The Grandmaster: excuse me while I fangirl


So. I just saw The Grandmaster, a movie based on the true story of Ip Man, Bruce Lee’s Sifu. It blew my expectations out of the water, earth, and sky. I saw a trailer for a few days ago, got excited, and while I know very little about how much of the movie was true, I do know it’s one of the best movie’s I’ve seen in a long time.

And it isn’t because of the Kung Fu.

Don’t get me wrong! I love Kung Fu. The style I practice is Choi Li Fut, not Wing Chun, but the basics are very similar. It was awesome to watch the fist work, the kicking, and the foot work because I have enough of a grasp to know what they’re doing and how much is real versus wire work.

Just a note: I think you’d be surprised how much is real.

The visuals were amazing. I was a little worried during the opening fight sequence. It’s very rainy and wet. It was easy to lose track of the elements of the match. This isn’t the case for the rest of it. Everything else was clear, beautiful, and dare I say again–awesome.

But what I loved about this movie was the treatment of Gong Er, the female protagonist. Notice, I’m not calling her a love interest (even though she is) nor is she a villain or antagonist (which the trailer makes her out to be).

I’ve never seen a movie acknowledge the sexism of martial arts (women being deficient in everything and unworthy to inherit the style simply because they are female) while simultaneously treating women as capable, dangerous, and proficient. The respect that the writers had for her was powerful because they didn’t reduce her to sex object, damsel in distress, or fundamentally different than the protagonist, Ip Man.

But here is the best part. The Grandmaster drops Ip Man for about thirty to forty minutes to tell her story and her story has absolutely nothing to with Ip Man.

Gong Er makes a vow, avenges her father’s death, while taking back her family’s martial art legacy from her antagonist (who belongs solely to her and not to Ip Man), and continues her life without any consideration for her future with a man she has strong feelings for.

What’s her vow? She promises never to marry, have children, or pass on the system if given the ability to take down the man who murdered her father and tainted their legacy.

Gong Er keeps her vow. Ip Man never encourages her to break it for him. The last time he sees her, he asks to see her Kung Fu one last time. (They have a Kung Fu flirting battle earlier in the movie. It’s cute and adorable and again, filled with so much respect. Also, she wins.)

She refuses. He respects her refusal. When she dies, he honors her memory.

The movie ends shortly after her passing because this story was about both of them, their brief intersections, and Kung Fu.

We need more representations of women like Gong Er. She was complicated. Her story was hers and not Ip Man’s. The recognition of such is something we desperately need more of, just as we desperately need more men to respect women’s stories the way Ip Man treated the telling of Gong Er’s story.

It’s valid. It’s important. It’s necessary.


I Hear Your Voice: Jang Hye Sung

I Hear Your Voice is a Korean romantic thriller. Go watch it. Your heart will be filled with so much emotion you’ll wonder what you were doing with your feelings previously.

My experience with Koren dramas has come intermittently over the last year but there have been a few themes popping up I really want to highlight, starting with Jang Hye Sung, the heroine from IHYV.

What I love the most about Hye Sung is the power she gains from the building of relationships. When we talk about feminine power, I really do believe the ability to gain friends and establish strong bonds of respect and friendship is at the core of it.

I believe this because often female relationships are mocked for being silly and unimportant. They are ignored in American media. Strength gets defined by solitude and individuality, which, unsurprisingly, falls apart and breaks the individual. Being alone sucks and accomplishes nothing. It’s not heroic. We should stop idealizing it.

But let’s talk about Hye Sung!

Hye Sung is in her late 20s, smart, confident, and very sassy. She clearly learned her sassiness from her mother at a very young age. The back and forth between mother and daughter alternates between sniping, teasing, and real affection.

Eo Choon Shim’s loyalty, faith, and ultimately standing up to Judge Seo, a man with a great deal of power over their lives, was the impetus for Hye Sung standing up to Min Joon Gook and giving her original testimony that put him in jail for ten years.

Eo Choon Shim not only teaches Hye Sung courage in the face of fear, she uses her final words, a cruel ploy to break Hye Sung by Min Joon Gook, to teach her love, compassion, and ultimately the forgiveness that saves everyone’s lives–including the man who murders her.

My favorite line comes from her: “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. If you live that way, this whole world will become handicapped…Just promise me, you won’t hate someone enough to ruin your life. Once a person is born into this world, this life is not even long enough to love each other, right?”

While I’m not a fan of killing off great moms, I do like how the writers handled her death because after seven episodes, we know that Choon Shim had the kind of relationship with Hye Sung to back up the weight of those words. Choon Shim changed the course of everyone’s life.

Now, let’s talk frenemies. Hye Sung and Seo Do Yeon never liked each other much. They were forced to be friends as children, mean to each other as teenagers, and professional rivals as adults. They snark at each other, smirk at each other, hate that they have the same taste in purses, but they constantly pass the Bechdel test.

Why? Because their isn’t a boy, guy, or man at the heart of their relationship. All of their problems revolve around a firecracker to the face and witnessing a crime. They are never romantic rivals. In fact, Do Yeon isn’t involved in a romance at all. She’s too busy enacting justice and pursing her career.

Their competition rarely breaks down the other person. Their frenemy status makes each woman a better lawyer and teaches them compassion, which they both use to right the wrongs of blind justice.

One of their best moments comes when Do Yeon breaks down about how she’s spent the last eleven years trying to live up to a moment of weakness. She cries not only in front of her frenemy, a girl who’s example she’s desperately tried to live up to, but a group of men she has probably fought to overcome sexist stereotypes her entire career sees her vulnerability.

And not one person at that table shames Do Yeon. Not Hye Sung and not those men. There isn’t any giggling or gossip. I believe it’s this moment that allows Do Yeon to beg Hye Sung for help at one of her darker moments and it is Hye Sung’s compassion that brings Do Yeon running to the hospital when she learns about the climatic resolution of Min Joon Gook’s revenge.

Now. The boys. There are a lot of really great moments in Hye Sung’s relationships with Cha Kwan Woo and Park Soo Ha. Seriously, just watch the show. I want to point out a few of my favorite things.

Hye Sung doesn’t take crap from anyone. In the beginning Cha Kwan Woo is very eager to get her attention (because he knows she’s freaking awesome and who wouldn’t want to have her attention?). He gets into her personal space, makes a bother of himself, and she immediately shuts him down. Hye Sung doesn’t bother to be polite, not even when she accidentally smacks him with her umbrella after he sneaks up on her.

And here’s what’s really important about that particular interaction: Cha Kwan Woo doesn’t berate her. He doesn’t say, “I would never hurt you, why did you hit me?” Instead, the next time he finds her on the street, he doesn’t sneak up, he waits until she acknowledges him because he respects her enough to know if she’s carrying an umbrella for the sole purpose of defending herself, she probably has a good enough reason.

Their relationship grows because she sees that he is a genuinely good guy. He’s kind and respectful to everyone. He’s willing to risk their friendship to do the right thing. When she rejects him, Kwan Woo never claims to be friendzoned, he never changes the way he treats her, and he stays committed to doing what he can to protect her from Min Joon Gook.

Hye Sung is confident in who she is as a person. Not once does she question why a younger man might be romantically interested in her. Her attitude towards Soo Ha’s feelings towards her, both before, during, and after the memory loss is really kind of delightful. She finds a lot of joy and freedom in her time with Soo Ha.

Seriously. Just watch the show. It’s so cute. But, more importantly, it is very clear why Hye Sung is willing to risk so much for this relationship. It’s not filled with angst, despair, and fighting against society’s expectations. I’m not saying they don’t have hard or bad moments, it’s a romantic thriller, after all, but Soo Ha and Hye Sung make each other stronger. They are equal partners despite their age differences.

And they never break.

Just one last thought. My friend, Audrey Gonzalez, has written a great piece about the relationship between the two romantic rivals that you should read. I just want to add that at no point does either man make this competition for her feelings about them. It is always about her.

There’s a point where Soo Ha is tries to do the individual hero thing (while failing spectacularly) and he tries to make sure Hye Sung isn’t left alone. So he goes to his rival. In fact, when Hye Sung confesses her feelings to Kwan Woo about Soo Ha, he immediately steps back. She’s made her choice and he respects that it isn’t him.

I think that’s true love at it’s best–when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.

Have I babbled long enough about the power gained from forging relationships? Hye Sung and IHYV are so awesome, I’m bound to have missed some things. Please add on!


Tumblr Tuesdays

Hands on Keyboard: July 16, 2013

I don’t even know how to begin describing this last week but here it goes.

Last Monday I entered Chrysalis into a Secret Agent Contest and got chosen by the random number generator. From Tuesday to Friday other participants, along with an Anonymous Agent offered critiques on the first 250 words. By the end of it, Chrysalis had fourteen comments from people I didn’t know and one comment from an agent.

I know I say this every time, but getting feedback is so freaking important and helpful and wonderful–even the advice that’s badly put. I’ve got some editing decisions to make and some ideas on how to work on my glaringly obvious weakness with description.

I’m also taking into consideration that 250 words isn’t a lot and some of the critiques become moot within 50 more words. Deciphering feedback and clearing it up is always an adventure. >.>

I didn’t win the contest but I’m very okay with that. I still feel like I gained something awesome.

While this was going on and I was compulsively checking my comments, Writing Like A Girl went live with reblogs. I quickly learned how to tag (because Audrey noticed I wasn’t ^^;; ) and I put together a month’s worth of queued quotes, commentary written by other people, and gif sets. Then I worked on my first, original character commentary. It went up last night.

As of this post my Master Tigress post has exactly 200 notes. To put this in perspective I thought I’d get maybe ten. I’m a new blog with very little history. I picked an old, non human character and through together 500-ish words about how awesome it is Tigress, the hardest kung fu animal style, is a girl. I didn’t think it would get 200 notes–a lot of them reblogs. I’m certain this is because I tagged it really well. (Thank you, Audrey!)

The last 24 hours have felt really good.

This might not happen again for a while. The next two commentaries I have planned aren’t with major or popular characters. But coming right out of the gate, it felt amazing. I’m really excited to continue this project.

For this next week I have three goals:

  • Chrysalis Edits (attack that passive voice!)
  • Write two character commentaries!
  • Have fun with 9thEvent histories


Writing Like a Girl: Master Tigress

[This is the first character commentary for my new tumblr project: writing like a girl. I found the images on deviantart. They're both by Artist Asenceana. Go check them out!]

I’m just gonna say it. I pretty much love everything about Tigress’ character design.

So often in martial arts animation, whether it’s television, movie, or games, there is this inherent sexualization of the female fighters. It’s a fundamental part of their visual make up. Their armor is ridiculous and they bounce in odd, awkward places. Even the anthropomorphic female animals can get very…male gazey.

Tigress is a Kung Fu master. She is shaped exactly like a tiger. She moves like a tiger. She’s dressed like…well, not a tiger, but certainly not for the male gaze.  I read the Kung Fu Panda Wikia article about her and it mentions that the developers did this on purpose. Her feminine traits are her tiger stripes because, and this is important, Tigress is a girl.

The hardest animal style in Kung Fu is the Tiger. From thrusting to raking, all the tiger strikes are hard, fast, and offensive. A lot of the time, they’re duel strikes. You land the punch with the heel of your hand and scratch or grab with your nails to deadly effect.

Just to put this in perspective, Tai Lung, the villain in the first movie, is a snow leopard. Leopard fists are a mixture of hard and soft energy, which means there isn’t as much force or power behind the blow. Leopard fists are meant for softer targets like the throat, solar plexus, and groin. Technically a leopard isn’t as hard of a style as a tiger.

And Tigress is a girl.

Po, the panda, may be the hero of this particular story, but his hero is Tigress. He even has her action figure. He looks up to her, he respects her, and he’s always trying to impress her. He trusts her judgement. When so many male characters make a big show of how awesome they are or how they’re the one’s in charge, it’s refreshing to watch a bit of humility. Po’s dream is to fight on Tigress’ team.

Just one last thought. Tigress makes several tactical mistakes in both movies. Not once do any of the characters blame her femininity as the reason behind her failure. They don’t tell her she’s being emotional, weak, or equate any of it to being a girl. Tigress gets to be a person first and judged for who she is and not her gender. She gets to show real compassion to her friends and grow from her mistakes–without being mocked as girly because being female isn’t a weakness.

Like I said, I love everything about her character design–especially because she’s a girl.

Tuesday’s Duck Arraigning

[Hands on Keyboard: July 2, 2013]

“I read Chrysalis,” my father says to me this afternoon. He’s the first of the three people I’ve let into my written soul to get back to me. “It needs more words.”

I know exactly what he means. I’m well acquainted with my inability to physically describe characters and setting. I tried really hard but I’m not Tolkien or Jordan. Or Sanderson.

I hate description. Dialogue is so much more fun.

“It can’t have more words. It’s at it’s limit.” Just barely over 91,000 words. “I’ve got to cut plot if I want to make room for more words and I’m too close to it to see what can be ripped out.”

Which brought me to a new problem. Well, several new problems.

  • The last third of the book is still really weak. I ripped out a few chapters from Brandon’s point of few and it’s turned it a bit clunky. I warned my sister-in-law about this when she texted me to say she was halfway through and so far things were looking good.
  • I need more people to read it but I’m afraid to ask. As I said above, Chrysalis is a written peak into my soul. I know everyone’s novel is like this. I’m much better at understanding feedback and I hope I’m better at knowing what will help the book and what won’t because accepting feedback and using it well is tricky. The published authors I follow have made that very clear.
  • I need more people to read my book but I’m stuck between throwing it at everyone I know and hugging it to my chest like my precious stuffed panda, Albuquerque.
  • Query Letter Writing Sucks. Pitch Writing Sucks.
  • writinglikeagirl is set to go live on July 10 with my first character commentary that I haven’t actually written but thought lots about going up on July 15. I decided to start without a buffer. Panic will hit sometime in August and I’ll fix that.
  • Korean Dramas are bad for my heart. Is it Thursday yet?

If my goal is to start submitting by the end of the summer, then my query needs to be crafted, polished, and ready by the end of July. This is duck #1. Duck #2 is writinglikeagirl. I’ve started a calendar listing out the characters and their week so even though I don’t have my commentary written, I at least know who’s up and I won’t be scrambling to find someone. Duck #3 is more Chrysalis editing. Duck #4 is my website but that’ll be easier to work on when ducks 1 & 2 quack on through.

I hate Duck #3. But, there you have it, my ducks carefully placed all in a row. Duck. Duck. Duck. Goose.

Goose is 9thEvent prewriting. It isn’t a duck. It’s not a priority. But it’ll probably waddle to the front of the line pretending to save my sanity.

No one will ever be able to accuse me of not committing to a metaphor.


a year’s worth of Tuesdays

I have big news.

Five minutes ago, I finished my Chrysalis edits. This is why I’m a day late for my post. Last night I wasn’t done and I was so close and I decided I wasn’t stopping for anything. I’m actually ready to let people read my book and tell me what they think. If they’ve read Chrysalis before, I really want the reaction to be, “Oh my gosh, this is so much better.”

So, a little background on why this happened this week as opposed to all the other weeks I said I was going to finish and didn’t.  Saturday was the one year anniversary for when I finished the complete rewrite. I spent Saturday in a funk, telling myself I was an abject failure for doing something so awesome a year ago and not following through with any sort of timeliness. After all, I “let” myself get writing sick, right? I was only doing silly little histories and alternate Chrysalis realities and future books that had no business being written. I wasn’t seriously writing or editing or even rough drafting.

I was a freaking failure and never going to realize my impossible dream.

Sunday was pretty awful too but for reasons having nothing to do with writing. I woke up Monday morning and something flipped in my brain. It just switched. Gwynne, I said to myself, stop being an idiot. You’ve got this.

I opened up Chrysalis and was reminded of so many things.

  • One: This draft is freaking amazing. I fixed so many pacing and plot problems. I’m sure it’s got new issues but that doesn’t mean I can’t fix them.
  • Two: The histories and alternate realities have taught me how to reimagine my plot, potential scenes, and how to rewrite things I originally thought were set in stone. Because nothing is set in stone. It’s set in a word document.
  • Three: I rewrote the last third of the book in two days. Like completely rewrote it.
  • Four: I cut two entire chapters and had to rewrite entire chunks from the alternative point of view.
  • Five: My dream isn’t impossible because I’m a writer. I’ve written every day for over a year. That’s never going to change. Eventually, I will write a book that will get an agent and be published. It may not be Chrysalis but that’s hardly my only or best idea.
  • Six: Resistance isn’t the boss of me. I can do anything I freaking want. I went from yellow to green sash in four months and that’s way harder than writing.
  • Seven: I’m awesome and don’t need to apologize for it.

Next week, I’ll have a query letter.


Folding Patience into Tuesday

These last few months I’ve rediscovered my love of origami. I learned it while I lived in Japan as a child and pick it up every few years. I’ve always longed to be an artist of some sort, usually through music or writing, but origami and other paper art pulls at my heart.

Last night, it pulled me all the way past midnight while I struggled on a new kusudama I’m attempting to make. Then I spent three hours today thinking it was still Tuesday. *headdesk*

Working on kusudama has taught me patience. I’ve struggled so much with this splorting writing sickness I had. I write and write and write but stumble through editing and reshaping because it is hard and sometimes there isn’t a clear plan on how to make it through.

Folding kusudama, which are those lovely modular paper balls, is a lot like that. You fold anywhere between 30 and 120 little modules and then attach them to each other to get the really cool shapes. Folding the modules isn’t hard. Once you learn the steps, it’s easy to crank them out.

Putting them together is a completely different experience. Sometimes the bits and tabs and folds and unfolds work logically, like they’re supposed to and everything fits together. The kusudama holds its shape with very little poking, prodding, and paperclips. I can step back and look at it and feel ridiculously proud of my paper folding capabilities.

Then there are times, even though I’ve folded the modules perfectly, nothing I seem to do works. The directions are unhelpful. The videos I watch assume I’m a kusudama and geometric tessellation MASTER and can just figure it out by using google translate to understand the French or German youtuber.

I’m not a geometric tessellation master so patience is required.

Writing and editing are kind of like that. I know how to make the little modules (draft 1) and I know what I want the finished product to looks like (draft many, many, lots) and somewhere between 1 and lots, I fit the pieces together. For every kusudama I make, I practice with boring, simple paper, before I try again with prettier, sometimes more delicate or even thicker paper to achieve the look I want.

It’s okay to practice first. I don’t know why this hit me upside the head this week but it did.

I’m happy to report I’m plodding along in all of my writing goals. As I flush out my character commentaries, I struggle a bit with my self imposed 500 word limit. When I bemoaned this to Audrey, she pointed out that I didn’t have to spend a lot of time on summarizing background, which is what I had been doing, because the people who are going to find these particular commentaries, are already searching through the particular tag, and already have a good background on these characters.

This suggestion led to some restructuring of my format. Yay editing!

I’m utilizing my writing sickness to do background for 9th!Event. This last week I wrote about 17k for the 3rd!Event. It’s been fun >.>

This week I want to work on my website. It’s not a hard goal but a whimsical desire. Hopefully, that means I won’t rebel against it.

Energized Tuesday

Goodness, do I believe in the power of massage therapy >.>

Over the last three weeks, the lethargy of lingering ick has really demoralized me in all of my projects. I started up Kung Fu again and it was painful to be so soft after a month away from my beloved martial arts. Tonight, I explained to my therapist my trials since she last saw me, so she did something magical else. My mind raced with all of my a fore amorphous thoughts and I came home to outline four of my feminist character studies.

  • Cordelia Naismith/Vorkosigan: (Lois McMaster Bujold) I’m really excited about this one. I think it’ll be my first one. I’m only going to focus on the two books told from her point of view. Mostly because I haven’t read the other 15 or so in the series and I’m not sure I want to. I’ll explain why in my commentary >.>
  • Red/Ruby (Once Upon a Time): She’s not a main character and that appeals to me. Also makes me sad because I think her character arcs are subtly fantastic.
  • Kate Beckett (Castle): I just finished the current season and there’s some interesting things going on that sparked a lot of thought and commentary.
  • Joan Watson (Elementary): This show gets my feminist feelings all excited. It’s gender-bent two main characters and one secondary character and it’s done it well, considering it almost competes with the very popular Sherlock.

Goal Number One is to have my outlines flushed out by next week. The Rule will be working on commentary before working on my other writing. Which is something I’m tots excited about as well.

I forgot to mention that during March/April I wrote a substantial history for 9thEvent. I was reading through my draft to start taking notes on what world building and history I needed to lock down for my rewrite (scheduled in my head to start in July or August). I ended up working on the history for the main character’s parents because it has a huge bearing on the plot of 9thEvent. I did it under 55,000 words. I’m ridiculously pleased with myself. It could be a “short” story. I’ve called it the 2ndEvent for now.

This evening my mind has raced about this as well. My experience writing Chrysalis histories is really going to help turn my 125k outline of the 9thEvent and turn it into a draft worth showing to other people.

Goal Number Two is to make a list of the histories I need and vaguely outline them.

Goal Number Three is to get rid of my softness by martialing my spirit for more Kung Fu. Because I need a third goal or my list is unbalanced.


Tuesday’s Larger on the Inside

[Hands on Keyboard: April 9, 2013]

So. Um. I discovered Doctor Who this week.

Okay, to be honest, I discovered it about a month ago. Tumblr convinced me if I wanted to have any sort of credibility I needed to watch it. After all, the writing, the themes, the characters, had all been praised and the gif sets were very pretty. It was either Doctor Who or Sherlock. Sherlock is problematic for me.

It took me a while to get into it. The writing was decent. The themes were sweet. The characters were…okay. There were times I loved the treatment of Rose and Martha and their respective Doctors, but I didn’t feel the insane pull I’d noticed with tumblr my friends who are fans. For two and a half seasons, I felt like I was missing something. I could take it or leave it. I mean, I was a little sick of watching all the women die sacrifice for the Perfect Man. It was a story I’d seen and was bored with.

But somewhere in the middle of the third season something switched. The foreshadowing was better. The villains were better. I finally got over David Tennant being Barty Crouch Jr. The themes were clearer and all the characters became larger on the inside.

I ugly cried through the end of Donna’s journey. One of Ten’s final scenes touched me so deeply I can’t stop thinking about it. I finally got what all those Whovians have been screaming for years now. I started the fifth season tonight and I can’t wait to get caught up.

This may seem like an excuse post. Oh, silly Gwynne got so caught up in television that she didn’t do any work, but that’s okay because she Learned Something About Writing. Except I checked off all my goals for this week. I have fifty-eight pages left to edit. I think I’m going to get it done by next week. Not so silly this week.

But I did learn something. Besides being converted to the Whovian religion fandom, I was able to look at all my characters in Chrysalis and say proudly, They are larger on the inside. I have hundreds of thousands of words wrapped around histories for not only my main characters, but secondary and tertiary characters. I know their lives, their pasts, and their futures. I know where they are going because I’ve been where they’ve been.

That’s when Doctor Who clicked for me. When it was clear that Rose and Martha and Donna and Micky and Jack and Wilf are all full of history, present, and future. Maybe not Donna. They were larger on the inside.

I think those are the stories that have the hardest pull on us. I think about Harry Potter and the wizarding world. I think about the Hunger Games. I always think about Buffy. I even think about Twilight. Stories where everyone has their own epic journey. Stories where a character doesn’t just disappear when they go off the page or randomly spring into existence when the book starts.

That’s what I want when I read. When I hold a book or my Nook, I want it to be larger on the inside.

/end fangirl

Kung Fu: Yellow Sash

November 13, 2012 was the best day of my Kung Fu life.

I’d spent almost nine months as a white sash and watched several other students who started after me advance to yellow. In particular there was this one girl who started about two months after I did and she made her yellow sash in under five months. It killed me. [1]

She had three stripes on her yellow belt before I even tested for yellow. She was a beast! [2] She was my competition! [3] I had to somehow catch up!

Then November 13th happened and I was a yellow sash. I had color around my waist. I felt like a serious martial artist. My instructor was on board with my insane plan to get through the green sash requirements [4] and test by March 2013.

There were some hiccups [5] along the way but I had all three stripes by the second week of January. I also won the school’s Battle of the Bulge Competition, in which during the month of January the instructors awarded points for each class attended. Extra private lessons were awarded to the top five adult students.

I came in Second despite missing the last week of January because I was sick.

Every week I felt my Kung Fu getting better. Yellow Sash was a completely different game. I can do things with my body that I never thought I’d be able to do. It wasn’t just More White Sash techniques with a slight increase in difficulty, these techniques were Yellow Sash Difficulty! They required Real and Hard Work and I loved it.

I despaired catching up to my competition. I watched her in our yellow sash class and knew she was still better than me. I ultra despaired when she told me her test date was the last week in February.

Then she got sick and had to push her test to March 13–the anniversary of my fourth month as a yellow sash. I watched her test and she was awesome. She clearly had the experience and training that six to seven months gave her. She became a very happy Green Sash that night.

No wonder, I thought, my instructor hasn’t given me a test date yet. I probably just need time. It’s only been four months and I’m having some blood sugar problems that are preventing me from having a good format. [6]

An hour later after doing my hardest, bestest practice format yet, he gave me a test date. “Because,” he said, “You’re ready. Each time we do this, you get better and better. Practice hard this week so you don’t lose it.”

So, next Wednesday, I’ll stand before my Sifu, perform my techniques, forms, and kicks [7] and catch up to my competition. We’re in the same age bracket so we’ll compete against each other at tournament. It’s very exciting!

March 20, 2013: Here I come!


[1] None of my legitimate reasons soothed my soul. After all, she was a solo student, I was in a partnership. She had a lesson every week, we were going every other week. It was simple math but I was jealous.
[2] Actually, she’s a perfectly lovely person.  Well, until you get her sparring. Then she’s a beast again.
[3] Sometimes I have secret competitions with people that they know nothing about. I never tell them if they’re winning or losing.
[4] Nineteen new techniques, a new handform, seven new kicks, five old kicks, and sparring an opponent continuously for 2 minutes in full gear.
[5] Food Poisoning. The Flu. Sparring.
[6] And Sparring problems. Unmade. Every. Freaking. Time.
[7] After some discussion with my instructors and Sifu, they are making an exception for me. I’ll spar at my next belt level or I won’t advance to Blue. I plan to work to get so I can spar at the 2014 tournament.