This blog post is dedicated to a great martial artist and even greater friend, Michael Cope: That's it! One more sleep until we fly to the Magical Isle of Éire! (Sorry, French roots showing.) I think I probably need another six months to get ready, but apparently the gods of WKC glory ain't willing to give them to me.

So. We're about to leave. And it's Thursday, so of course it's a perfect day to bring back old pictures. Because hey.

This one was taken the day, sometime back in 2002, I graded for my green belt. In the old Westboro dojo of Sensei Domenic and Sensei Fortunato Aversa. The old grubby dojo that was small and, well, you know. The old place.

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I had just started karate a few months before, in August 2001. After much nagging from the husband unit, who'd already been doing it for a little while and was, I believe, a green belt. I didn't think I'd like it. I was a runner, a loner who really didn't think group exercise was anything remotely fun, and besides I didn't do pushups.

Well. What I especially like about karate is that it very much challenges and engages your mind. It's not just like pushing on a machine. It very much requires you to pay attention to what you're doing and to be in the moment. Which is something this legendarily impatient little bee could use a lot more of.

I never stopped doing karate. I did it through three pregnancies (all the way to the end, and back at it within days of giving birth), through job changes, through the challenges that come with making three babies inside of four years, through everything. Except for being married, which dates back to March 2001, I've never done anything for so long in my life. And of course I can't imagine my life without karate now.

Oh, and as to the friends I've made during those years, few can rival the always cheerful, always helpful Mike Cope, seen here doing a great job as a uke for Wendy on that same grading day back in 2002. Thanks for everything, partner. Never stop being yourself.

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