Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yellow Belt Award Ceremony.

Just before the Christmas school break began, Sensei D decided to hold the yellow belt evaluations that were initially to take place last week. However, the award ceremony was held as scheduled, today, the last day of class. A lot of very excited kids waited to receive their certificate of achievement, medal for perfect attendance, and their brand new yellow belt. I was nervous about the evaluation because SS is not very coordinated, and due to her size, some of the moves are difficult for her. P reassured me that it was a social promotion, and I knew better since I took karate as a teenager, then in college, and JJ started at age eight. Still, I could not help but worry about our little girl. Today was the big day, and SS was not the only excited child there.

The kids usually run around the gym before class, but usually with a best buddy or two. This evening one of them decided that it was a great idea to start a train. SS usually stays out of big groups, and we were surprised when she joined the mayhem.

The train quickly led to falls, but thankfully SS remained on her feet.

If at first you don't succeed... Darn, two more bit the dust.

Who's up for anther try? Really? Another fall?

Time to get serious and warm up. 

Three girls in SS's class are on a campaign to get her to join their gymnastics class. SS has no interest, and even if she did, it is not going to happen. SS is fourth from the left, and as you can see she is as flexible as it gets. No need for gymnastics.

Practicing fending off bullies or abductors with K. The little boy looking at the camera tried to get in between them and practice with SS. K shooed him away.

SS's turn to receive her award.

What a feeling!

Class picture, 27 started and 17 completed the class.

SS and K wanted their picture together with Sensei D.

The kids have next week off and return January 30th, and will join a much larger, more structured class. The best part is that class will begin at 6:00 instead of 5:15 p.m.  P is not going to have to come home from work, swallow his food and hit the road. It also will get SS tired later in the evening, win win for us.

Very short, but so meaningful to us. So what if it was a social promotion, we were not sure if SS would be interested in finishing the class. We did not expect her to love her Wednesdays so much, and she is eager to return. Will it go beyond a second session, who knows? What we know is that we had a blast watching her try and succeed.

The video below was taken last week, but we held off posting it for a very good reason. Sensei surprised us by bringing two upper class kids to do what we though was a demo of sparring.  He then asked the class who wanted to spar. SS's hand was up in a millisecond. Oh hell to the no! K's mom said that Sensei would most likely not allow the little ones to spar, and that made me feel better.  Nope, SS and K eagerly held their hands up until Sensei selected them to spar against each other. WTF???? K has been rather rough with SS when he is jealous, and before class he had his sister on a choke hold. I looked to P, but did not get much from him. Because that is why we wanted SS to take the class. To develop self defense skills, to develop self discipline, to develop confidence.

JJ did spar as a white belt, but he was eight, and although the other child had a foot and twenty pounds on him, I knew JJ could handle the disparity. JJ was a very impressive white belt, and was a sturdy boy (he won).  Since SS was in a controlled environment I cringed and filmed with my phone.

Oh, the thing about waiting to post the video. We sent the video to SS's grandparents, aunt, godmother, brother and a few friends. We wanted to give the grandparents the opportunity to see the video and let us know how they felt. SS has five very opinionated grandparents, and we did not want them to see the video on the blog. As we post this not one of them has commented. Not everyone has their email sent to their cell phones like us. It is very possible that three of them have not seen it. But we know Abuela and Abuelo watch every SS video multiple times.  A few days ago P asked me what I thought about the lack of acknowledgement. Well, there are two possibilities, first, all five have yet to watch the video. Three maybe, but not the Abus, no way. The second possibility is that there's a bounty on our heads funded by the grandparents, and the hit men are on their way. At least all five of them see eye to eye on something.

SS has always been intimidated by other children, we do not know if it is because of her size, or from her life in the SWI. SS allows kids to cut in front of her, usually just leaving the line. SS allows kids to take a toy she has been playing with first. It has been painful watching her shy away. That is with shared property, God help whoever takes what SS knows is hers. We have worried since the first time we observed that behavior.

The video below is nothing out of the ordinary to anyone but us. We are darn proud (once the shock wore off) that our diminutive daughter eagerly volunteered to spar. We are bursting with pride that she got two points (out of three), because we were both scared that K would knock SS on her butt. We are in awe of the confidence SS gained in a few weeks, just by wearing her gi, yelling kiai louder than any other child, and just keeping up.  SS was and is still upset that she did not "win". But we know she will try again.

We hope one day SS realizes that she won, she won over the circumstances that brought her home. SS won because she did not think for a second that she was smaller, less agile, not as strong. SS won because she raised her hand and followed through. She won because she was confident, she was determined, and did not cry foul when K got his third point. At her age P and I would have never raised our hands, let alone put on way too big gloves and spar. SS won because once again she humbled us, reminded us what a privilege it is to be her parents. SS, we are very proud of you. Thanks for the front row seat on this amazing adventure.

PS. I appears that I was more appreciative of K than SS when I said good job K first, and more than once. I was just SO relieved that he did not hurt SS.

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