Sunday, November 11, 2012

Busy Poekoelan Week

A month ago, just before the marathon, I was told that I was up to test at Poekoelan.  The test date was set for November 8th.  I was supper excited, feeling pretty ready to go.  Then the marathon and ensuing injuries occurred.  I wasn't sure I was going to actually test.  Was I even going to be walking then?  I just wasn't sure.

A little over a week before the test, I was pretty sure I wouldn't be testing.  My ankle still hurt.  I had yet to get the results of my MRI, but my hip was hurting pretty good, too.  Then things ankle seemed to be getting better.  The results of my MRI came through and (sorry I didn't share this earlier after posting about my worry) there was no fracture.  I had cartilage damage, which isn't a good thing and may mean hip replacement surgery somewhere way down the line, but I was clear to use it.

I started trying things out.  Using my hip actually made it feel better.  I went to the chiropractor who also diagnosed a spasm in the psoas.  He pressed on it until it released.   (Who-boy, was that painful right up until it released and then?  Gone.)  He also adjusted my ankle and knee and the pain relief was immediate, but didn't last, sadly.  I went to class last Thursday and, while I didn't jump on my ankle or run on it, I did participate on my feet and that went well.  I decided I'd be able to test.

What that meant, though, was a very busy week.  First off, there was an all school cleaning party on Sunday.  I was testing along with five other people and it was our responsiblity to clean the whole school from dusting the walls and ceilings to picking up mats and cleaning under them to scrubbing the bathrooms and all things in between.  Luckily, all students are encouraged to help.  Thus the cleaning party on Sunday.  A few other students came in and helped clean in return for our appreciation and pizza.  Anthony also sweetly came and helped out for over an hour.  I was up on my foot and really working it - moving mats and the like - for nearly four hours.  My ankle wasn't too happy, but it didn't seem too bad, either.

I got another ankle adjustment on Monday with the same effect.  Monday evening, I went to class.  It was all about kicking, so I only did some and then worked hands on the bench for a while.

Tuesday I went in to work my holds and my personal kumbong (a form one creates oneself).  I hadn't done either in over a month at that point.  I'd worked through my kumbong in my head and, after Thursday night's class, reworked it so there would be less jumping on the ankle.  So, I needed to actually do it and also to teach two people how to attack for it.  So, in the test, first you perform your kumbong alone, then a person or two comes in and attacks for it - they have particular movements to do that you are reacting to in your kumbong.

The holds...well, I hadn't worked through them in my head at all.  Doing them with my attackers (two people come and attack you in particular ways that you have to show the defenses for and all of this had to be done in a limited amount of time) didn't go as well as I might have hoped.  I spent the next couple days going over it in my head and making Davan attack for dry runs.

In between all this, I was, of course, working.  And there was the matter of writing out thank you notes to teacher and teammates who've particularly helped and supported me along the way.  Davan and I also went to the school on Wednesday before work to do a bit more cleaning.

Test day was Thursday and was quite busy between getting food (testers are responsible for bringing food to feed the black belts who are running the test), preparing my own food, wrapping small gifts for my attackers and getting to the school by 11am for the last of the cleaning and a little bit of light training.  I'd promised a co-tester that I'd go over some details on standards with her that morning.  Davan came and helped with the cleaning again.  There wasn't ever enough time to make going home again worth it, so I was there through work and up to the test.

The test lasted from 7:30pm-11:00pm.  I might have some pictures for you later, as a teammate took some pictures that night, but the family camera plan fell through.  There are two folders labeled "Poekoelan Test" but they contain gems such as these:

Oh well.  I'll share if I get them.

The upshot of the test is that I passed and am now a gold sash student.  Who-hoo!

But, that wasn't the end of my Poekoelan time for the week.  Friday was a day camp day because our local schools had a teacher planning day.  I was on morning duty, so had to be back to the school at 7:30.  I was actually really glad because I didn't sleep well and don't think I'd have slept any more even if I had the time.  So, I got to go in and be with the kids while they were fresh and then go home before I crashed out.

I was very disappointed to discover that my ankle/lower leg was swollen by the end of all that.  It was really disheartening.  I was also having a fair amount of pain and didn't want to walk on it. 

After ice, elevation, Advil, another trip to the chiropractor where he used ultra sound to bring the swelling down and sleeping a full night's sleep Friday night, both my mental state and my ankle had improved.  Still, I'll need to take it easy again on that poor ankle.  It's been a bit of a set back.

Saturday I was in at Poekoelan again for a couple of hours in the afternoon.  We had a scorekeeper's meeting and set up for a kids' tournament happening on Sunday.  As a scorekeeper, I felt I had to go.  Sadly, Davan and I had opposite schedules.  Nearly as soon as I got home, she left to go to a gig at Do Jump.  She was part of the entertainment for a Bar Mitzvah being held there.  She wasn't totally sure about going because it was a stilt walking gig for the Zig Zags and she isn't a big stilt walker.  However, the pros were there, as well, and she got recruited by them to be a flier for a bunch of partner tricks, which totally made her evening.

Today, after our family Sunday morning pancake breakfast, I was back at Poekoelan for the tournament.  I ended up being assigned to a ring as the sole scorekeeper where as other rings had two scorekeepers plus, in some cases, kid wranglers.  I was doing all that solo.  It was a little intense, but I ended up finding a rhythm and turning away assistants because it would have been more trouble to train someone than to just keep going.  If it weren't for the fact that I'm also coming down with a cold, it would have been fun once I found my grove.  As it was, it was fine and sort of fun, but I was really done by the time we were done and really happy to skive off of clean up and come home.

I got home just in time to see Davan and a friend off to their Seeds of Hope rehearsal at Do Jump.   Opposite schedules again today, sadly.  She'll be home later, though, for Sunday night pizza.  Not cooking sounds very good to me.

Whew.  That's been my week.  Tomorrow, it's back to work with a day camp at that.  However, after this week, we have a week off for Thanksgiving.  I'm super stoked about that!  And I'm excited to go to work tomorrow and see the kids in my class who participated in the tournament.  I didn't get to see most of our kids because I was working in an older kid ring, but I hear they did really well and I can't wait to congratulate them.


  1. Really enjoyed this post. I especially liked the pictures of Ranger where you can see her face, even if it is not of your test. LOL AH I see how and what you are doing about your hip and ankle. Congratulations on making Gold Sash! You have been very busy!

  2. That is an awesome accomplishment Nicholina. I know you are so proud of yourself. I am so sorry about your ankle and lower leg. Also wanted you to know Keilee got Davan's letter. It was a high point in her week because she has been really sick. She was so excited and so was Nomad. ;) She is planning on writing her back in the next few days.

  3. Congratulations! But give that ankle healing time.