If at first you don’t succeed, try again in a different language.


You may recall my failed attempt to get a reaction from my Taekwondo “Sensei” when I convinced my compatriots to count our 25 jumping jacks in Korean.

So, you know, a normal person would leave it at that.

And then there’s me.

“New plan, girls,” I told my daughters. “Sensei spent the first nine years of his life in Germany. Next time, let’s count auf Deutsch!” (I know a little German from my semester in Austria.)

“Groan,” said Youngest Daughter.

“Eh, whatever,” said Middle Daughter.

“That would be hilarious,” said Oldest Daughter.

“Yes! She gets it! Let’s do it!” Apparently one vote was all I needed.

And this time? THIS time, Sensei…

likewise did nothing.

Just kidding! He smiled. A real actual smile!

Then he looked at me and asked, in German, if I speak German. I said, “Not… really,” in English.

“Oh, okay.” He seemed disappointed, but not surprised.

Now remember the purple belt churros and the debate over how he received the extra one I gave him?

That started well, at any rate.

Also, my little man noticed the addition to my belt rack.

“What happens when you get the black belt?” he asked. “Do you get a special candy?”

Ah, the priorities of a four-year-old mind.

Perhaps when he’s old enough for martial arts, Sensei would rather close up shop than take on another one of us. So, maybe it’s just as well that I caught Little Man trying on my Jiu-Jitsu gi top.

Ready to roll.

And finally, here is the chocolate pudding pie my daughters made for July 4th. I was careful to stay far away from the process to ensure the best results.

They did a nice job, and it was delicious. 🙂

I hope my American friends had a lovely Independence Day! (Better late than never.)


91 responses »

    • Sensei will occasionally teach us one of the defenses on the sheet and admit, “I don’t think this is a very good one, but it’s the official move.” I guess he doesn’t feel he’s allowed to detour from what he’s been taught.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That makes sense, depending on the Federation/Association. Not saying it’s right lol – it’s good to at least understand and recognize a crappy move and why it’s crappy, but then offer a better alternative.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting, must be a newer association. I’m glad you’re enjoying it though, sounds like you’ve been having a great martial art journey between TKD and BJJ.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No ground techniques as, A. no mats and B. he still doesn’t know I do JJ. I tried a RNC, but he pulled my arm down, not away completely, but enough that I couldn’t lock it in. And I tried to pull his arm for a standing arm bar, but I couldn’t pull it all the way. He’s too strong. :/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Still, this was a different discipline than what he taught. Plus, in JJ, strength isn’t supposed to matter. It’s supposed to be all about leverage. I could not leverage his arm, however, so it makes me wonder… :/

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, leverage is just one element of the game, but strength and other attributes can and do have a part to play. And just because it’s a different discipline, doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand how to not let you get a good RNC or standing arm bar on him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • True. I was just hoping I was better at this. My confidence that I can “take on the world” if need be was shaken.

        Other funny thing, he was teaching the TKD method for getting out of a rear bear hug. He asked if we could think of another way, so I demonstrated the JJ drop, spin, kick move. He said, “That’s OK but you never want to end up on the ground.” That cracked me up because my JJ instructor frequently says, “The first objective is to get the other person on the ground.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well give yourself some slack for how long you’ve trained JJ.

        The TKD instructor’s line is a classic response from a “traditional martial art” teacher. And your JJ instructor has a typical answer also lol so at least they’re even.

        That said…

        In one sense, it’s unwise to go to the ground in certain situations, just in case someone has buddies with him and you get monkey stomped being outnumbered.

        It’s also unwise to not be very good on the ground since many fights end up there and, for women, most bad guys want you on the ground or pinned.

        The “first” objective is to follow Miyagi-Sensei’s fight advice “no be there” lol – the more I learn about choking people out and breaking arms, legs, joints, etc… the more I don’t even want to HAVE to do something.

        But I do agree as far as defense is concerned and controlling a person until law enforcement arrives… get them to the ground.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, not be there. I remember you saying some time ago that situational awareness is primary, so I always strive for that. I guess that, even if I’m not strong enough to everything, I’ll at least have had some training to do SOMEthing.

        The Gracies sometimes post footage of JJ practitioners taking down some bad guy and holding him there until the cops arrive. Would I be able to do that? Eh.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Gracie’s are good at advertising/propaganda, they have their place in JJ history for sure and JJ DOES help them little guy beat the big guy. But it isn’t the skeleton key or the one martial art to rule them all. Just keep training. If you want to shake down your ground game, and be confident in what you can do, I’d suggest competing. The crowd, the whole spectacle and another person going hard against you does wonders for your growth, depth of understanding JJ and more. Even if you don’t win. It helps refine the big factor of managing stress and emotions during a conflict.

        Liked by 1 person

      • “One martial art to rule them all.” Ha! With my experience of all of two martial arts, JJ does seem superior. Though I could slow someone down with a front kick to the face followed by another to the groin, and make him think twice. But if things wound up on the ground, maybe I could hold my own until reinforcements (for me, ideally) arrived.

        The Gracies are good businessmen to be sure. And the Ohio country girl in me is bothered that I’m a part of a big corporate machine. I didn’t know that going in. It was just the closest gym, but I really like my instructor and the way we’re being taught.

        The guy I co-teach with at school does JJ elsewhere. The way he learns is clearly more about dominance than defense. Though I’d generally prefer the mom & pop shop, I’m seeing why the Gracie method is so good. I normally would have shied away from the beautiful rich people, but this has taught me not to be so prejudiced. Plus, the Women’s Empowerment program that Rener and his gorgeous wife do, is really good. They clearly care about people being able to protect themselves. (This is more me convincing myself that it’s all okay, not convincing you!)

        As far as me competing: shudder! I do NOT do well under pressure. At the end of last class, I was suddenly aware that Instructor, SD1, and another upper belt were standing there, watching me, cheering me on. Why, oh why, were they watching US, rather than all the others in the room? I had my opponent totally locked up in a cool move I learned from a Gracie vid, not from class. (Maybe that’s what drew them over.) But then I geezed and kept trying to flip the guy where his posts were rather than in the direction I had him locked up. Instructor said, “Turn toward me! Toward me!” But I didn’t course correct. Finally, I had to let the guy go. The three bystanders went, “Ohhh…” and walked away. One said, “It was all set up…” I was SO embarrassed. For days it was coming back to me and bugging me. I kept asking Hubby, “Do you think they’ve forgotten?” He assured me they had, but I don’t know.

        The next day I did something, dropped a fork, or whatever. Hubby said, “Did that happen because you turned the wrong way?” He was playfully making fun of me, but it just brought the memory crashing down again. I’m mortified and afraid they think I’m not good at this or worthy of testing for that (lame) white and blue striped belt.

        I honestly almost posted about it just so I could have you and the other BJJ guy, Stuart, tell me it was all going to be okay! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Love the patriotic pie! I somehow missed that you have a 4 YO son and now I’m back to feeling old because I have a 4 YO grandson. But at least he’s my oldest grandchild. German! What’s hoot. Was everyone looking at you? It often sounds like swearing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Now, I think it’s a valid question. Really, what kind of candy do you get for a black belt? Licorice? At least your girls could make you a black bottom pie or chocolate cake or something. I mean, what an achievement worth if it’s not rewarded with food? I think the kid is on to something here …

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree with Andrew. Every worthwhile achievement must (not should, MUST!) be celebrated with food!

      I also admire the inquiring mind of your little man. I have an answer. No, not licorice. A few years back, my mother-in-law made us the most sensational dark chocolate soufflé that she called a volcano. It was so dark and it had delicious dark lava seeping out of it. Sooooooooooo, SOOOOOO good, I’m starting to drool just thinking about it! Get your little man started on that now (the attempts to perfect it will be delectable, too, I’m sure). And once we’re neighbors… Well 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh!!! I was thinking that when were neighbors I’d be baking celebratory brownies and other chocolate delights, and recruiting him was a stop-gap solution, but if I needed any more convincing… you had me at step-stool-and-mini-apron (and purple churro delights) 😋

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The pudding pie looks amazing! Independence Day barely registered this year, if I’m being honest. Only because we were out galivanting around Wisconsin (though really, what’s more patriotic than that?).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The pie looks absolutely incredible. Kudos to the kids!!!!

    The counting in German deserved a little more kudos than a smile.

    Little Man in Judo top is correct, there IS a special candy when you get black belt. Did no one tell you?

    And I am greatly appreciating the effort behind that belt rack filling up. Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel like I just went thru a fun school class with all the cultural references haha. What a beautiful pie! I can’t make anything like that! Probably couldn’t even make those churros! I can’t bake or cook lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Time to learn another language, Betsy. You can continue to impress your sensei with languages you don’t really know. 🙂 Hehe. And great pic of Joe. Candy when you get your black belt? He’s so cute – please make that happen. And your daughters’ pie looks amazing! You have a wonderful family.

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. The pudding pie (and nicely done, daughters!) reminds me of an attempt by my older brother, years ago, to make a round cake where a wedge slice laid on its side on the plate would be an American flag. Think about that for a second. It’s effectively a thirteen-layer cake, with a blue ring around the uppermost red/white layers. Frosting it was a little rough. I don’t recall the final product looking nearly as neat/clean as this pudding pie but I had to give my brother cred for trying.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: My Birthday Part 2: What Actually Happened | Motherhood and Martial Arts

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