Alas, her sister and father heartlessly left her alone to go tour colleges in Northfield. I mean, what kind of priorities are those?

But wait! For the first time evah, Miss Delia has a Nana and Granddaddy who now LIVE IN TOWN! And can spend her birthday with her! They came and got Delia and took her out for lunch with my sister Betsy and fussed over her and made her feel Speshul. As she certainly is. And then...Nana came and helped her clean and organize her room. For THREE HOURS. She is delighted with her new, clean, newly uncluttered room. It's cozy rather than suffocating.

I tell you, having a Nana in town is amazing. We could totally get used to this.

We had thought we would open presents on Saturday, because we thought Fiona would be working at the dojo tonight. But Fiona called from Northfield saying she was going to be late into work because of college tours, and they said, never mind, no need to come in. And because she was fried from a week of college touring, she skipped her own black belt class, and instead we went out for dinner and celebrated Delia's birthday. On her birthday. Wow, what a concept.

She was delighted with her presents. She's downstairs now playing poker with Daddy and Fiona with her new poker kit.

Slumber party tomorrow night. The theme is Pirates, as she plans to have people watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. While in Northfield, Fiona providentially found a store where she was able to buy a cardboard cut out stand alone Jack Sparrow, which she snuck into the living room and assembled when she got home. Delia shrieked when came down the stairs and saw it because she was so startled. Then she was delighted. Alas, I will miss the party, as I am going to take pictures at another dojo's belt test tomorrow night. I also have belt test pictures at our dojo Saturday morning.

That is... I will take pictures of the beginners and intermediate exam. But I will NOT be taking pictures at the exam test, because I will be testing myself, for my double black stripe belt. This is my LAST BELT TEST AT MY SCHOOL. The black belt test is citywide. Hurrah!
pegkerr: (Karate Fiona 2008)
Here's a freeze frame shot I grabbed from the video I did of Fiona doing her form last month.

Talk to the Foot!

I'll send it to her. Maybe she'd like to make an icon from it or something.
pegkerr: (Karate Fiona 2008)
This is the test she took last weekend.

Form (there's a bit of a pause at the beginning):

Self Defense:

And a few pictures. She's looking fierce:

Her first of two screenings for black belt second degree was tonight. Unfortunately, she doesn't think she did very well at all and is extremely doubtful that she even passed. It could be they will give her notes from tonight and expect her to clear all the problems up before the next screening, which takes place a month from now. Or she might be told she'll have to start all over again next quarter. We'll know in a week.
pegkerr: (I pass the test)
Fiona was supposed to screen for her third section star last Saturday, but she woke up suffering from a cold that day, so we arranged for her to delay and take her section test today at a different school. She still didn't feel 100% and had a crummy day at school that was making her stressed out. But she passed the section test. This is a smaller school (it's one of the ones where I take belt pictures each month) and so they have just one test for all levels. This was actually a bit of a break for her: instead of a tough hour and a half exam for just the advanced belts, which would have meant longer sections for kicking, paper kicks, and sparring, she shared the test time with students at every level. This gave her more time to rest between sections, and the test ran long and so they didn't even do paper kicks or sparring at all.

Anyway, she looked great. She was one of three first degree black belts testing for section stars, and she was definitely the best of the three. Her kicks were faster and much more technically correct, and she locked out hard and had greater intensity. I was really proud of her. I have some pictures and video I'll try to get up this weekend.

She is going to start the screening process for black belt second degree right away. The first screening is going to be next Wednesday night.

I also talked with our senior instructor today, who told me that he intends to have me test for my double black stripe belt either at the end of June or July, and I'll start screening for my black belt exam in August, with the goal of taking the exam in December (assuming I pass all three screenings. Which is a very big 'if.') I told him that the knee seems better, but it still does give me trouble, as well as the hip, and I'm honestly doubtful I'm going to be able to make it all the way through the screenings both in terms of the injury and in terms of stamina. He told me again that they do make allowances for older students recovering from injuries, and I've looked very solid in class.

Well, it's hard for me to believe, but he's the expert.

Wow. Black belt. I still can't quite believe it.
pegkerr: (I pass the test)
Fiona passed her second section test (three are needed before she starts screening for second degree):

Fiona's Advanced belt exam January 30, 2010 (section star)

Come and see the awesomeness! Pictures and videos below the cuts.

Marching basics )

Multiple round kicks )

Kick combination )

Spin hook kicks )

Multiple Tornado kicks (10 in a row):

Jump Scissor kick )

Then they started doing form )

Self Defense demonstration )

Next was pad strikes )

She passed everything and got her section star )

Then she came home and she conked out, falling asleep right in her Daddy's arms:

Section tests are hard.
pegkerr: (Default)
My hands are extremely painful, with cracked dry skin.

I hurt all over today. I went back to karate class yesterday (I'd intended to be going to two classes a week by now, but I've missed two weeks of classes due to all sorts of conflicts, plus depression). I'm using this knee brace, which works pretty well, and gives me good support, and keeps it warm, but of course, it prevents me from chambering my kicks very tightly.

It's so hard not to get discouraged. This knee problem, I've decided, seems to be a permanant injury. It still hurts, hurts, hurts when I do a full squat, even fourteen months later. I still can't do slow kicks on the injured side without holding the bar--my balance on that side is entirely shot. I have no more balance on that side than a green belt. I'm in the class below my belt level, and it still just seems so hard. And I'm not even going back to sparring class yet. After sparring class on Monday night (I was waiting because Fiona was attending), I joined the class to do the killer abs workout (the dreaded Ab Ripper DVD) and that's making me even more sore today. Alarmed by my physical deterioration, I've re-started the leg exercises I'd been doing when I was going to rehab, and so my hips and butt are sore, too. Gah. I WANT the black belt, but I just have a hard time believing I'll be able to accomplish it. Fiona is trying to buck me up, and I try to cheer myself by reminding myself that even if my side kicks seem lousy to me, there are very few women I know my age who can do a side kick at all.

Fiona is testing for a section star this Saturday (her second of three she needs to begin the screening process for black belt second degree.) She's doing the bo form, Soishi No Kang. She looks absolutely great doing it, except for one fault that just drives me crazy: her back heel pops up off the ground in almost every single one of her front stances. It's a bad habit she's had since she was a purple belt. I'll try to get a video of her doing it when she does the test this Saturday.

The girls are very difficult to rouse in the morning. Delia, poor thing, has to be out at the bus stop at 6:50 a.m., and she is downright snarly when I go in to wake her up (the alarm clock doesn't work for her. I have to rub her arms and legs for five to ten minutes every morning before she reluctantly surfaces). And Fiona has been incredibly groggy lately, too. We usually can't get her out of bed for as long as forty minutes after her alarm goes off, and then she attempts to dress, eat, and get out the door in ten minutes. The results are not happy.

The garage door is cracked, making it extremely difficult to close.

Cooking has been...interesting lately, mainly because I've been depending more on whatever we get from the food shelf. (Thank heavens for the food shelf. It's been just a God send for us.) It's different than shopping for yourself; instead of going to the store for what you intend to buy, you take whatever they happen to have on hand and then try to figure out how to use it. Often, stuff at the food shelf is distributed right before the expiration date, so sometimes its a challenge to use it in time. Rob's been volunteering there on Tuesdays, so we're entitled to two visits a month. At church this week (our church is one of the ones supporting this week) they said that food shelf visits are way up. They distributed 5,000 pounds of food last week.

We've been working on cleaning the house, in preparation for starting to cull stuff so that we can rearrange two and possibly three rooms. As I mentioned, I am giving up my office to give Fiona a bedroom. I'm viewing this as a temporary solution, until she goes away to college, but it's very difficult emotionally. We are trying to work out a way to carve out at least a small space for me, either in my bedroom, or in a room downstairs. The process of all this rearrangement will take us quite a while.

Rob has started another short term job with the Census. He's pleased because they went to more than the usual amount of trouble to call him back and promote him to a higher position. He's also gotten a call back for a legal editorial position. This means he's cleared the first hurdle, but he has to pass a test and, of course, battle with a bunch of other candidates for a limited number of slots, so it's useless to get hopes up yet. Still, it's more movement on the job front than we've had for months.

I'm really really really angry at Congress over the loss of a chance to pass health care reform, and I'm pretty ticked at Obama, too.

There is stuff that Elinor Dashwood isn't talking about (isn't there always). It's been preoccupying me a lot lately, which is why this journal has been quiet lately. I'm still here, though, still battling to keep my family together, moving forward through this tough time.
pegkerr: (I pass the test)
I passed. Go me.

I hurt.

I am retiring to the bathtub.
pegkerr: (Default)
I really don't know the Discovery form. Well, I know the first half, but not the second. So I didn't pass pretest. And I pushed it a little in class last night, which means my leg is hurting a bit today. I don't think it's really yet up to the rigors of a full advanced belt test. So I'm off the hook for this month, but I'll hope to test next month. I'll work hard on the form until then.

What I did today to make the world a better place )
pegkerr: (Karate Peg 2008)
I've started easing back into karate, slowly and cautiously. Not going to the sparring classes, just the regular ones. At sparring class on Monday night (I'd driven Fiona there), though, I did join in while they were doing abs work at the end (and yeah, I'm REALLY feeling it today. Sore.) Class last night included pretesting on kicks. My balance really is noticeably worse on the injured leg, but apparently I did well enough that I passed the kicking portion of pretest, which was a surprise; I didn't think they'd be evaluating me this month. So I have to pass the self-defense and form elements of pre-test on Thursday's class. (Um, somebody teach me the Discovery form, please???)

Anyway, what this all means is that I might test on Saturday morning for my black stripe. I really wonder whether the leg will be up for it, but if they say I can test, I'll do my best.

My foot on the injured leg was noticeably swollen last night--I noticed it when I was doing the stretches during class; the difference between the two feet was quite significant. I wonder whether that was from wearing the constrictive knee brace, so I've taken it off for now. I had a physical therapy appointment today again, getting another ultrasound treatment. I'm going to add some hip stabilization exercises to the mix, too. Anyway, it feels good to get back to things, even though I hurt all over today. Besides the abs, I'm also hurting in my hips (from balancing on the injured foot during the kicks) and my arms from pushups. Hurray for Ibuprophen.

She did it!

Sep. 6th, 2008 05:20 pm
pegkerr: (Karate Delia 2008)

Delia is First Degree Black Belt

Pictures and video to follow later this weekend.

Hurray for Delia!
pegkerr: (Karate Delia 2008)
I realize I've been actually been putting off making this entry, I think almost out of superstitious fear. We know that she got exposed to strep throat last week, but she seems to have dodged the bullet. Here goes:

Delia is testing for black belt on Saturday, September 6 at 9:00 a.m.

You are all invited. Drop me a comment if you are interested in attending.



Aug. 23rd, 2008 09:46 pm
pegkerr: (I pass the test)
I've got my brown belt, and Fiona has her section star!

It was a tough test, but it went extremely well. I was the baby belt at brown stripe. There were a few brown belts and black stripes, and three black belts, first degree (Fiona was one) testing for section stars. I was quite nervous, because when everyone is senior to me, that means the test can be more difficult than usual, but I felt quite "on" today, and everyone did extremely well.

Rob took pictures. He's sorta all thumbs when it comes to the camera, and he didn't get up close at all, so I don't think there are many pictures that are good, but I'll see if there is anything worthwhile posting when I go through them tomorrow.
pegkerr: (Karate Peg 2008)
I didn't think they were going to look at me this month. But rather to my astonishment, I was assessed during class tonight for pre-test and I passed.

I am testing for the big one, BROWN BELT on Saturday! (And Fiona will be testing for the first of her three section stars this Saturday during the same test). Once (if) I pass, everyone at the dojo will then start to address me with the honorific "Ms." (as my daughters have been addressed for the past year).

It's a good thing I have an appointment to see my doctor about my breathing problems/coughing tomorrow.

Brown belt. Wow. Zowee.

I'm very excited. And nervous
pegkerr: (Karate Delia 2008)
It wasn't a slam dunk. Delia didn't have the best night at class last night. Sensei said that she can test for black belt IF she works on and shows improvement on several things on their checklist. Hopefully, we'll have the final decision by next Tuesday whether she'll be testing September 6. Will keep you all posted.


pegkerr: (Default)

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