Sunday, November 21, 2010

11/21/2010 Trial classes

Saturday I took Julian and Katrina to trial classes, finally!

Katrina's was a dance class, and Julian's was, believe it or not, a Kung Fu class.

I wasn't planning on a Kung Fu trial for Julian that day, but he was being a serious pain at home, so I brought him with me to Katrina's dance class. On the way back home, I noticed a Kung Fu place right near our house, and it was open. We stopped and watched, and saw that there was a beginner class in about 2 hours, and they said we could take a free trial class. So, Kung Fu.

First, Katrina. She had been all excited about "twirling" in her dance class, so she was seriously nonplussed when it started out with tap shoes. I agree, I've never been a fan of tap. (That's Katrina in the purple leotard and her head against the barre. Sigh.)

She pretty much refused to do anything in most of the class.

A few props came out in the end: teddy bears and skirts, enough to elicit a smile or two, but not exactly raging enthusiasm.

She liked the skirt but mostly just stared at herself while the other girls danced and twirled.

One little friend tried to take Katrina under her wing, to little avail.

Not a follower, this one!

I don't think we're going to pursue this. The school is structured with an inflexible "tuition" policy, and I think we need to start more flexibly, and lower-key. I know Katrina wants to dance, but I also know from much experience myself that it takes a few times to find the right place.

So as we were almost home, we cut into the parking lot with the Kung Fu place. I'd seen kids at Trader Joe's with the T-shirts for this place (good advertising!). I was really impressed with what I saw -- it looked so much more interesting and active than Tae Kwon Do. Julian resisted even watching at first, but as soon as he saw there were weapons involved, he was all over it.

So I brought Julian back for a trial lesson at 1pm, and he took right to it. My ears thought they'd gone to heaven when I heard these boys say "YES SIR!!" Yes sir?! I'm sold!

Julian's in the dark green sweatshirt.

I liked the physical exercises, and I liked the no-excuses aggression, and the keeping kids in line (literally, they have to stay in a line). This is no warm-n-fuzzy namby-pamby "we let the kids guide us" sort of thing. No, the kids bow going in and out, and a kid out of line is quickly corrected back, and they all say smartly, "Yes SIR!" Things move fast and there is NO opportunity for messing around. And I like the precise physical positions they students go in -- it really appeals to the dance side in me. Cool!

The class chasse's across the floor. Julian is wearing a green sweatshirt (trial class), but it's his voice you hear right away: "yes SIR!"

A teacher (Sifu) took the rank beginners to the back to practice some moves. Julian loved kicking the big cylinder. It wasn't random kicking, it was part of a sequence.

I signed him up right after the trial class, swallowing the $100/month cost (thats $25/lesson), plus the initiation fee and the uniform.

I brought him back today, Sunday, for his first real class, wearing his black baggy uniform pants and the right kind of sneakers. I just love seeing how attentive he is, how respectful he is of the authority. He is the first and loudest to say "Yes SIR! and obeys immediately. Ahhh, this is what I like to see in a rebel boy!

Today in his first "real" class, he was challenged to jump and twist quickly. In the video, Julian is closest to the camera in the back row and being corrected by the teacher, which sort of works.

This Kung Fu place is hard to beat for convenience. There are 3 beginner classes a week, two on weekends and one Thursdays at 6, but we can attend whichever works for us any week. I bought a once-a-week package for 3 months, which was expensive -- that's a big downside. But I really liked the class, I think it's much more interesting, active and engaging of what we'd seen of Tae Kwon Do. This doesn't happen often in Sunnyvale, but we can walk to it (though it's in Cupertino).

Ironically, there is also a dance place in the same strip mall -- also walkable -- but no weekend classes. Dance classes are more rigid in how they let you take them. The school where Katrina took her trial class today is planning a show, and I was pressured into attending the meeting for the show -- a show, already? The director said something about a Parks & Rec class if we were looking for just exposure; this school is a little more serious. You can see from the videos just how serious Katrina was about it. I know there are better-suited classes out there for her.

I was seriouly impressed at the little girls in the Shaolin Kung Fu classes though -- would this be more my hesitant nonathlete's style? But first, she'd have to learn to say "Yes, SIR!"


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