Friday, March 29, 2013

Karate Kids!

My boys have been taking karate for over a year now and it has made a world of difference in their behavior. They were good boys before karate but now they are not only better behaved, but they are more confident, more respectful, and more disciplined. Not only is karate a good outlet for them to burn some energy, but it also teaches them the importance of stretching, practice, and respect for others.

For a while they were going twice a week, now since they are both into soccer, they are only going once a week. So they haven’t been able to advance as quickly as they would like but they are still working hard to move up with their skill level. They started out as white belts and spent the necessary time as beginners to reach their orange belts. At that level, they had to practice more and really focus on their technique. They had put in their time at the orange belt level and now it was time to test for the next color belt, the gold belt.

We thought they had a few more classes as orange belts but at class yesterday they were told they were going to test for their gold belts. Meg and I were both at work when their nanny sent us the news. This is a big deal for our boys and we both promised we would be there for their test. So with this news, Meg and I both dropped what we were doing and speed to the dojo. Since this was the first formal test to move up, we weren’t sure what to expect. Well, we learned that we didn’t need to be there for the class or even the next class as they do the testing at the end of the day after all of the other classes. This would have been good to know since I speed from my office weaving in and out of traffic like a mad man on 285 trying to make it in time. Anyway, let’s just say both Meg and I were both there in plenty of time!

The testing process is two parts; the first is like an interview with the head instructor and the second part is a physical test of karate moves and form. For the interview, the kids go into an office and present the instructor a report of how they behave in school, how their grades are as well as how they behave at home. They answer questions on how much time they spend on their schoolwork, their chores at home and practicing their karate. Again, since this was our first real test, this was new to all of us! I think next test we will be better prepared.

Henry during his interview with Mr. Victor
Mac during his interview with Mr. Victor

Waiting after their interviews for the physical test

They do not allow cameras during the testing as to not distract the kids, but let me tell you, it was pretty intense. There were about 12 kids testing for different levels including one kid that was moving from a blue belt to a red, which is the first level of the expert belts. A majority of the hour was spent with this kid and let me tell you, I was very impressed by this guy. He was probably 12 or 13 years old and he had his technique and moves down!

On to my guys, they were both nervous but once it was their time to test (along with the other orange belts) they did a great job! Mac was solid and didn’t miss a step. Henry also did great but on the last rep of each sequence he would seem to fall off some, as did most of the other kids. For that reason I was nervous that Mac might advance while Henry was going to need another few classes at the orange belt level. But that didn’t happen; they both were advanced on to get their gold belts. Meg and I are very proud of our guys and they are proud of themselves. That was a pretty intense process for an 8 and 5 year but they both did excellent jobs and I hope they continue to stay enthusiastic about karate.

Here they are after the extensive test with their two instructors, Mr. Victor and Mr. Isaiah

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