“It’s important to me.” That is what Michael had been saying since he heard that he could participate in his first karate tournament that happened this past Sunday. He really loves karate and is so excited that he is now an orange stripe belt. He kept on reminding Reggie and me all week, “Now remember that we have to leave right after church so that I can be there on time.” (Although our service ends at 12:30, we usually don’t end up leaving until 2pm – the time that the tournament began.) He didn’t have to worry…if something is important to our kids, then it is important to us too.
Sunday arrived and we all went to the tournament at his dojo. Before we went to the competition I reminded Michael that he was really just going to learn and to do his best since this was his first one. It would be great if he won, but it wouldn’t be a big deal if he didn’t. (I have to do those prep talks with him, because that boy hates to lose.) First, they competed in kata forms. Michael placed third in his grouping. I thought that was pretty good for his first time, but I looked over at him and saw that he was fighting back tears. I thought to myself “Oh well, that’s life. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you don’t.” (I am definitely not one of those parents who think that their kid should win everything just by showing up. That’s not reality.) Anyway, Michael managed to hold his emotions in check and compose himself, so I was happy about that.
I didn’t know that there would be two competitions, but after the kata competition, there was a fighting one. Michael shined in this one. We were cracking up because he came out of the gate trying to kick his opponent in the head with a forceful kick. (A kick to the head was an automatic win.) Fortunately it didn’t connect, because it would have really hurt that kid who was standing like a deer caught in headlights. Rather, Michael slipped and knocked the wind out of himself. That was good…he needed to calm down and pace himself! In any event, he won in the semi-finals and then he won in the finals. He was able to take home a first place trophy after all!