Saturday was Monkey Man’s first tae kwan do class. For someone who was so excited about it for the last week and had asked every 2.7 seconds when we were going to leave for class, he had a sudden attack of the nerves about 15 minutes before we left the house and had decided that he wasn't going - PERIOD. I calmly explained that his loving daddy had pre-paid for seven months worth of lessons, and if he didn’t want to go that it was okay but his daddy might hock some of his Power Rangers at the pawn shop to recoup some of the costs. So he shoved me out of the way, ran outside and jumped into the car. Nothing like a little motivation, huh?
We got there at 11:30. Perfect, I thought – we were actually able to get a parking spot. Then I noticed a bunch of teenage students headed into the studio with their sparring equipment….hmmm, I thought, this is odd. So I pulled out the class schedule and sure enough, the class was at 12:40, not 11:40 like I had thought. Duh. No problem, though – I needed to put gas in the car and I figured I could get Monkey Man a snack and we could camp out in the Starbucks two doors down from the studio until class time arrived.
After donating a kidney at the gas station, we went on over to Starbucks and I loaded Monkey Man up on a bag of bite-sized Oreos and some bottled water while I had one of my usual No-Funs. Yeah, it probably wasn’t the smartest thing in the world to load my kid up on sugar before sending him into an environment that would promote kicking and punching, but I never claimed I was perfect. One of the regular baristas promised Monkey Man that she would give him a special drink when his class was over, so we made plans to come back after class and get him his treat.
Finally class time arrived and Monkey Man got out on the floor with the rest of the kids. And for someone who had an hour earlier balked at coming, he got right up on the front row and was in the thick of things.
The basic premise of this beginning class is to involve the kids in some instruction, but also some fun stuff that in a sneaky way encourages development of concentration and discipline. The first task – 25 jumping jacks. Let me tell you, there is nothing funnier than watching a bunch of little kids try and figure out how to do jumping jacks. It was like watching a bunch of spastic penguins and the parents were all dying to laugh but we were trying desperately not to.
The class went on and Monkey Man did really well for his first time. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my kid…well, OK, maybe I am. But he did great. I think the highlight of the class was this little “obstacle course” that the teacher set up using some of the adult student volunteers – the kids had to kick, punch, block, jump, etc. in a certain order while running around these little foam blocks. They started out and it was like trying to herd cats to get them all going in the correct direction – but damn if they didn’t catch on quickly and within 3 rounds of this things were looking pretty darn good. Then at the end, the teacher gave MM his white belt and asked us to come back one night this week to discuss the program in further detail. Considering that we spent almost 2 hours there the other night just signing the kid up, I would rather poke my eye out with a hot iron, but I agreed that we’d be back.
After the class was over, we dutifully returned to Starbucks where Monkey Man received his very first Starbucks drink…a vanilla bean frappucino. He tentatively sipped, it, then proceeded to drink the entire stinkin’ thing down with barely a pause. He smacked the cup down on the table, wiped his mouth, and said, “Mommy, that was delicious, can I get one next time I come to tae kwan do?”
Egads. Not only are we paying out the nose for these lessons, but now we have a Starbucks addict too. This is not looking good.