As most of you know, Chase takes karate lessons. You may NOT know that he is a purple belt (next is brown, then black), so he is an advanced student. That is impressive, but it really means he gets to be in the teenaged class where there are a LOT of 16-18-yr-old black belts and he gets beaten up a lot. It's not nearly as much fun as it used to be, according to Chase. There are two big karate tournaments here in Vegas every year. They are both on Easter weekend every year. The Jr. Olympics are on Friday and then the US Open is on Sat and Sun. Because we are Christians, Chase has only participated in the Friday tournament, which, frankly, is fine with him. Last year, he got gold in kumite (fighting) and bronze in kata (a choreographed simulated fight). This year, he moved up a division...and he still got bronze in kata but got fourth in kumite. He was fairly disappointed, because with his long arms and long legs, his strength is really in kumite, not kata. Regardless, we were very proud of our boy. 30+ countries were represented in the tournament this weekend, and it's a real achievement to get third and fourth in your age bracket!
But now, he has decided he wants to take a break from karate. It was an agonizing decision for him, and for us to let him make. He has gone to karate three (and during tournament season, four) times a week for nearly two years. He has gone from white, to red, to yellow, to orange, to green to blue stripe to blue to purple belt. He has learned a lot of katas, a lot about fighting and about discipline and he has made some good friends. But, over the past few months, I have seen his interest wane. Once he graduated into the older and more advanced class, he just didn't like getting his teeth knocked out EVERY week, three times a week, by the older kids. And I totally understand that, but it's hard to see him stop (I can't say quit because my kid is not a quitter) so close to a black belt. I really hope he will take it back up again because his Sensai is amazing and these classes have been so good for him. But, one of the benefits of growing up is you get to decide what activities you participate in and which ones you would just rather not. Chase is a great kid, and he has put his all into karate. It's time for him to branch out a little more and put his all into something else for awhile. It's going to be weird not to head to karate every Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights at 7, though. And I'm going to miss the friends I have made sitting in that room for 90 minutes three times a week. So maybe I should take up karate, right? Yeah, fat chance. I have seen what they do to my kid - I ain't lettin those teenagers beat me up!!
So, it's the end of an era. But, Chase won't be sitting at home twiddling his thumbs now that he's done with karate. He is on his school soccer team and they practice nearly every afternoon, unless they have a game. It's a quick season (5 weeks, 8 games), but it's a LOT of practice. And he is really looking forward to playing tackle (gulp) football at school in the Fall. And this summer, he is going to volunteer at VBS at our church for a week in early June, go camping in Utah with Divine Hubby and some good Colorado friends in late June, then head to Wisconsin for a two-week camp in mid-July, followed by his annual week-long trip to see my parents on the East Coast in early August. So, I'm not sure he will miss karate much until, oh, say, Christmas. He's always been a man on the move.
Like I always say...if you name your kid an action verb, you get what you deserve. I sure love my little action verb. Wouldn't have him any other way!