Update – taekwondo, NPIA and moving on

Firstly – passed a taekwondo grading today. Over the last year have failed one and missed others through injury or illness, but almost exactly a year ago today, I passed and began to learn a new pattern – water

“Water always flows downward and, in time, can wear away the hardest granite. We learn that we can overcome every difficulty if we go forward with self-confidence and persistence. Like water, this form is gentle yet destructive. It teaches that man, when faced with a challenge, can overcome it by persistence and unwavering belief.” 1

Bizarrely due to some arrangements with another activity at the leisure centre, we ended up doing the grading on carpet floor. This actually helped with balance a little, because after pushing myself over last few weeks, last night, my back went and I nearly ended up not doing it. However after the last year I had reached a point where if I was going to do my grading lying on the ground I would have done. I don’t need to walk about too much for the rest of the weekend:)

So what is the deal – children do these kind of gradings in all kinds of leisure activities all the time, but its different when you come it to as an older adult. Its not all about belts, but this goes deep in terms of trying to overcome stuff and find a way to improve. Its weird thinking about assessment on PLENK2010, these gradings do have an outcome in the form of a tag, belt or neither if you don’t pass but its all about self-assessment. And you can train and train and mess up a grading – does it really matter? This time I felt that it did. My instructor had told me not to just practice anymore – “you don’t practice taekwondo, you live it”, so maybe a personal learning environment is not really that – but a personal living environment. But anyway.

Today, after passing, went to look at which pattern / poomsae was next and found that its Mountain pattern

Taeguek Chil Jang – Symbolizes Mountain
“A mountain is stable and cannot be moved. This form teaches us to move only when it is necessary to move – and then move rapidly – and stop suddenly and solidly, standing like a rock. It teaches commitment to notion and to immobility, for one must not waver. ” 2

My contract finishes at the NPIA this coming Thursday and it feels like I am leaving a big family behind, especially Kate – my lovely manager, e.g. at Christmas she popped in and put a tangerine on all of her team’s desks – simple but beautiful gesture.She is without doubt not just the manager I have got on best with ever but a supporter, friend and all round totally lovely lady.

Its been an interesting journey – spending a lot of time thinking that I am really not supposed to be there, but also some feeling of a job partly done. A lot of the focus of my role was encouraging NPIA and police to use tools such as blogs, wikis, online discussions and communities internally – to go and deliver presentations, have meetings and not be intimidated by lots of police in uniform.

To try and understand how they want to connect with others online and how they think it will benefit them. Due to the many changes going on right now in government, some people are moving to different offices, some leaving, some moving internally. A really nice thing was somebody writing on my work online ‘wall’ yesterday saying that he wouldn’t have been able to do this without me.

Interesting times ahead but I feel that I have a better understanding of openness and privacy since doing the job. I think it is the same for everyone regardless of their technology understanding or understanding of the online world, everyone is trying to figure it all out and those who know more about the technical details don’t really know everything about the impact unless they hear more views from everyone about their experiences. So there is a need for more sharing.

I am now following a police dog on twitter and being followed by a police horse. The police helicopters are also starting to tweet which is a reflection of wider tweeting of ‘things’ as the future of connected ‘things’ progresses.

I don’t know what I’m doing yet – not ready to make the move immediately to physiotherapy, still figuring things out – so may try and do a learning technology, collaboration or web contract in the meantime. And finish reading “What colour is your Parachute“. This blogpost is a one off – I am still moving towards being more open. I plan to resume martial arts & whatever else blogging in an opensource space in 2011.

In the meantime, expand my personal environments and networks – but gracefully rather than spikily. So here’s to stability then and more mountain thinking and doing.

1,2 http://www.barrel.net/


  1. Nicola, I wish you well in all you strive to succeed in and would like also to say thank you from for your help with POLKA. Hopefully will make it on Thurs to say it in person. Congratulations in passing your grading – sometimes I think when we walk the path of life we stumble and slip on shingle and shale – walking slowly, carefully and with determination, making sure we place our footstep carefully, we can succeed, move forward. Accepting that sometimes our path takes a turn or twists in a direction we were not expecting; embracing that experience, is to me being at peace with myself.

  2. Hi, wow, thanks for visiting and leaving such an amazing comment. How you have managed to find that peace with yourself is wonderful, I wish you an amazing path and journey onwards too.

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