Friday, August 28, 2009

Got Teaching Tips?

A few posts ago, I told you how our intermediate kids' instructor asked me to help with the intermediate class to keep the new yellow belts moving along instead of being held back a bit by the kids coming over from the beginning class. I also told you how I was very flattered and honored that he asked me.
Now, my dilemma...
I am not shy. I am a talker. I am outgoing. I usually tell it like it is. BUT...
I am not a teacher. I can usually set my mind to learn something and learn it right. Again, BUT...
I find it hard to explain to someone else. Cases in point - I can play the flute, but years ago when my daughter wanted to learn with my own flute, I could not figure out how to teach her. Math - I hate math, but I can design a quilt w/no pattern and tell you how many square of roofing shingles you need for your roof if you give me the dimension and design a deck for you (from my hardware store employment years), but if I am helping my 11 yo son with a math homework word problem, I cannot for the life of me convey to him how I figured it out.
Last night, I did my first real stint as a teacher for the kids' class. I was surprised that the instructor asked me to work with the new yellow belts and those about to be yellow belts on their first two katas. I thought he would have me helping with the new beginning class graduates with basics. Again, I was flattered. (Maybe not rightly so - he may have figured they know probably as much as I do so I couldn't screw them up too much!) But I had 4 kids - 2 yellow belts, one of which was my 11 yo newly yellow-belted son, "Buddy". The other, a little girl who make my son and I seem positively mute. The other two white belts who are thisclose to testing for yellow belts. I started out with our school's "Basic Number 1" kata - a very simple but fundamental routine. They did okay. I had them do it while I counted out the steps. I had them do it without me counting, telling them to look to the highest ranking yellow belt to set the pace (disasterous!) and even with their eyes closed, which they did better at than trying to pace themselves with the girl who was highest ranking YB.
This little girl whom I have now named in my head as "Chatterbox" was very disruptive. She did not want to stay on task, instead, wanting to comment on every single thing we did or I said. She talked non-stop almost the entire hour. She stopped the class quite a few times. When practicing kumites after they worked on katas, she gossiped with the girl with which she was paired. I think the other little girl was even getting a little aggravated. What this all boils down to was that I felt like these kids - especially "Chatterbox" - did not take me seriously as an instructor. And much of that could be that they sensed I was nervous and it was my first time being totally in charge of teaching. Now, here is where you come in...
I would like some tips for instructing kids. I know many of my many (yeah, right) readers are or at least have instructed children - whether it be in martial arts or as teachers in the field of education. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.
  • How do you stay focused when trying to count out katas?
  • How do you gain the kids' respect so that they really listen to you?
  • How do you get them to like you as well to make them want to do well for you?
  • And last, just any tips in general that I might use in helping them?

As I said, any tips at all will help me - the teaching challenged!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Four Lies and One Martial Arts Fact...

Okay, I hijacked this idea from Chris over at Martial Development (see link: I was not one of the original "chosen Tagged Ones" but after I commented, I was tagged in the comments section. Here's the premise.
The meme works as follows. You post five things about yourself. Four are untrue. One is true. All are so outlandish, implausible or ridiculous that no one would be inclined to believe that any of them are true. And despite the pleas from your readers, you never divulge which is true and which are fabrications. You then tag five other people (four seriously and one person you are pretty sure would never participate).
  1. In class one night, I was once kicked in certain areas that us girls only have in pairs. So I kicked back in a certain areas that only you guys have in pairs. (And no, I don't mean ears...we ALL have them!)
  2. Once in a self-defense exercise, I flipped what I thought was our tall, large, sturdy Sensei over my shoulder. Turned out it was one of our 105 pound female brown belts.
  3. I was a body double for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 3, which never made it to the big screen. (I wonder why?) Quentin Tarantino told me I was better than Uma.
  4. I was also a body double for Steven Seagal when he appeared naked on the big screen. I was told I must wear a girdle to be more convincing.
  5. Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley personally delivered my "Total Gym" to my home when I won it in a Martial Arts Tournament being held at the Shaolin Temple.

Okay, now which of the 5 do you think is the truth?

I'll never tell!

I tag: BBM, Becky at Fine Martial Fiber, Ikigai, The Perpetual Beginner, and Minivan Ninja

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

M.A.M.'s 10 Biggest Pet Peeves...

Oh, c'mon, you know you do too care...
Whenever I voice yet another of my pet peeves, I always start with, "Pet Peeve number 457..." or whatever random number I pick that day, and then launch into telling my unwilling victim something else I just realized ticks me off or drives me crazy ...So, I thought I'd make a list of those that came to mind right away (you know with 457 pet peeves, only the ones that come to mind immediately are listed here) And I imagine some people are not going to like some of my brutally honest opinions here, but really, they're all in fun. And they're in no particular order...
  1. Babies who are dressed in just a diaper or a diaper and a t-shirt. I know it's not the baby's fault. It's the redneck parent who inflicts this baby equivalent of Glamour's Do's and Don'ts on their little guy/girl. And yes, I know it can get really hot in the summer, but a little sunsuit or onsie would work too. Why not just put them in a mini-wifebeater and a pair of baby Levi's?
  2. Drivers who drive slow in the left lane. Hello! They call it a passing lane for a reason! (They also call it the FAST lane!)
  3. Drivers who drive slow in the right lane. Okay, okay - just any slow driver is a pet peeve of mine no matter which lane they drive in! (The way I drive - I should have been born into the Earnhardt family.)
  4. People who think they/their kids should be treated better than anyone else or have special priviledges. (Remind me to tell you about MFH (Mother-From-Hell) and her daughter "mini-me" from when my daughter went to private school. That's an entire post all it's own!
  5. When you go to the store on a weekend and they have 1 or 2 registers open and deep lines for you to stand there on your time and give them your hard earned money. Retail is one of the oldest professions - have these people not figured out that more people shop on the weekends than other days of the week? (Not blaming the employees - the retailers themselves.)
  6. Wal-mart bashers. I'm sorry - I have worked retail and many of my friends still do. K-mart and the other discounters do not treat their employees any better than Wal-mart. They all underpay, overwork and try to get out of giving them benefits. Simple as that.
  7. Really ugly and/or really old people driving hot sports cars. Gimme a break. Do they really think people will find them more attractive because they drive a hot car? What happens when they have to get out of their car and meet people without the benefit of that Mustang or Viper? Bet they don't get the same attention.
  8. People who complain about EVERYTHING. (This is why I sometimes hate myself.)
  9. People who can work, but don't work, and expect me to pay for their food, their healthcare and their shelter (along with their gold chains, expensive name brand clothes and steak dinners - while the only real jewelry I own is my wedding ring, my family eats mac-n-cheese, and wear thrift store clothing.)
  10. And the best for last - this is a repeat really - I wrote about this in my 10 things you probably didn't know about me post. I can't stand it when people blow their nose in a restaurant - fast food or nice sit-down - doesn't matter. I don't have a weak stomach - I just think it is rude. That kind of thing really does make some people sick just to think about, let alone hear it while they're trying to eat their pea soup or guacamole.

Okay, there's my list. I imagine I'll be hearing some pretty interesting responses if anyone actually reads my post, that is. Hey, there's pet peeve # 458 - you go through all the trouble to write fun posts for your blog and NOBODY reads them! Do you have any pet peeves? If so, what are they? Your turn...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

You Can Go Home Again...

Well, tonight is the last night of karate class for this session. I have not participated in one class this 10 week session, save for the night I helped assist the "Karate Kids" class due to a shortage of instructors that night. As I explained a few posts ago, I've had a lot on my plate for the past 7 months. Emotional, mental and physical stress and plenty of all of them! I signed up for this past session, and made sure my son came to all of the classes, but just couldn't get my own motivation up enough to "just do it" despite the fact that my martial arts school is another family to me and I love them dearly and respect them very much. When I bow into the dojo, I feel like I have come home.
But is it true what they say - "You can go home again"?

Once a session ends, our school takes one week off and then resumes the following Thursday night. Next week is our night off, with the new session beginning on August 27th. I am anxious...both in a good way and in a nervous way. In one sense, I am excited to get back to martial arts and learning again, but in another, I've been away so long, I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to keep up physically.

So, my idea is that during the two weeks before I go back, I will practice. And then practice some more. I am not as worried about the basics - the kicks, punches, stances, stuff like that. It's the kata on which I need to focus. As a yellow belt who wants to earn her orange before the end of the year, I know 6 katas. I know 3 of them well, 3 of them I did know fairly well, but think I need to really apply myself with them in the next two weeks.

But you know what I'm most apprehensive about? It's the workout we do before class. It can get pretty intense sometimes - even when I was in the greatest physical/mental/emotional shape in which I had been in years (before my self-imposed break). How am I going to get through those first few workouts before I start getting back to where I was? I guess that is something else I will really have to concentrate on during the weeks leading up to August 27th. I mean, last year the class right before 4th of July, we did 3 sets of deep-knee bends or knee-deep bends if you prefer. The first two sets of 10 were just your textbook deep-knee bends. The last set of 10, we popped up in the air from the bent position. It was tough actually doing them that night, but it was even tougher walking for the next 3 days! Seriously, I can't remember ever being that sore in my entire life - even counting after giving birth!! And sometimes the "Ab-Master" (aka: our female Sensei) mixes it up as a "guest workout leader" and tortures us with yoga aimed specifically at strengthening the abs. I think about these tougher exercises and really worry I will be out of breath by the count of 2 repetitions!
I took my son to class and I got something I needed...reaffirmation. The instructor who teaches our intermediate and above kids asked me tonight if when we come back in 2 weeks if I'd be willing to help with the kids' class so the yellow belts can continue to move ahead. I am very flattered and it was just what my ego needed today. I am even more determined to work hard during these two weeks so I can even better help the kids.j
So, all in all, I guess I'm worrying for nothing. If I work hard at getting used to working out again (I never stopped entirely but have taken it down a notch.) I will be fine. I will get back into the swing of things. I will once again be learning myself from teaching.
I choose to believe that "Yes, you CAN go home again."

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tie a Yellow Ribbon...I Mean Belt...

Well, my 11 yo son, Buddy, received his yellow belt last night at the end of class.

I think our instructors were even more excited to present it to him than he was to receive it! Such good people.

And, obviously, I am so excited for him! Photo is left to right: Bauer Sensei, my son "Buddy", and Parson Sensei.

Monday, August 3, 2009

10 Things Most People Would Be Surprised To Know About M.A.M. (And probably didn't care to know either!)

Just thought it might be fun to post one of those "10 Things Most People Would Be Surprised To Know About Me" posts and then challenge all my hundreds (hee-hee) readers to do the same. Here's my list and TAG - You're it - whether you do it on your own blog or in my comments...

10 Things Most People Would Be Surprised to Know About M.A.M.:

  1. I hate math. Detest it. I am a "word person"...NOT a "number person"!

  2. If I was shipwrecked on a desert aisle with only one food, and I could choose that food, what would it be? Easy answer - POTATOES Baby! No question! Mashed, fried, scalloped, julienned, baked...okay, you get the point. (This answer is based loosely on the assumption that if I had a choice in the first place, the rules would be liberal enough to take into account condiments to prepare the one food in any way possible!)

  3. Okay, everyone knows that in my opinion, there's only one way to rock...SAMMY HAGAR! What many don't know is that I have a tattoo to prove it. I designed it myself and got it about 3 years ago. I will post a photo soon, but it is about 5" diameter and is on my back right shoulder.

  4. I am not good with sewing/quilt patterns. But I can get an idea for a quilt in my head, actually being able to see it visually inside my head, and then draw it out and figure out the math (yes, really, even tho I'm not a number person) and make it myself from start to finish.

  5. It ticks me off when people blow their nose in a restaurant. Ask any of my friends. Whether I'm in a high-class restaurant or a Jack-in-the-Box, if someone whips out a napkin & blows their nose in the dining room area of a restaurant, you can bet I'll be staring daggers at them. There is just no reason for this. I don't have a weak stomach or anything - I just think it is plain rude. Go to the bathroom, Dude!

  6. I wear a size 10 ladies shoe. Now if I were a guy, I'd be bragging about this and everyone would know! But I have flat feet (born w/no arch) and I have Fred Flintstone feet. Not exactly the kind of thing a lady wants to be well-known.

  7. My husband and I have been together since we were 14 & 15 years old. (Except for that pesky 7 month divorce thing we almost went thru with). We are now 43 & 44. You do the math...remember, I hate math (refer to #1)! See photo of us above when we were VERY young!

  8. Unlike many women, I am NOT a chocoholic. I much prefer other dessert flavors - like apple, cinnamon, hazelnut, pecan, etc.

  9. I drink only 4 beverages on a very regular basis. They are: Coffee, Unsweetened Tea, Water and Smirnoff Ice. (I do like me some rum and coke and Southern Comfort and Sprite on occasion, but those 4 are my staples.)

  10. I don't particularly care much for meat. It's not that I don't like the flavor - it's the consistency I don't like. Too much like eating dead animals. Oh, wait a minute, when eating steak, one IS eating dead animals. I don't have any ethical qualms about eating meat, I just don't like feeling like I'm chewing on actual flesh, which is what eating a steak of any kind feels like to me...yuck. Now give me some good ground round and I'm a happy camper. I know it sounds weird, but ground meat doesn't look like/have the consistency of flesh. Again - not a vegetarian or vegan or an activist - just don't like the feel of it in my mouth. (Get your mind out of the gutter!)

After writing this, which was fun by the way, I realized I could probably add about 10 more things that would surprise people about me. Then again, there's probably HUNDREDS of things I could tell you about me that wouldn't surprise anyone in the how shy I am and often run out of things to say...yeah, right...that's a "whole nuther post"...