Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Big East XV Tae Kwon Do Tournament, Rahway, NJ Results

Results will be posted soon, but I'm happy to report that several fellow WCT students, including Miguel Roman, Trevor Shulz, and Parker Shulz, came home with Gold from the tournament. Miguel brought home the gold in heavyweight sparring for his bracket.

Congratulations to all. More detail to come.

Thoughts on Teaching and Tae Kwon Do

This is an interesting article - written by an English prof who also is a tae kwon do student.

Here's the excerpt which I think makes sense to read:

"First, encourage and praise. Praise what’s going right. Praise what someone especially needs to work on. I’ve noticed that when Master Gibson tells Jimmy he’s doing well with his patterns, he tries especially hard with the next one. When he tells Chess his sparring is more focused, he slows down and works even harder on aiming his punches. When I started tae kwon do, I wasn’t at all flexible or coordinated; my kicks went every which way but up, and I felt frustrated at my gracelessness. I knew what I was doing wrong. But when Master Gibson mentioned that my kicks were getting higher, I was able to stretch even farther the next time. Praise works. I learned this in my graduate school pedagogy seminar, but it helps to remember when I’m grading a paper and focused on the elements that don’t work. There’s always something that does work, even if it’s a small thing, and noting it may help the student far more than noting all the ways in which the paper falls short.

Second, both expect and deserve respect. I don’t expect my students to bow to me at the beginning of class, and I feel old when people call me “ma’am,” but I appreciate that we bow to each other before we spar or practice together. Master Gibson expects our respectful attention, and he gets it both by reminding students about it — some of them are 5 years old, after all, and they do need reminding — and by enacting it. He bows to us, we bow back. He listens to us attentively, and we to him. I find it increasingly difficult to learn my students’ names these days, but I’m working harder at it lately as one such marker of respect. Even the smallest markers of respect — a well-placed “please” or “thank you” rather than a bow and “yes sir” as in tae kwon do class — can help foster the atmosphere I’m looking for.

Third, break it down. I can never do a pattern the first time I see it, but I can manage the first few steps. If I repeat them, I can move on to the next few. Similarly, few of my students can analyze a poem the first time they see it, but if we go line by line — sometimes even word by word—they begin to see how it works. Masters at any skill often forget how they got to mastery; teachers need to remember, demonstrate, and help their students practice.

Fourth, tolerate — or even encourage — a little creative chaos. My tae kwon do class includes kids as young as 5, adults as old as — well, as old as me. Old enough. Sometimes the kids just need to let off steam. Sometimes the parents do, too. Occasionally at the end of class we’ll play a rousing game of “dodge the stinky socks,” using balled-up socks as a ball in a small-scale dodge-ball game. It does develop quick reflexes and attention, but it’s also a lot of fun, and very silly. I don’t think the desks in my classroom will allow for a game of dodgeball, but perhaps a little creative play with language? Maybe the dada poem game: best played in Tom Stoppard’s Travesties, in which “Tristran Tzara” cuts up Shakespeare’s sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?") and makes new poetry out of it. Would that help us understand the poem better? Perhaps — and I know it would help us remember the class, and think about its purpose.

Finally, rituals actually do matter. We begin every class with a bow, stretches, and a brief moment of meditation. We end with a bow and a thank you to both the teacher and the highest-ranking student, after which we line up and shake hands with everyone in the class. When I was new to the class I found this all a little awkward — I’m bowing to my son! And shaking his hand! And, I have to confess, I still find the sight of small boys sitting cross-legged in rows and “meditating” amusing. What really goes through their minds? And yet, over time, I’ve come to appreciate the gestures. By acknowledging each other, even in a perfunctory way, we remember that the class is not all about us. We do it together, even if each of us is developing an individual practice. Again, I’m not sure I’m ready to institute such formality into my own classroom, but I think there’s room, even in the most informal, student-centered of classrooms, for a moment of reflection, a pause in the busyness of our days to focus, even if briefly, on the transformations we are working on. Rituals need not be elaborate or even very formal to work, but always beginning and ending a class in much the same way gives shape and structure to the hour in between."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Reminder: Big East Tournament in Rahway, NJ this weekend!




INFORMATION CALL MASTER JI HO CHOI http://www.jihochoi-taekwondo.com/


(courtesty of http://taekwondochampionshiplistings.com/ )

Friday, April 18, 2008

Sometimes, You Get the "Shanks" Really Bad...

Yes, sometimes you get in a rut. And sometimes, it's so bad that you can't even understand your native tongue anymore. Here's a test for you...

If something in this video seems off, don't worry, you just have the shanks. Relax a bit, get your mind off things, put your keys in your other pants pocket.

Everybody gets into a slump - especially when you're pursuing a goal, like learning a martial art for example. So if it feels as if you just can't do anything right, take a break, come back later, and just keep plugging away.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Olympic Competitor Profiles on Tae Kwon Do Times

Just in case you're wondering who will be representing the US at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Beijing 2008 and the US Tae Kwon Do team

The US Olympic team's site ran a story about the Lopez siblings, the first set of siblings ever to qualify for the Olympic team. Pretty cool.

To learn more about your Olympic team, click here.

Tae Kwon Do competition begins August 20th (from what I can see), and will be held at the University of Science and Technology gymnasium.


Thursday, April 10, 2008

2008 Rhode Island State Tae Kwon Do Tournament

Coming up on May 17, 2008, the Ocean State, will hold its state Tae Kwon Do tournament.

The school sponsoring the event believes that "brevity is the soul of wit." Check out the link to see what I mean.

Big East 2008 Tournament (XV), Rahway, NJ (4/27/2008)

The Big East 2008 Tournament (XV) is coming up April 27, 2008. It will be located in Rahway, NJ, and from all accounts will feature a high level of competition.

The site where you can find the tournament application seems to be awaiting update.

Winners from the Yong-In 2008 Open

The World Champion team brought home a few gold - story here.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Is Tae Kwon Do Dangerous?

Found a site with lots of information on TKD this morning.

One of the topics in its Introduction section is "Is Tae Kwon Do Dangerous?" They mean - is it dangerous to train and compete in the sport Tae Kwon Do. They have some interesting information about rules around sparring, etc.

There's also a good amount of historical info. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

2008 Connecticut Open Competition Coming Soon!

In the coming weeks, we'll have details on the upcoming 2008 Connecticut Open Tae Kwon Do Competition, which is targeted for May.

Check back for more details!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Rule #1 - Don't Get Hurt

There are a few golden rules in Tae Kwon Do, but one of the most important is also very simple.

Don't get hurt.

If you injure yourself, you can't train. If you do, you will likely injure yourself even more. In any Tae Kwon Do student's career (multiply this times 10 if you are a competitor), you are going to end up with some injuries. A twisted ankle, a tweaked muscle, bruises, cuts, or worse.

Sometimes it's pretty simple - you cut yourself, you bandage the area, and avoid using it until it heals. You break your leg, you're out.

The tough area is the middle ground, which I find is mostly the province of twisted joints and pulled or tweaked muscles. The tendency with these is to accidentally train too hard, and make a small problem a big problem.

Especially if you are also doing calisthenics or weight training, it's easy to aggravate a twist or a pulled muscle. So be diligent about not working out with that joint (when I recently tweaked my shoulder, I stopped doing push ups, practicing weapons, and, even in class, did not do blocks or punches with that arm), and let it rest.

Lightly stretch, use liniment, but overall just stay away from it. When you begin to use it, test it with light activity.