Eli is tiptoeing towards his Orange belt in Taekwondo. Recently he has had some “focus” issues. As soon as he saw some of his classmates advancing ahead of him he has started shaping up. One one hand I ask myself “what can you expect from a four year old”. Then I answer it and I honestly think for two one hour sessions a week a four year old should be able to focus on a task. (He does it with TV and would with video games if we let him…..)
That being said, I am still very proud at how well he is learning the moves and exercises that are required for an orange belt.
I have pages and pages of lesson notes since my 6th KYU Aikido test. I can proudly state that my forward and backward rolls have improved markedly. I am at the point where Sensei is all “now that you have that down, do this”.
In one of our recent sessions Sensei challenged the class to perform forward rolls over a Jo (big stick). At first he held the Jo horizontally at about 3 feet off the ground and we had to perform a forward roll without touching the Jo. Then he started swinging the Jo back and forth perpendicular to the floor and we had to time our roll over it. He added a Mobius shape to the back and forth so that the Jo was now moving in all three dimensions. Finally he had the Jo moving up and down (a chop) and you had to time the roll over then under it.
I have to say these kinds of exercises are my favorite. When you are trying to get a forward roll with no external stimulus it is easy to get to inside your own head. It is exactly like how Douglas Adams explained learning to fly. You think “gosh this is going to hurt”, so it does. By having to avoid a large stick it mitigates some of the concern about the roll and puts it instead on the stick. So to avoid the stick you give yourself that extra momentum, which is what is needed to help you have a smoother roll.
BTW, I am pretty happy with how the rest of my Aikido is going. I have made it five to six months now. I figure I will give it six more and see how far I have gotten.
If you have a moment, take a gander at my 5th KYU Lesson Journal.