Thursday, November 12, 2009

The next level

Good morning! Well, after yet another deadline, I find myself with some time to catch up. First and foremost, everyone is well. My thumb has finally stopped throbbing and I think I am on my way to recovery. I can finally type without wincing in pain. Now, in fact, it is more like a tickle and I can't help but type a sentence without a little smile. Lynley too is on her road to recovery. She however, is not nearly as far along. In day 3 she is in a battle with swelling. Oddly the swelling is not really in her forehead. It has seemed to accumulate at the crown of her nose for some reason. She, of course, sees this as a massive disfiguration. I , on the other hand, still see her as the hot Harry Potter. What can I say? Other than that though, us two old twerps seem to be making a relatively swift recovery.

Now, onto the kiddos.

With all of the excitement over the last few days I really have not had an opportunity to cover the kids Tae Kwon Do tournament. It was meaningful for a few reasons. First, as I mentioned on Monday, they did well. However, this was also a proving ground for them. Did they have the right stuff? Were the ready to truly begin competing? Were they ready to take this to the next level?

Oh yes, this was much deeper than just a bunch of kids kicking the crap out of each other.

On Monday night, after Tae Kwon Do, we were called into Master Adrian's office. The discussion was about Graham and Sydney joining the team. This is a big step for a couple of reasons. This is a whole new level of Tae Kwon Do and it takes a commitment. No longer are we biding our time from one belt to another. The team is about the team and it is serious business. The team works a bit differently. First, we no longer go to our traditional Tae Kwon Do classes. We are now responsible for going to the team practices. There are 3 practices per week and one of them is essentially a double class. On top of that it is still preferred that we go to the sparring practice on Friday to further hone their skills. Fortunately, this is not too different that what we were doing anyway.

The classes, however, are very different.

They are full gear, pedal to the metal practices which focus on Tae Kwon Do in actual use. Team practice goes beyond simply teaching technique. Focus is not only on how to do something but how to do it effectively. The goal is true mastery. It is about the team and less focus is placed on personal belt development. It is no longer about learning the next set of skills as much as mastering the use of the ones you already know. It is for this reason that belt progress will also move much slower. Before, we could expect a new belt about every three months but it will now take considerably longer.

It is a sacrifice for the kiddos. It means more practice and it also means that their friends will likely progress in belt levels before them. It takes dedication and, for this reason, it is their decision. They are required to sign a commitment to the team.

Ultimately, we left the decision up to them.

Of course, with the sacrifice also comes rewards, as members of the team they will travel with the team. This means that they will also be vying for positions at the Junior Olympics and Nationals. Ultimately, they will be groomed with the intent for them to compete at very high levels. In this sense, it is quite an honor. However, once again, it sounds pretty nice but it ultimately comes down to them.

They agreed. They are on the team.

What do I think? Well, of course, I would be lying if I did not say I was proud. And frankly, the idea of have a teen age daughter who is also a competing black belt in Tae Kwon Do is somewhat appealing on the boy front. However, ultimately, for me. I think it is a character builder. I think the kids will learn a lot about themselves - about sacrifice and reward. They will learn that if they try hard enough they can accomplish great things. It will be a great personal journey for both of them. For me this is an incredible opportunity to teach them about life.

The trick will be in keeping it as fun for them as possible.

It is one small step for twerpkind but one huge leap for purpose.

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