If you'd asked me last November if I thought I could qualify for the national karate team I would probably have laughed. But you train and you train and you train, and you listen to the ones who know a lot more than you do (Master John and Sensei Danny get special mentions here) and what do you know, there you are.

Eldest entered in one division, and I entered in four. We qualified for Team Canada in all five divisions (which was what I hoped we'd managed to do, but what's more I ended up winning silver in three divisions yay me). We're pretty pumped, and starting to enthuse about the planning of the trip to Ireland in the fall for Worlds. (Planning the trip is at least half the fun.) But there is more than that. Than being pumped, I mean.

There is also the inspiration to train harder and get better. I'm pretty happy with how we performed this weekend, but now we have bigger goals: Not only to make it to the Worlds, but to do well there. That's a whole new level of intensity, training-wise and we're keen to get started. And then there's the other two kids and my husband who are now inspired to try competing. And why not? I find that pushing myself to get on that mat and perform a kata in front of judges, and get on that other mat and get into fights with pretty tough opponents is making me tougher, stronger and a whole lot less scared to do other things, like finally get around to publishing that novel, about which I'd been a notorious chicken for years.

It's all very cool. Now I have to pass my test for third-degree black belt this weekend, and go through another test weekend after that with the brown belts going for black and first-degree black belts going for second degree. One quote I saw recently, about the black belt test, was that the journey was the reward. This may be true about many things one does in life, but it's certainly true for martial arts. And the further along I am on that journey, the more I'm enjoying the trip.