Monday, December 15, 2008

Green Tips

Yesterday at karate, Trevor and I took and passed our green tip test. I was pretty confident for myself because I know the first kata pretty well, but I was worried about Trevor. Our Sensei made a point of telling him that if he didn't pass, it wasn't a bad thing. Gosh, was I worried. But, he passed. He followed along during the Kata with me, and he knew it well enough, although he gets his lefts and his rights confused a lot of the time.

Anyway, mostly I was worried about him not passing the test because he was doing his big huge frowny face (I call it his bulldog face) during the warmup. He was trying to tell me he was thirsty, but I didn't believe him. He's pretty good at coming up with excuses for not wanting to do Karate while we're at Karate, so I decided he was making it up. But, he later told the Sensei he was sad because he was so thirsty his throat had started to hurt. As Trevor worked out with his bulldog face, Sensei would say, "Come On! This is part of the test!" So, I was worried about Trevor failing that part of the test. And, Trevor's little friend who's been tasked with "helping" Trevor with Karate would check his face every two minutes. Every time she looked at him and his sad face, her face would fall, too. His sadness was absolutely contagious, and her workout was pretty much ruined. Seriously. Even after Trevor got a drink and wasn't so sad any more, his friend couldn't stay on task at all.

One of the things I like about Karate is the "respect" aspect of it. We're all expected to teach each other as much as we can. So, little kids who know more than me (and even some who don't!) have no problem with putting my arms where they should be for a head block, and I'm expected to thank them. I think this is good for me, and it's especially good for those kids who aren't afraid to approach and help me. Even Trevor has offered a few corrections. I may practice more, but he pays more attention, so I accept his corrections gracefully.

Last night at karate, we did a "Compai." I probably spelled that wrong. We went around the circle and everyone who chose to said something they were thankful for, then we raised our glasses of juice and said, "COMPAI!" Trevor said, "I really like karate because it's a lot of fun, but I don't like the timing of it. It's really long. It's almost a hundred minutes!" As I sensed this complaint coming, I looked at the ceiling for help, but nothing happened. I was still stuck on the floor with my thankless child who isn't afraid to speak in public. I like that he's not shy, so I raised my glass to his Compai, and thanked him for coming with me almost every week for the last 6 months.

So, that's it. We got our Green Tips. I plan on signing up for the next six months because of our one senior student who recently became a black belt. When I first met him, I thought he was maybe 24. He'd been leading the class during the Sensei's year long sabbatical, and he just seems very mature. He's only 17. I want people to think Trevor is 24 when he's only 17. I think it will be good for him for life.

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