(I think that's a TKD pic but eh, it works)
Big day for Eldest (and for me as a parent, I guess) in the dojo this morning. We'd been sparring and the rotation eventually placed her in front of me. Neither of us go easy just because we're related - as it should be - and I blocked her punch as I would for anyone else. I must have caught a nerve on her inner elbow, unfortunately, because she immediately filled up with tears and accused me of hitting too hard. I knew she was a bit flaky because she was coming down with a cold, but we carried on for a few more exchanges until the tears really started to flow. Sensei spotted it straight away (I swear she has eyes everywhere, I don't know how she does it) and agreed that we should sit out for a bit and catch our breath.
We had a bit of a chat and a drink, and she explained she wasn't sure why she was so upset - it did hurt but she seemed surprised it had taken her so badly. Somehow I pulled a pep talk out of nowhere. I've been right where she is, feeling rotten and on the cusp of teenage hormones, crying for no real reason; and it seems that what I wanted at eight was also what she needed - proof and encouragement that she was strong and brave. We've talked about the quote above a few times this week, and I also reminded her of how difficult she'd found her 8th kyu grading. She cried through a lot of that as it was extremely noisy and unfamiliar, and that's always been something hard for her to cope with. But she sucked it up and I nearly burst with pride. Her courage, actually, is what put my own two feet in the dojo - how could I let "feeling silly" rule me when she could be so strong?
I pointed out that every single person in that dojo has been where she was today - feeling sore and awful and like they're the most rubbish karateka in the world. But every single person still there has worked through it and got better. And so had she, and so would she. Pain and fear will happen in grading and competition bouts regardless. It can be mastered, and she could do it - had already shown she could do it. And just like at grading, I watched her pull all the threads of her shattered composure back together and rebuild herself.
We both levelled up today, I think, regardless of what belts we're wearing. Karate is as much about the heart as the mind and body.
Before I spoiled her day, however, she managed to give one of the adults a good laugh - she was sparring with Simon, who's very tall and has an enormous wingspan. I find him hard work to spar with so quite how an eight year old was managing I don't know. Apparently he struck out for her head and said "Duck!". To which she, quick as anything, replied "Quack!"...and he dissolved into a fit of the giggles. That's one way to disarm your opponent!
In other news I left the dojo doing this in my head:
James Brown, I Got You (I Feel Good), 1965
(and wow, didn't Danny John-Jules model Red Dwarf's Cat on this guy!)
Still no luck with the contact lenses. Went back for a retest this afternoon and I have a fourth set - one eye seems ok at -5.50 but they've had to order in a different strength for the other. I'm really tired of being blurry. If this lot doesn't work I may give in and buy a spare pair of glasses instead.