Salty Cappuccino

December 24, 2016 by Rieshy

Christmas Eve Gift everyone.

If you are highly competitive with pointless verbal games and you are from West Texas you will understand that I just won the Christmas Eve competition by saying it first, yet you will argue that electronic delivery doesn't count. But deep down, you know you just lost.

If this makes no sense- don't worry after 29 years of marriage my husband, who isn't from far enough west, thinks shouting "Christmas Eve Gift" and then arguing about who "won" is beyond bizarre.

Having just lost the Christmas Eve verbal gifting game with both my 8 yo,  and 15 yo sons I sat on the sofa sipping cappuccino.  My 15 yo was wearing a bright yellow Pikachu onesie and wrestling around with his two younger brothers while my 22 yo daughter and I tried to wake up.  Wrestling punctuated with motherly advice.  Mom wisdom like: "don't kick the bookshelf,  no slapping- just punching, hey- no punching to the back of 15 yo's head, get your knees around, take the milk back to the kitchen.  Hey, 10 yo said he needs to use the bathroom you better get off."

The 10 yo breathed deeply on 15 yo with morning/dragon breath to finally achieve freedom.  Whereupon 15 yo jumped up to do a few pull-ups, dropped down and snagged his hoodie on the pull-up bar.  Trapping himself quite neatly.

"Help Me!" he cried.

What did his loving mom say?
Nothing, I was laughing too hard.

What did his loving younger brother see?
A large yellow defenseless punching bag.

What did his 22 yo sister do?
Take photos.

Tears of joy in my cappuccino, it's a great Christmas Eve Gift.
I hope you and yours have a wonderful day.

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December 11, 2016 by Rieshy

My face hurt Saturday afternoon after the first belt testing at the new school.

Testing days at the dojo.  Everyone is intense.  Parents are zeroed in, the children are both nervous and ultra focused, staff is hyper.  It makes for an energized event.  With new belts as icing.

New belts that stick out funny when they're tied.  Belts that flash an unfamiliar color in the corner of your vision.

One of the most memorable testings that I ever experienced, not as part of staff but as a student, was a testing I went through while wearing a knee high ortho boot to protect a shiny swollen grade 2 calf-muscle tear.  I had to do katas in a chair in unison with my class.  I had to kick against "attackers" coming from multiple directions from a chair.  I did Thai combos while balancing one legged and faked the Thai kicks with thrown elbows.  At first I felt awkward and stupid and not a little embarrassed at the extra attention putting a chair on the mats required.  I sweated buckets and it was painful and clumsy and then the energy of the class and the discipline of the moves made me forget being embarrassed and stupid.

It's not the belts that make testing exciting- the belts are the icing.  It's not the "showing off" to an audience that makes it exciting.  At least not for me.   It's the energy bouncing around the room, the way all the students try to move as one,  It's the community of growth and the oneness of focus that I love.  I hate performing.  But I do want to shine- and when everyone around you wants to shine and snap and kiai crisply too... it's a lifting, soaring feeling.

I didn't have to test that time while wearing a boot; I don't even remember the rank I was testing for.  I got to test because I have awesome Sensei and they didn't want me to have to miss out.

Maybe I'm strange and testing is just a nerve-wracking hoop to jump through for everyone else... but I don't think so. I saw a lot of people on Saturday whose faces probably ended up aching too.

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