Friday, January 11, 2013

Judo Boy

Somewhere in the recesses of my mind, someone is playing "Sunrise, Sunset." And once again, it is hitting me just how fast time flies when you have a child.

When I was a kid, it seemed like I would never grow up, that time moved so very slowly. Everything seemed so far away.

But since Wonder Boy was born, life has been on fast forward. And it seems like I can barely hold onto a moment before 10 more have flown by and some other milestone has been reached. *sigh*

Please understand that I am not complaining! It's one of those bitter sweet truths of being a parent, I think. And there are moments when it takes me by surprise.

What sparked this particular moment of reflection, you ask? Wonder Boy had a belt test at judo class last night. Yes, that's all it takes.

He passed with flying colors, of course. In fact, I think it might have been his best belt test yet. And I guess that is what you would hope for - improvement with each passing test, each year, etc. But something about his performance last night just struck a chord with me. I don't know if it was the confident way he approached each question, each technique, each opportunity to shine, or what. But whatever the case, it really got me to thinking about how far he has come.

He started martial arts while still in preschool, in a class designed for young kids. He had fun but was always a touch timid. He can be a bit shy. Then in Kindergarten, he started judo and it has been a great fit from day one. Even though he was often the youngest and smallest in class, he was having so much fun, that he rarely seemed to notice that he was so young and so small.

Fast forward though the years to last night and you would never, ever guess that he had ever been anything but completely confident in himself. He just oozed faith in his abilities.

I don't think there was a person there last night that didn't feel it. My heart nearly popped right out of my chest, I was so overcome with pride. Even Wonder Boy's instructor made a point of remarking on his excellent performance. We were all caught up in just how far he has progressed in the many years he has been studying judo.

Wonder Dad and I endured some questioning about starting him in the martial arts at such a young age. People worried he would learn to be a bully. But anyone who has studied the martial arts, ANY of the martial arts, can tell you that the opposite is true. What the kids learn is discipline, self confidence, respect, and patience. True, they learn how to defend themselves. But they also learn how to avoid potentially dangerous physical encounters. And they learn that honor and dignity are much more important than being the baddest guy on the playground.

Wonder Boy has learned all of these lessons and more as he has walked the path of the Martial Way. My hope and dream is that he will continue to walk this path and glean from it the innumerable values and benefits that the martial arts offers.

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