On Wednesday night my middle boy tried out Karate. He was excited at the prospect until we got there. Then he clung to the wall and wouldn’t go in.
‘I’m nervous, Mum, I’m nervous.’
He wasn’t alone but I pretended I was cool.
‘Come on, matey. It’s your first time, it’s okay to be nervous.’
He stayed put. One of the dads took pity on us. He introduced himself and his daughter, and managed to do what I couldn’t, got him into the room.
My middle son has things to contend with. He has ADD, which means he wants to know everything right now. He has a developmental delay, which as he becomes older is becoming less apparent, but his gross motor skills aren’t what they could be. And he has a hearing deficit. Loud noises hurt and the more personal stuff gets missed because his low frequency hearing is terrible. I will never forget the day he got his first hearing aids. The audiologist switched them on, my middle boy’s eyes flew open, he chucked his arms out wide and said, ‘I love you, Mum!’
Not that he worries about any of that. He gets on. I’m the one who worries.
So I sat with the other parents and watched my middle boy try to keep up. It would have have been difficult. It seemed as though the second he understood a movement they’d change to the next one. I felt sorry for him. I was prepared to leave the minute he wanted to.
Break time. I held out his water bottle.
‘I can’t wait to have a suit, Mum!’ He took a sip, ‘I’m a fast learner.’
Back into it he tackled sit ups, push ups and star jumps. He learned punches and kicks, he counted to ten in Japanese. The next drinks break, sweaty and stretched, he said, ‘I’m going to learn this for years.’
Sold and sold.
Karate is about method, practice and discipline, following the rules. My middle boy likes rules. And it wasn’t lost on him that you don’t have to be the quickest or the biggest or the strongest to learn Karate.
I was learning, too. I took notes. I wrote down some of the things Kancho Robert said and some ideas for the novel. I wondered if the main character might take up Karate and I wondered if I might. And I wondered about Karate Parenting because Kancho Robert sure had those kids working for him.
Practice, practice, practice.
Technique, technique, technique.
And capturing everyone’s imagination, including mine, Get this Kata down and you can punch me as hard as you like.
My middle son sees things in certain people, something he likes, he adopts people and they don’t have to be holding a big packet of Fantales. He saw something in Kancho Robert.
On the way back to the car:
‘I’m going to learn it forever, Mum.’
And, ‘Thank you, Mum.’
Plus: ‘Kancho Robert is in there, Mum,’ pointing in the direction of the still lit hall.
‘Yeah, honey. Packing up, I suppose.’
He ran over, had a look, skipped back, ‘he’s still there, Mum!’
Walking up our driveway he said, ‘I have two people for inspiration now, Mum. You for my writing, and Kancho Robert.’
We are karate. And for the purposes of the blog he will no longer be called middle son.
What a night. What a kid. Thank you, Karate Boy.