An exhausting and rewarding weekend

Youngest (in white) with her best bud before their fights. Thanks t Krissy Sakamoto for the picture.

Youngest (in white) with her best bud before their fights. Thanks to Krissy Sakamoto for the picture.

Well that was a long weekend in Mississauga, and in some respects a challenging one as well. Eldest competed very hard and got better marks than usual on her forms, but did not place (she came sixth out of about a dozen). She also did not place in sparring, despite working as hard as she could. We also tried team synchro kata together (in the adult black belt division) and came out dead last but I was happy because we’ve only started working on that together last month. I considered that division something fun to try together; sure, you always do your best and hope to place but realistically this wasn’t something I thought we could win on our first try after only a month of practice. Eldest took it hard though, and when you add it to the rest of her day she had a moment at the end where she asked me why I agreed to let her do competition.

Well. First, I said, you’re exhausted, hungry and thirsty. Actually, first I hugged her and told her she was much better than she realized. That didn’t seem to help much so I said let’s get changed and go stuff some greasy hot foot into our gobs and we’ll talk after.

We did. Mostly it came down to this: Nobody is born a champion. All the people you see winning tournaments (or anything else that’s competitive) started out small and grew. Some had easier paths than others, maybe. Although I doubt it; I believe we all have to face down our worst fears, and that to us our worst fears are pretty dreadful, even if to other people they appear differently. Her path is crowded with wonderfully trained and experienced athletes, including kids who are physically much bigger than her, and so yes, it’s going to be difficult to learn to win sparring matches against them. Not impossible, mind you. Just difficult. And, I told her, there’s only one way to do it: It’s to keep training and keep fighting and keep looking for ways to get better. And there’s only one way to fail: it’s to give up. If you give up you’ll never win. And that’s kind of rotten.

She had a good night sleep and is now feeling a lot better about it. Plus now we’re thinking of adding a little training session to our week – just me and her sparring. Some of the girls she’s up against are nearly as tall as I am, so if she learns to deal with me she’ll do better against them. We’ll also continue to work our forms and just basically keep at it because if there’s one thing we are gold-medal good at, it’s being stubborn.

So that’s for Eldest. Middle Daughter also fought yesterday, her second tournament (but first one since moving up to the advanced division). She lost her first fight 5-1 then got to fight for third place. She lost that one 5-4 and came home with a fourth place. She was quite pleased with herself. I was beaming with pride. Meanwhile, Youngest, who is still a beginner, lost her fight and didn’t get to go again, which she found difficult (especially after waiting very patiently for 2 and a half hours for her division to start – her fight was over in less than two minutes, that’s tough for a 6-year-old to take), and she was also sad not to get any medal. I told her only the kids who place get medals (which is something I approve of; I *hate* participation medals), and that she gets to try again next time. She cried a bit for a few minutes and threw down her pads but that didn’t help since she had to pick them right back up because mama doesn’t do tantrums. Five minutes later she was her old self again. One big lesson learned.

Me, I got silver in forms. I won my first fight (I believe 6-0 or 7-0) and lost my second (12-10, if memory serves) and got silver in point sparring too. My second fight was against a woman I’d fought four times before this year. She’s a rightie (fights with her right side in front) and I typically tend to have more trouble with righties for some weird reason. I used to find her very difficult to spar, but now things are more even. Black belts need to win by two points and our last three fights went over time. That’s progress I can live with and build on.

It was a long day and tiring weekend, but the lessons and experience (plus bling) are well worth it.

Back to training tomorrow.


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Back on the road we go, somewhat less stressed-out this time

Funny what a little world championship does to one’s stress levels. We’re headed back to Mississauga tomorrow to compete in the Toronto Tournament of Champions (come see us!) and we’re excited of course but somehow less nervous than we used to be. Maybe it’s due to having competed at Worlds, or maybe I’ve been so darn busy with work lately that I haven’t had a chance to let that tournament sink in and it’ll hit me when I get there tomorrow.

We’ll see.

This time, though, things are a bit different. Eldest is competing in the traditional challenge (forms) as well as her regular traditional forms and point sparring divisions. She’s also competing with me in team traditional forms (synchro) – our first time doing a kata together at a tournament. We’ve been working on our synchro for a while now so I hope it looks decent enough. And it’s good for her because since I’m her partner she has to compete with adult black belts (obviously I’m not allowed to compete with underbelts and/or kids). So yay confidence boost.

Another difference this time: Both Middle Daughter and Youngest are competing. Neither wants to do forms at this point (we haven’t had a chance to polish anything, being so busy with Eldest’s kata) so they’re only doing point sparring. Middle Daughter in the 7-8 Advanced and Youngest in the 6 and under Beginners. Which is quite possibly the cutest division around (usually the pads are bigger than the kids, and it’s just adorable to see them go at each other with all they’ve got). Youngest just started sparring a month ago – she’s mostly done drills and maybe 2 fights, but she has no confidence issues and she’s going to go in there assuming she can win. It’ll be a treat to see.


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On negativity, and the desire to change others

I’ve been on a cleaning spree lately. An electronic one. I’ve been getting rid of news feeds and other sources of information that I find bring me nothing but negativity. That means, in part, either unfriending or muting people on social media whose feeds are overwhelmingly political. And the reason I’m cleaning up like this is 1) for my own sanity and happiness, because politics at the social-media level is profoundly depressing, and 2) because I am done taking seriously those who only want to change others.

I don’t care who’s right and who’s wrong on any particular topic. I care about all of us trying to be less stupid today than we were yesterday. And we can’t do that by focusing on what morons the other guys are. We can only improve ourselves by… improving ourselves. So while it is fine to have opinions on public policy matters, it’s not fine to focus exclusively on denigrating those who have different opinions. Because that leads nowhere good.

If you want to live in a better world, start by being a better person.


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Age, quirks, and them goldurn carbs

It was my birthday recently. I turned 46, and I’m a bit sad. I did enjoy 45; it was a good year, and for some reason 46 scares me a bit. Feels older somehow. More tired. And sure enough, I’ve had a heck of a time this past week – feeling tired, weak, sickly, relatively uninspired…. feeling old…

Oh, I know. There are good reasons for that. One: I’ve been fighting this stupid little bug that’s been going around. I’ve mostly won, but my victory came at the cost of fatigue. It’s also November and November is a month during which I typically have an overwhelming desire to just go hide somewhere and hibernate. And of course now that Worlds is behind us, there’s a bit of let-down. The adrenaline is back to less crazy levels and that, too, comes with a certain sense of fatigue and exhaustion. So yeah. Maybe it’s not turning 46 that’s making me feel old. Maybe it’s the last few weeks. And who knows, my sore back and shoulders could be fixed with a new pillow (ah yes, your 40s is the decade when pillows start to matter, the joy of it all I tell you).

I shall go shopping for a new one. Because that’s a potentially easy fix. Another thing I’m now determined to do, as a birthday gift to me, is lose a few pounds. I don’t have a weight problem; I’m 5’6(ish) and 130lbs, which is exactly where I was in my early 30s, before having kids. I fit into my pre-motherhood clothes no problem. But I’m looking at menopause (that b*tch is uncomfortably close) and the weight gain that typically comes with it, and I don’t want it. I also want to be leaner than I’ve been since I got married. Not by a huge amount; somewhere between 5 and 10 lbs should do the trick. But I really want it off. I’m done making babies, I don’t need – and certainly don’t want – the extra cushion fertility seems to require. But age now makes a difference. Because I’ve been trying to lose that 5-10 lbs for a few months now and it’s not easy. I really don’t eat very much, I eat freakishly clean, I sleep enough (most nights), I exercise plenty, I don’t do drugs, I only drink a little bit – I’m doing everything right and yet, and yet.

My one big weakness is carbs. Love em. But now I’m down to getting drastic with myself about that. I’m naturally drawn to carbs. There is no better treat in my book than a chunk of fresh organic baguette with a huge mass of organic butter on it. I could live on nothing but that. Except of course my body doesn’t want to process it as well as it used to, gosh darn it. Which means I reluctantly have to give up grains and carbs generally – except maybe for a treat on cheat days. Fortunately I like fats and proteins, so meat, eggs and cheese it is, along with plenty of greefy leans. (Of course it’s a word; I made it up myself.)

Will try that for a week or two and see what that takes me. Wish me luck.


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A small gesture of thanks

To mark Remembrance Day we are pleased to offer a complimentary copy of our latest documentary, True Strong and Free, to veterans, active military/police/first responder and their families.

Simply follow the link to claim yours. And thank you for your service.


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