Sociology and 4.0 GPAs

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Final Grades are out!!!!!!!!!!!

Let’s all do a biiiiig happy dance!!!! 

First of all, I have to give major credit to those that take more than three courses at a time. Seriously, to be able to juggle and transition through more courses deserves an award. I have learned that three courses is my limit. 

I decided that since I had the funding to take summer classes, that I would. I picked two courses that seemed easy and interesting. My first course is Principles of Sociology.

After my first week of online courses, and getting completely absorbed into the readings, I think sociology was made for me. I thoroughly enjoying understanding WHY people do what the do. And this course gives a rubric for a deeper understanding of how connected people are to their communities. 

Unfortunately,  I’m starting to think that maybe online courses are not for me.. 

In both classroom and online courses, participation is a portion of your grade. But in classroom settings, there are definitely a set of people that dominate the discussion. I am definitely a grab control of the conversation if no one wants it type person. Sorry? Well kind of, because I do find myself talking A LOT in classrooms. I will always wait like 30 seconds for someone else to start the conversation, but especially in English it was like it was my job to find a way for the conversation to be spring-boarded around the classroom. Then in lulls I would speak my opinion again and bring dying conversations back to life again. You’re WELCOME ENGLISH 102 students 😉 (Geez…I think these grades are giving me a bit of an ego…..)

But in online courses, or this one at least, it’s clear that you will fail if you do not contribute to the conversation. What I’ve found ends up happening is that this really equates to multiple threads of regurgitated crap… For instance, one of our first articles was about the Chicana workforce in domestic positions. <~ the majority of people posted about how it’s wrong and how those in retail and whatnot should be paid more and treated better. I’m all up in my own thread trying to discuss the WHY this happens not why it shouldn’t. Let’s be real for a second… Stop denying that you don’t do that. I don’t have to know you in real life to know that it’s complete bullsh*t. You may not do it to the degree that domestic worker’s have to endure, but that doesn’t mean you don’t inwardly want to rip into the baggage person that overfilled your bag and it spilled it’s contents all over the floor.

So this leads my to my own need for a sociological study. Why are a lot of students completely blind when it comes to certain information.. It’s like Dr. Who and his whole fixed points theory. There are certain “points” of information that we as a society are ingrained to ignore. 

Another for instance:

In my English 101 class we read an article about how Hawaii is one of the most mixed racial areas. Despite this, racism still exists on the islands. 

My English 101 teacher asked us to free write about what we felt this article was about. Instead of hinting about the racism still being prevalent, most students wrote about how great multiculturalism is and how we all need look beyond our races to see we’re all human.. <~ True yes, but not the point of the article.. not even close…

Our teacher went red into the face he was so pissed off. I let him go for about a two minutes before I raised my hand. I told him you really can’t blame these younger students for being unable to grasp the point of this article. I dunno about most states, but in my own, multiculturalism is pushed down student’s throats to the point of being close to brain washing. After years of this you can’t blame these younger students for being unable to digest any information that contradicts this. 

You can see this similar “brainwashing” in other areas…for instance in the topic we’re talking about sociology. I can’t blame these students for refusing to ignore the information presented to them…. but I feel I am allowed to be a bit frustrated.. 

I’ve tried engaging the class and asking questions that spark up a deeper critical thinking threads…. *crickets chirping* 

It makes me really sad because I love this course so much and I want to be able to discuss and really get into the readings. It is only the first week, maybe things will be better as people get more comfortable with the course..  😦

 

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What Type of Black Belt Would You Make?

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By watching other black belts within my dojo I’ve noticed that there are differing types of black belts.

 

 

The first, is the “elitist” black belt. Before their black belt they were your average student. Strap that black strip around their waists and they walk around the dojo like they own it. They correct everyone on everything, enforce dojo protocol more ferociously than the Kyoshi’s and feel the need to lecture you endlessly… <~ Douche to the extreme… and thankfully very rare

 

 

Then there’s the humble “a black belt is just a white belt that never quits” black belt. These black belts continue on training like they never even earned a black belt. They don’t believe there is an elevation of status and don’t see any division between them and any belt lower. <~ super cool and chill

 

 

Lastly  there’s the “Sensei” Black Belts. These black belts feel there is a responsibility to share what they’ve learned with the underbelts. They spend most of their time going over forms and techniques than actually caring about their own training. <~ Leaders of awesomeness.

 

What kind of black belt will I make?

 

 

 

I can breathe again!!!

My spring semester came to a close today!

I can’t even begin to express the hell that was the last two weeks. There was no rest for this wicked woman. It mostly boiled down to one insane paper that consumed so much of my time…….soooooo much.

But it’s DONE! Dropped in a box to be reviewed and critiqued..the two classes I know I got A’s in.. but this one… I dunno.. If I don’t get a good grade I think it’s going to set a bad example for my stellar work ethic.. I mean really, why put in so much work if I’m still going to be told it sucks? That’s why I like Math.. it’s concrete and leaves little need for interpretation. Either you know it or you don’t.. but English.. I still have no clue.

Why is it that I can have NOTHING going on and no one wants to do anything. But have a lot of work to do and suddenly everyone wants to be my buddy and hang out. It’s like people can SMELL the fact you can’t go out and it just makes them want to.

I did get to go out Saturday night. It was awkward and fun and awkward again. First of all, this was the first time EVER that every single one of my worlds merged together. School Faithie, Karate Faithie, Navy Wife Faithie, Momma Faithie and just plain old wife Faithie converged.. My husband had never met any of my college friends. One of my thai partners in crime came to celebrate. And we met up with some of our friends from the boat. I am so glad that things blended so well. I mean I do pride myself in surrounding myself with some pretty awesome folks, but with so many people meeting so many other people in a short  time frame  you really never know how it’s going to play out….. fortunately it went well!

All in all, consider this my declaration of being able to post more on this blog 😉

My Journey

 

One day (Tomorrow  actually… I started writing this last week…whoops!) I will be asked to explain my journey. What led my feet upon the path that made you a part of my destiny.

I started the martial arts in part because I saw the way it had enriched my children. When my son was two the All Stars (a performance team) seemed to perform at every single event that I had taken him to. He looked up at them, awe written all over his face, and told me that one day that would be him. By the time he was seven he was performing on the Dream Team. To have developed a goal and to achieve it at such a young age is to be commended.

My goal was a deeper one, and that one of health. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease. Now when I tell people that they look alarmed if they don’t know what it is. It is manageable, but forced me to take my health seriously. Before I started, I would attempt yard work and would be winded after half an hour. That is it. I was depleted for the rest of the day. Despite taking my son a few times a week to the dojo I never really stopped to look in room 2, which at the time was where the majority of the Thai classes were taught. But when another parent took up classes and told me how much fun it was, I was curious. And intimidated. So I told my husband that for a Christmas gift I wanted to try a few classes.

I hurt my shoulder within the first few weeks of training. Or, more importantly, the activities brought to light a bigger issue with my shoulder. I went to the doctor and was told that I should stop all physical activity immediately until I could go to physical therapy for a few months. I remember asking to speak to my Sensei, feeling like I going to cry like the biggest baby on the planet. I remember he was so patient as I rambled one excuse after another on how in that month I couldn’t continue on. After I was finished, my head hanging in shame, he said one thing.

“No”

What wait? I looked up, clearly confused. “What do you mean… no?”

“You have legs that work. You have one arm? Do you expect everything in life to be easy? No.. I am not letting you quit”

It was at that moment that I learned two things. One, was that the road to success is never a straight line. It’s like the roads of New England. The roads we use every day wrap around the land, and work with what nature has placed upon it. It is not our duty to merely set ourselves upon this path, but to never falter when it feels like an obstacle is too overbearing.

Which leads me to the second lesson I learned that day. The next is that what sets a martial artist above and beyond others is the fact they are trained to find solutions, not wallow in problems. If my shoulder is injured, that means I still have 3 other limbs at my disposal. It means pushups will be replaced by more squats. I will not elbow strike the pad with my shoulder until it is healed… but I will never stop.

I can’t say I ever really mastered these lessons. I am, after all human and very flawed. But I am better today than I was yesterday. I am stronger both physically and mentally and for that I know I can be proud. These lessons have served me not only on the mats, but off of them as well.

I have been blessed to have continued. My favorite days were when the classes were divided between basic and advanced. I felt so safe and so empowered in that first year. I developed  and conditioned not only my body, but my mind and spirit as well. I have more confidence than I had before. I used to be so self conscious and insecure. I was never willing to try new things and limited myself. The old Faith never would have went back to school, lost fifty pounds, or been able to stand up in front others sharing her story.

I feel it needs to be known, especially to those who feel that they can never change… you do. I do not believe those that say people never change. Change is inevitable. Every second you take a breath, the very air you take in transforms you. Every thought you make forever changes the way you think. Every word you speak changes the way that you interact with those around you. You can either let the world change you, or you can control the change. Every day is a new opportunity.

In the midst of training I was informed that only one out of three individuals get to this point. Only one out of three earn their black belt.  That statistic stuck with me. For one, it is because I cycled with two amazing and incredible individuals. To think that two of us may not make this point didn’t seem right. I envisioned us defeating that figure and laughing about  it at this very moment. But then I accepted these statistics and like the martial artist mentality required of me, I evaluated what solutions were in my control to make sure that I would be the one in the statistic that kept me on this path. I began running on my treadmill to make sure that I could run two miles in under twenty minutes. I started practicing my combos and weapons whenever I had time to spare. Honestly, my number one spot for practicing combos was while waiting for Miss Loreli in public restrooms. I knew what  was expected of me years before I would test and I kept that in the back of my mind and practiced more off the mats than on. I developed determination!

I am the only one out of my trio that made it to this moment. Not because they were unable to be here with me. Both of them were strong and determined to their own merit. Life, like the roads often show us better paths. It wasn’t because they didn’t want to be here, but because fate had a better opportunity in store for them. I’d like to take a moment to  honor my two teammates who deserved to be here with me, but could not. And to all the other teammates who nurtured and grew with us in our journey that  are not longer on these mats but forever in our hearts.

I’d also like to thank Jen, my very first partner who took this bundle of nerves and guided me that very first class. You made me feel like perhaps I could survive my very first class.

To Mr. Joe  who was my very first black belt partner. You seriously made me feel like a bad ass when I felt like I was keeping up with you.  I didn’t know at the time that he had held back a bit and kept me at a challenging, but not overwhelming speed. I look back on that moment and use it as model to inspire those who are just starting out.

To Mr. John for being my very first partner when I moved up to the advanced classes. I missed my little group terribly and you showed me that I was ready and able to keep up with the upper belts.

To  his mother, Karen, for being my very first sparring partner! To this day, I still walk into a front jab kick… You and the other fab four have always been a great inspiration to me.

I’d also like to thank my family. To my husband who actually listened to what I said I wanted for Christmas and followed through. To my kids for constantly challenging me every day to prove that greatness comes from within. To all my team mates for making this place a family. For my mother who thought I was crazy for starting in the first place but paid my black belt fees.

To Ryan for being my number one partner..

A special thanks to Miss. Julie for keeping me focused during this black belt cycle. I think we all know by now that when Miss. Julie tells you to do something, you do it! But even more so for being my friend, and going along this crazy journey with me every step not only as a martial artists in training but as a military wife. To John, who was a pleasant addition in the last year to my cycle group. You have come a long way from the first cycle day. I may not have reached this point with my original partners in crime, but life has a way of showing that things have a way of working out for the better. You both pushed and challenged me when I needed it.

To my Senseis past and present. Your leadership is the very backbone that made my triumphs as a martial artist possible.

Lastly, I would like to thank one more person. I saved it for last because I figured this would be the part (if I don’t ball my eyes out already) would be where I falter. I’d like to thank  Kyoshi Sal. This man slaves every day to keep this family afloat. Tirelessly he is here day in and day out ensuring that we have the ability to step foot on these mats. I hope I make you proud to call me one of your students.

I wish I had time to thank everyone, but this speech has to end at some point right? I know I left out a lot of important people that have inspired and challenged me and know that because you were not mentioned in this speech, it does not mean that you do not have any value within my heart.

 

Faithie, the Almost Black Belt

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Last weekend was my final testing for my black belt. It consisted of 3 two hour sessions, one of which began at 6 am. I had been dreading this because I really didn’t think I could endure six hours with my Shihan who can be pretty intense.. but it actually flew by so quickly!! 

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There was running… ooooo so much running… 

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Showing our proficiency in weapons

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Self Defense portion.. couldn’t get a non blurry pic of this portion because we were SO AWESOME 😉

There was sparring, which I have no pics of myself doing.. bummer.. 

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There was running in the sparring gear… which didn’t suck as much as in my head I thought it would…. If I learned anything sparring. it’s that I’m a mouth breather.. I always feel like I’m not getting enough air in when I breathe through my nose.. So having a mouth guard in I feel like I’m a fish gasping for air. EVERY TIME.. 

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There was focus drills. 

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There were tons of photos taken

Especially of me with my awesome partners in crime:

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And I passed! Which promoted me from Black Belt Candidate to Black Belt Elect. That’s right.. come the end of this month I will be presented with my awesome new BLACK BELT! 

Oh and a special thanks to my two adoring fans who supported me throughout the whole weekend:

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