Saturday, May 17, 2008

end of year blues

currently listening to:
Red Garland Jazz Piano collection

i love and hate the end of the mit taekwondo season. it's always a flurry of activity with celebrations of yet another tremendous year, and it's also an emotionally stormy period of people preparing to leave, and for some, to move on. even as a not-so-recent graduate, i found myself in the mix, spending late nights preparing what was probably the best highlights video i've ever made (or helped make). its reception at the banquet was great. the banquet itself just seemed a nonstop stream of activity, from plays, awards, videos, food cooking contest judging, etc etc. and after a few other end of year partying mishaps, i think i enjoyed the peace and normalcy of the banquet a lot more, in a way.

we capped the year in the studio with a pair of belt tests. i gave what i thought was my highest belt test yet - the red belt/black stripe test on monday. and despite being somewhat unprepared i believe i gave a worthy and enjoyable (and challenging test.)

here is ning and snix performing their one-steps.

however, then i had the honor to give my first black belt test this past wednesday, for a very deserving teammate. i had to look back to conor for inspiration - as much as one looks to a captain for sparring technique, one looks toward a higher instructor for belt testing wisdom. i threw technique after technique at jarek, interspersed with sets of nx10 sit ups/running men/crunches. i don't even remember what i called, i just called out numbers and he did them. after the sparring he looked exhausted, and i knew all the instructors were pleased and lower belts were horrified at what a spectacle a black belt test is. but after doing 100 running men and using up his last ounce of strength before proceeding to his final form, jarek must have been happy with the completion of a test worthy of him, because he ran off to the thirsty ear to grab maybe a pitcher or two.

today is a saturday and for me that means going to haymarket, enjoying the weather, making some kick ass lemon mint ice tea, and listening to jazz. but for the rest of the mit kids, the last stretch of this academic year will be crammed into today, tomorrow, and the days of next week without finals. yet we managed to have enough time to relax yesterday, with a barbeque at mccormick, a fun sparring practice, another trip to mccormick to eat more of the leftover banquet foods, a movie at the commons and a pretty late night drinking at senior house. it seems that after the last day of classes, everyone feels the need to bbq despite two or three inches of rain throughout the evening. we'll make up for the lack of sun over the summer, of course.

for someone like me, the goal is always going to be the next practice, because there are no other times when i would naturally (and not sketchily) be hanging out on campus. but who knows who will be here on monday? who will be there the next week? if the summer goes well, the end of this school year will just be the beginning of the beginning of another great one.

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