Sunday, February 07, 2010

Karate Drama

Yesterday was M's first Karate tournament. I was nervous for him, but he had been showing such confidence in class, volunteering to do his kata in front of his classmates. I'd been encouraging him about being confident, doing his best, yelling loudly... but I'd forgotten to prepare him for actual competition. Where not everyone wins.

He did a great job in his kata and then we had sparring. For Christmas he'd gotten sparring gear but he didn't want to bring it with him, I didn't remember that it was required (argh!!) so I didn't bring it along. We realized it was required but he could borrow some - but it was huge and this affected his sparring. He didn't place.

But he did get a 3rd in his kata.

However. Medals were awarded for katas and TROPHIES were awarded for sparring.

Oh the drama. Oh the pouting. His dad and I tried to encourage him and explain that he'd gotten a THIRD and he'd done really well. It was frustrating and hard to not say STOP POUTING!! DON'T BE A SORE LOSER! But I didn't, because I can remember how devestated I used to feel when I hadn't done as well as I wanted to. Before I realized that competition is only ever between you and yourself.

I enlisted the assistance of his karate teacher. She had a good long talk with him... before she told him she was going to take away his medal... for pouting.

He wanted to go home shortly after that conversation. But someone had to tell him. Someone had to snap him out of it.

When he got home, he phoned a friend and told him about his third place. Proudly.

He still wants to go to tournaments, still wants to compete and practice. I think it was especially tough that his best buddy in the class beat him in both kata and sparring. His best buddy who lives with a black belt... who gives him some extra training. How can we compete against that?

So we focus on the personal best, focus on fixing mistakes like forgetting his sparring gear and not getting a full night's sleep. Focus on having FUN.

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