Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Road to Orange Belt...

There is a large learning curve in my new job. I have used Microsoft Visio before at my previous job, but it was the older version of Visio, plus it was quite a few years ago and even then, I only used it a few times. And I don’t recall ever having created a timeline with Visio in past experience.

Same goes for printing on a plotter. If you are not of the computer world, a plotter is a huge printer used for posters, blueprints, things of that nature. Again, I set printing up for a plotter once or twice about 2 years ago, and wasn’t very successful with it at that. LOL!

So, take a lucky guess what my first assignment from new boss involves? Yup – creating a new, very cramped timeline in Visio 2007…and wait, it gets better…to be printed out on the plotter!!!!

I really struggled. Not only are these programs I haven’t used very often, but both the software and the hardware are much newer versions of the ones I used in the past - Which really shouldn’t matter anyway, because it’s not like I remember what I did with the old versions either after all this time! J

So, today, once the frenzy was over and I succeeded in creating this huge document, and after I let out that matching huge sigh of relief, I thought I’d go into Visio and just play around with the timeline feature. (Of course, now that I’ve done so, I’ll never be asked to create or update a timeline again! That’s how it usually goes in my neck of the woods anyway.)

Since I did not have a real project on which to experiment, I thought I would start a timeline for things I need to learn and practice leading up to my orange belt test.

My first step was to create a goal for myself – a date by which I’d like to be ready to test for my orange belt. I thought – hmmm, February sounds reasonable to me. That would be almost a year since I passed my yellow-belt test. I used February 26, 2009 as my goal date to test. (It’s the last Thursday in February.)

Next, I knew what I’ve been working on the past few nights – reviewing my first three katas and reviewing Pal-Gwe 1 and 2. I’m not positive I have the two Pal-Gwe katas techniques exactly right, so for this week (today) I marked my timeline with “Confirm I’m doing Pal-Gwe 1&2 correctly”. There are a couple of hand placements that I’m just not quite sure of, although I think I am doing them correctly.

Next on my timeline, I added a period of time, not just one point on the timeline, the coming week – as in tomorrow through next Wednesday and labeled it as “Practice Pal-Gwe 1&2”.

Last, but not least, I labeled next Thursday with the goal of learning Pal-Gwe 3. Of course, you can guess my next “interval” as it’s called on a Visio timeline, will be “Practice Pal-Gwe 3” from next Friday through the following Wednesday.

The following week, I will ask my senseis on what I need to concentrate for earning my orange belt. I will soon add that to my timeline. Once they have clarified my objectives, I will add these to the timeline.

This practice timeline has become more than just practice. It has morphed into a valuable tool in my road to orange belt. With all the problems going on in my life the past few months, I have not been very focused on my martial arts journey, and I think that, in itself, has caused me even more stress and feeling like I had no control over things. So, this timeline gave me the opportunity to really examine where I am now and where I want to be in my martial arts journey.

I guess it’s true what they say, “Time Is On My Side”.


Perpetual Beginner said...

That's a great idea - and a good way to practice your time-line skills.

I could probably use one of those myself; unfortunately I'm time-line challenged. I once had an unfortunate history test with a time-line worth 25 points - I scored a 77, all 23 lost points from the timeline.

(Whispering here, because my sensei knows about my blog, though I'm pretty sure he doesn't read it.) Our other black belt let slip last night that Sensei has a date in mind for my black belt test, and that it's before my 40th birthday, which means sometime between Dec. 1 and April 2. Aaack!! I have so much to learn and perfect!

Martial Arts Mom said...

You know, it really humbles me how many higher ranking belts read my blog. It proves to me that in martial arts, nobody puts you down for being a beginner. Ooh, I think I just got the fodder for my next post! :)

And I'm sure you'll do great at your black belt test. If you are timeline challenged, just write it down in steps - same difference. I was just doing it to play around with Microsoft Visio and it ended up becoming a valid tool for M.A! Keep us posted!

Perpetual Beginner said...

I've run into a few people who are conceited about their rank, but they're definitely not the norm. Most of us remember all too well what it was like for us when we were beginners ourselves.