Two big changes with our karate studies.
1. Sadie started karate classes! She has been waiting to start for a while, but I told her she had to be 5 years old and 30 pounds. Well, she hit those marks at about the same time, so with trembling, fear, and much trust in Mr. Odom at Norfolk Karate Academy, I let her start. She loves it -- from the first moment she put on the gi she has been completely ecstatic. I had these illogical fantasies that she would have no contact with anything other than air for like two years at which point she would be allowed to maybe gently kick a pillow or something. Of course, she started kicking and punching things on the first night. GREAT. Here are a few photos from her first day:
Sadie started on the same night as her friend Keric. Here are the two new white belts with big brother Benny. As it turned out that night was Benny's last as a green belt -- he tested for blue that very same night!
2. Benny's blue belt test! Benny got his green belt in November of 2006. Taking over two years to go from green to blue is not normal. Benny has never been on the fast track in karate, and for all he deeply and totally loves the sport, he has never been particularly good at it. What I appreciate about Mr. Odom is his willingness to take as long as is necessary for each individual child. Some kids will go quickly through the levels. Others will take longer. Benny has never been promoted when he didn't deserve it, and has also never been made to feel less than the other children because he takes longer between tests. This is why I was so proud that Mr. Odom felt he was really ready for blue, and even prouder when he told me after the test, "Benny deserved every bit of that." Some schools will put the kids up in groups, or promote them when their friends get promoted. At Norfolk Karate Academy, I know that my kids will be treated as individuals, with patience and dedication to the long term result. That means a lot.
A great night for the fighting Netzers. Here's a link to all the pictures and video from that night. Long may they punch and kick. I have this to say about what karate is doing for my children: After one week in karate, Sadie told me she was done with ballet. She says she's strong, she says she's tough, she quickly learned to count to ten in Korean, and she's working on her first form. She practices constantly, and she *loves* the way karate is making her feel. I'm proud of my girly-girl and her desire to line up her sparkly slippers on the side of the mat and get out there and punch and kick with the boys.