Saturday, October 15, 2016


Eli has been taking Kuk Sool Won for almost 2 years now.  It has started out easy and gradually gotten harder.  He has been to a tournament, which he was extremely nervous about.  He competed, didn't win any medals, but did his best even though he didn't think so.

He's been testing for his next belts periodically over the past 2 years.  His first test, he was crying and nervous before the test.  Once testing starts, he's fine emotionally and concentrates on what he needs to do.  The next test he was still upset before testing and cried a little.  Eventually, it got down to just a pouty face.  His temperament about testing has improved since he's gotten more used to it.  This past June, he hit a roadblock.

It wasn't with his temperament this time around though.  It was with his testing ability.  He knew the techniques, he knew the form.  He probably thought he knew it too well.  During testing he went too fast.  So fast that the Instructor grading his test couldn't tell what he was doing.  At the end of testing, they present the belts, when he realized he wasn't going to get his next belt, he was upset and started crying.  With some consoling from Mom, he got over it and was ready to test the next month.

Next month came and he was nervous.  He had an additional month of testing and knew his forms and techniques better.  At the beginning of the test, the class was told to do their forms fast.  Unfortunately, Eli applied it to the entire testing period.  This caused his stances to be high so the tester couldn't tell what stance he was in.  Once the belt presentation came around, his eyes started to water and he knew he didn't pass.  Again, he cried all the way home.  He was upset and exhausted and Mom consoled him.

He skipped a month of testing because we went to Hannibal.  This might've helped take the pressure off of him.  September rolled around and it was time for his next test.  This time, he wasn't nervous, he wasn't crying as he had been up to this point in every test.  I talked with him before testing about doing his best.  Doing everything with low stances and properly and not to go too fast.  He seemed to accept the idea of doing his best as being the goal.  Testing came and went without much issue.  Belt presentation came around and as it got closer to Eli, the tears started welling up in his eyes because he wanted it so bad and had worked for 4 months for this test.  He kept himself pretty well composed.  And then, they called his name for his red stripe belt!

Eli and PKJN Ben Mitchell after his red stripe test

He was so relieved and happy to pass his test.  On the way home, he formulated a plan to fake his Mom out.  He put on his old belt and had me hide his new one.  He came in the house and yelled "dang it".  But he couldn't hide his smile.  The jig was up and his Mom knew he had passed even though he was acting like he hadn't.  Finally, he gave up the game and was happy to tell his Mom all about it.  It'll be a few more months before his next test, but hopefully this experience will serve him well if he doesn't pass in the future.  He has experience with it now.  Hopefully, if it happens again, the disappointment will be easier to handle.

Monday, May 2, 2016

KSW Tournament 2016

Eli went and demonstrated his ability as a Kuk Sool Won Martial artist this past weekend at the tournament in St. Louis.  He demonstrated his ability in his form Ki Cho Hyung (parts 4-6), techniques (Ki Bohn Soo 1, 3 and 9) and sparring.  We went to St. Louis on Friday night and made good time.  He got up had a good breakfast and was there by 8 am so his dad could demonstrate.  Eli video taped my participation in the tournament for 2 hours and spent time with other students from the school.

After I was done we went around campus a little bit and hung out with other students.  He also got a commemorative t-shirt from the tournament.  Surprisingly he wasn't hungry since he had a big breakfast.  He asked Caitlyn (another blue belt) if she would be his partner for his techniques.  He was happy that she said yes and she seemed to encourage and help him during their participation in the tournament.  He returned the favor and was her partner for her techniques.  First he started with his form.

Ki Cho Hyung 4-6

Ki Bohn Soo 1, 3, 9

Eli Sparring

After he was done performing we had some time to kill before the master's demonstration.  We had hot dogs for lunch (around 3 pm) and he got enough courage to say hello to Grandmaster In Hyuk Suh.  Grandmaster signed his belt and took a picture with him.  He is going to keep this belt forever he says.  He was truly excited!

Lastly, Eli got to participate in the demo for Peoria Kuk Sool Won.  Pu Sa Ba Nim jumped over him and 2 other students to break a board.  He was happy he got to participate.  We finished the night by going back to the hotel, having Mcdonald's at 8 o'clock for dinner and crashing.  We went to bed about 10:30 and he slept until 7:30.  We got up and got ready to go so we could get to Waffle House on the way out of town.  Eli at a waffle as big as the plate with chocolate chips.  He was starving.  We made it back to town about noon and he went to play like it was any other Sunday.  

I'm glad he had fun, I'm glad he made it through without throwing a fit and I'm glad he was able to channel his frustration into trying harder instead of having a melt down.  Overall, it was a great weekend that I think he wants to repeat next year.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Blue Belt

Eli has been practicing Kuk Sool Won for over a year now.  He's made his way through the ranks and this past Thursday he tested for his blue belt.  He was extremely nervous of one thing...breaking.  He broke boards for his yellow belt, but each belt you have to break with a different technique.  For his blue belt, he had to break with a side kick and elbow strike.  Through his classes, he hadn't practiced a side kick very much.  During his class this week, he practiced on a bag.  After class, he spent extra time practicing his kick in the back room.  He just was not confident at all.

Testing was Thursday.  Eli was a bit nervous and practiced his kick again in the back room on a bag when we got to the school.  His testing went well for his techniques.  His forms were a bit muddled because of him not used to changing directions and he got the 2 mixed up and combined them in the wrong places, but the person grading him knew he knew them and passed him.  Finally, it was time for breaking.

Another kid had gone prior to Eli and did the same breaks without a problem.  As soon as the first kid was done, Eli made himself so nervous, he was about to cry.  He was wiping tears from his eyes when he was called up.  His instructor was encouraging him, reminding him he had knocked over a giant bag in class, trying to pump him up.  He did a couple practice kicks on the air, then a bag and finally he had to try the break.  He focused on the board during his ki cho jaki.  He turned and kicked and CRACK!...his foot broke the board! Immediately he got the biggest smile and sigh of relief on his face.  He wasn't nervous at all breaking with his elbow. Both strikes he got on the first try.

He was promoted to blue belt.  He kept his boards and was excited to show his Mom his new belt and the boards he broke when he got home.  After class he took a picture and the instructor told him how proud he was of him and that it was because of situations with kids like him is why he taught martial arts.  He was genuinely proud of him over coming his fear to accomplish his goal.  It'll be a couple more belts before Eli has to break again, but it'll be interesting to see if he still is as nervous before his next attempt.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Holidays and More

Eli had a full holiday break.  The first week off he got to relax a bit.  Then we were off to Grandma and Grandpa Erickson's for the start of Christmas.  When we got there, Santa was visiting Grandma's babysitting kids, so our kids got something too.  Eli is questioning Santa's existence, but he's still all in.  He got his present and after opening it asked me if "this is all we are here for!".  He obviously missed the mountain of presents engulfing the Christmas tinsel that Grandma calls a tree.  I explained to him that we were opening all the presents the next day and this was just the beginning.  He was happy with that.

The next day came and we went swimming with his cousins at the hotel in the afternoon.  He didn't even need his floaties and was careful and did well.  He and his cousin Sophia are about the same size, so they stayed in the same area they could touch.

After that we headed back to Grandma's house to open everything and have dinner.  Eli liked the majority of what he got and a few things he wasn't expecting.  I don't think he complained about any of it to his Grandparents even if he didn't like it.  He and Christian put something's together and went back to the hotel to hang out with Mom because they were bored.  They put something else together at the hotel and relaxed.

The next day we took off for home to the presents Santa left for us at our house.  For the most part the ride home was pretty uneventful, but Eli was a little disappointed that we didn't stop and eat at the packed IHOP on the way home.  He settled for a quick snack and getting home faster instead.

As soon as we opened the door the presents were sorted and the opening began.  Eli got a lot of Lego's, Buildable Star Wars figures, Infinity characters and his own gaming chair.  He spent the next few days building sets and would take a break when he got tired of them.  He eventually got help from his Dad, Uncle Dale and Christian to complete them all.  I think he still has a couple lego sets still completely built a month later, which is a long time for him.

New Year's Eve Eli managed to stay up until midnight and went outside and did popper fireworks in the cold.  Everyone slept in and had a good time that day.

Eli decided to continue doing Kuk Sool Won and is now a blue belt.  He has passed 3 tests and could test next month for his blue belt.  He still seems to like it, but the time off at Thanksgiving and Christmas seemed to have given him some new life in it.

He has been giving himself a couple headaches recently.  Once when the substitute teacher at school told the to make a bubble with their mouth to get them to be quiet.  Well, Eli stopped breathing and caused a stress headache.  Then he went to Kuk Sool Won that night and got upset and stressed that he fell down, which caused him to hold his breath again and cause a headache again.  We'll have to figure out how to help him deal with that issue going forward.

All in all, Eli has had a great start to 2016 and seems to be enjoying school and Kuk Sool Won.  Only a few more months and we'll be into spring break and ready for some fun.