Saturday, December 21, 2013


When soccer is done for the season in both the spring and fall, we make our way back to the dojo to re-sharpen our judo skills.

Before soccer started this fall, Wonder Boy and his instructor were preparing him for his next belt test. There was some talk of trying to squeeze in the test before soccer season kicked off, but it just was not in the cards.

When we returned to the dojo in November, those talks and preparations resumed. Wonder Boy, feeling rusty after the 3 month break in training, was much more hesitant facing this belt test than any other before it.

As a family, we spent more than a month drilling him at home, going over techniques, and even quizzing him in the car on the drive to and from school most days.

Wonder Dad and I both knew he was ready, but when the big day arrived, you could sense his butterflies.

He needn't have worried though, as with every belt test I can remember him taking in judo, once he was on the mat, his training took over and he flew through the test with ease.

This test was a little bit different. Sure, Wonder Boy still had to demonstrate every technique he has ever learned. He performed combinations of techniques, and answered questions on general judo trivia.

But what set this test apart was the kata. Kata in judo is performed with a partner. And maybe because it requires some pretty precise coordination, Wonder Boy's instructor saves the teaching and performance of kata until you are an advanced belt.

Here is Wonder Boy doing the first three parts of the Nage No Waza kata.

Nage No Kata (first 3 parts)

You will note that I had the pleasure of being Wonder Boy's uke (throwing dummy). Part of that was due to the fact that the test was held at the start of the winter holiday when there are fewer ukes from which to choose. And part of it was due to the fact that you need to be an advanced belt to perform the kata (or, in my case, have it performed ON you). And finally, there are not a lot of ukes at the dojo anywhere near Wonder Boy's size. Many are smaller. Many are a LOT larger. So this turned into a mother-son affair. I truly have been honored to be a part of this special day.

And I think you can tell from the looks on our faces, Wonder Dad and I are ever so proud of our purple belt boy!

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