I love my Zane. He is a bundle of joy and fun and frustration. He doesn’t have a hustle bone in his body, he doesn’t understand the concept of hurry. He wants to play and chat and have fun and tell jokes and get to know you and spend time with you and invite everyone round for a playdate. Like I said, joy and frustration. Frustration only because we do live in a world that has schedules and clocks and you do have to focus in class to be able to learn, but his love of people and sharing are a great joy.
Karate is hard. It’s fun, it’s invigorating, it’s exciting. It’s also tough and it requires focus and sharpness. It’s not a natural sport for a laid back, chilled out boy. Zane loves karate. He knows the stuff – his self-defenses, his katas, the Japanese. He takes his time with it all and that’s good, but it can also be a hindrance because speed is important too. He’s also not particularly competitive and isn’t upset when others pass him on their way to higher belts.
Then there are the stances. Stances are the things that Zane gets dinged for most of the time. He has trouble doing deep stances consistently. He knows how to do them, but when he’s in the middle of a kata, he sometimes forgets or gets distracted.
He really wants to get to his next belt and prays every night that God will help him to get there. He’s also working on practicing his stances. While we were at the Oregon coast recently, he was constantly jumping into his horse stance when I took his photo. Jude did some stances too, but he did lots of different stances and even made up some of his own. Zane was focused on that horse stance which is featured prominently in one of the yellow belt katas.
It’s hard to see your children struggle, to not rise to the top and shine brilliantly, but it is a deep joy to see them dig deep and persist and practice and do their best. It’s hard to struggle yourself, to feel like you’re not sure if you can do what needs to be done, to forget the things you’ve learned in a fog a weariness and sweat and self-doubt. For our whole family, karate has been about so much more than working out or learning cool moves. I don’t know when any of us will get our blue belts, but when we do, I will know how much was involved in getting there – especially for my laid back Zane.