This week has been slow in terms of teaching classes as it is the weekend of the Ithaca Festival, and my kids are out of town so I don’t have them to make in to a kids’ class. I have had them for a couple classes though which is fun. It is so interesting to see my own kids in a different context (and I think it is good for them to see me in a different role). Directing them in class reminds me of why I want to teach in the first place- in a small way I can give some of the benefits I’ve gained through my training to others. I’ve recently commented on Facebook that as a kid I was pretty clumsy. I had little awareness of my body in space and would often be surprised that I tripped over something, etc. Once in a while I still have this sort of problem (which reminds me that I am not paying enough attention) but in general I am much more aware of my body, my surroundings, and am better able to react when something unexpected does come up, for example if I lose my balance for any reason.
As I look back I realize that years of drills and exercises in Taekwondo classes have completely changed the way I move. As I look forward to teaching my children and other students I think of how much time and effort it’s taken for me to get to the point I am at, and depending how I look at it I can be overwhelmed and/or realize that there is a lot I have to offer others, even just from the drills I remember doing as a student. At their first class I had my kids try the leapfrog style over-under drill. One person puts their elbows on their bent knees (making a very sturdy position) and tucks their head down- the other person with a running start jumps leafrog-style over that person (hands briefly on the person’s shoulders as they fly over). Then the jumper belly crawls under the standing person and starts over (usually 10 times). This was one of those exercises that opened my mind to possibilities of things I could do that I never would have thought of- with a running start, I could jump over even people bigger than me- which was great fun. I later used the bent-knee with elbows resting on knees strong position to enable me to carry people on my back, some of whom have been greatly heavier than I am (now I know I will always be able to carry my children no matter how big they get).
Teaching my children to do this exercise has proven to be more difficult than I realized; getting them to rest their elbows on their knees was surprisingly complicated. And I guess not too surprisingly, my daughter was worried about jumping over her brother and would pause every time she came up to him, effectively making it impossible to jump over him. Last week I had them do another version of the over-under drill that I recently learned in Master Shaffer’s class: one person lies down and the other person jumps over, then the lying-down person pushes up into a downward-dog like (yoga) position and the jumper belly-crawls under to the first side, repeating as directed. This proved to be less challenging and more successful.
The caption to this picture fittingly states “The game of “leapfrog” requires enough leap at the right time.”
Image is from Randy’s Journal, Boeing Commercial Airlines.
The Downward Dog Yoga pose
Inspiration behind the Downward Dog Yoga pose
Thanks for reading, + have fun. Leapfrog!