Paul had a great time yesterday at his third karate tournament. This is a local, laid-back event organized primarily to give students the chance to compete with other students in the studio's two locations. It may sound mellow, but there is plenty of drama and excitement.
When we arrived we were tickled to find this huge inflated karate master offering the perfect "photo op."
Then Paul was pleased to find that someone else had entered the "weapons" form competition, meaning that Paul could show his form for the judges. Paul had been ready last tournament only to find that no one else had entered, a big disappointment. But someone from the other studio had entered this year and he also had a bow form to show. Nicholas was a bit younger than Paul but about the same rank, so it promised to be an interesting competition.
And it was. The two boys were so evenly matched that there was only "one tenth of a percent" difference in their scores. We all held our breaths until the judges made their announcement: Nicholas was awarded that first place trophy and Paul the second. The judges talked to both boys afterwards congratulating them for entering and for showing other kids what could be done with the weapons form. Paul wasn't disappointed in his placement; on the contrary he was quite respectful of what Nicholas had done and was pleased that he had the chance to compete.
He did complete, which was nice, since it was more of a "win" when Paul was awarded first out of the three places.
You can't beat that smile!
Paul then suited up for sparring, and was awarded the third place trophy for that event.
So in the end Paul went home with a first, a second, and a third place trophy!
It's easy to overlook what it takes to compete in something like this even if it was very local and low-keyed. I saw one child dissolve into tears when he didn't win anything, a reminder that losing is tough. I saw another child who got whacked pretty hard during sparring. Even though they are sparring, "contact" is not allowed so the fight was stopped while everyone got themselves pulled together. It was a reminder that it takes courage to fight and self control to fight so you win but don't hurt your opponent. I admired Paul for getting out there and putting himself on the line the way he did, and I was tickled that he was so happy with his new trophies.