I was watching some Brian Regan clips on Youtube the other day and he had a funny skit about tackling the "Me Monsters." These are people that just talk about themselves and always try to one-up the other person by telling a better story. This got me to worrying. Am I a "Me Monster?"
I do love to tell stories and I enjoy laughing. This Blog is definitely an outlet for me, but I want to make sure I don't fall victim to becoming a Me Monster. So, now I will periodically break up my nostalgic moments and usual posts by paying tribute to someone of influence in my life. Of course, this will be me telling a story and thus I could still be considered guilty of memonsterism, but what are you going to do? Heidi thinks I should try my luck at writing romantic vampire passages. I don't see what's so hard about it other than the fact that every time I open one of those books I read a paragraph that makes me want to drown myself in Pepto Bismol. Anyways there I go again on a rant.
I now pay tribute to my son Jackson.
Last night I witnessed one of the most amazing things I have ever seen as a father. Allow me to set up the scene. Jackson joined karate this past year and it finally appeared that we had found something he enjoyed. The other sports just weren't as interesting and there was no desire to continue once the season ended. Karate changed all this. You see, since he was really young, Jackson has been obsessed with Star Wars. Karate for him is a way to use his inner-Jedi skills.
Recently, Jackson had grown a little frustrated with having to practice his moves. He advanced to the next belt, and the practices became harder. Along with going over particular punches and kicks, the students are now expected to spar with someone else every other week. Jackson's first clash with sparring did not go well. He wasn't aggressive, in fact, he didn't try to use any of his moves at all.
Last night was to be his second opportunity to spar and Heidi and I were worried that he might get hurt. After all, although the instructors are monitoring the fights, injuries can happen. We tried to cram as much practicing in for Jackson before we left and frankly he was rather annoyed by it. Gavin was having a rough day, so Heidi decided to stay home with him and Camberlyn leaving me to take Jackson to his practice. I helped him get on his gear and I sat down on the front row to watch.
It's actually somewhat frightening for the students because all of the parents are right there in the room as you combat against your opponent. The sparring matches last for 2 minutes and each student is only allowed to punch or kick in their opponent's target zone (between the neck and waist.) They are wearing padded gloves which softens the blows and they are not supposed to hit as hard as they can.
Jackson's first match was with a girl and as soon as it started it was clear that he wasn't really into it. He laughed as did she as they tiptoed around not doing much of anything. By now I was starting to hunch down in my chair trying not to show my frustration. 2 minutes were up and they sat down in the corner. I wanted to be a good and supportive father so I brushed off my embarrassment and waited for the class to be over.
After about 15 minutes, Jackson received another opportunity to fight. This time it was with a boy his own age, but slightly bigger than Jackson. I have to admit, I was a little worried that Jackson might get hurt so I leaned in closer to watch. The instructor had them bow to each other and then to him and the fight began.
Something snapped in Jackson. Suddenly, his eyes changed. He was no longer a 6 year old annoyed by the fact that he was having to do anything structured. He was now a fighting machine. Jackson attacked. The other kid didn't know what to do. Jackson was throwing a flurry of punches and blocking anything the kid could throw at him. Plus Jackson was loud. At the beginning of the sparring practice the instructors, or senseis, explained that they wanted the students to be as loud as they could when they attacked. Jackson seemed to not have any problem with this. In fact (now I'm beginning to brag) Jackson was so aggressive and so in control of the fight that the sensei had to periodically halt the match to give some advice and instruction to the other kid. Finally the whistle was blown and Jackson went and sat down. What the heck just happened? I thought. Maybe it was a fluke, but I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear.
As other students sparred, Jackson and the kid he just whooped up on started talking which is a big no-no in karate. Of course, they were caught and the punishment for this offense, they each had to fight a bigger kid with a much higher degree of belt. Oh no, Jackson was in for it. Both he and his friend were brought out to the middle of the room and Sensei Mom, the main instructor gave them their opponent. Jackson's was a blue belted 10 year old at least a foot taller than him. I had seen this kid spar earlier and he was a little rough. I braced myself for the worst as the kid glanced down at Jackson and smirked. They bowed and Sensei Mom started the fight.
Holy crap! Jackson attacked! He attacked so aggressively that he pushed this kid back into the stands where we were sitting. By now everyone in the crowd was laughing at what they were seeing. Jackson is by far the smallest kid out there and he was not backing down. He was loud and his moves were actually good. He even threw in a couple of kicks and was able to block some of this other, more seasoned student's attacks. Eventually, the older kid realized how much bigger he was and was able to fight back, but it didn't matter. Jackson would not be pushed around.
Usually, after these fights that involved teaching the younger kids a lesson to not talk, the instructor would say something like "See, this is what happens when you break a rule. You don't want to fight these bigger kids anymore do you?" Which is exactly what Sensei Mom said to the other kid after he was done getting worked over. To Jackson however, she said, "You stepped up to the challenge!" She actually gave Jackson some more tips on how to more effectively beat his opponent.
After he sat down I was starting to glance around at everyone else to make sure I was actually seeing this. Everyone was smiling and shaking their heads in disbelief. Jackson was in the zone. He didn't want to go home right away when his practice was technically over. He wanted to stay as the older kids continued their sparring. Why not, I thought.
Finally, as it grew closer to 8 o'clock, I told the senseis that I needed to take him home. It was a school night after all. They asked me if he could fight one more time. I agreed and the instructor asked the class which kid wanted to fight Jackson. A whole slew of hands went up from older boys that wanted to fight him. An 8 year old was selected, also at least a foot taller than Jackson.
The result: Jackson literally dismantled the kid. In fact, I don't think the other kid threw a punch. His parents were yelling at him to block himself and to fight back, but Jackson was just too doggone loud and too doggone quick. By now I was laughing at how absurd this was. I was not expecting this at all. After the fight the instructor told the older kid that he needed to be better at blocking and that he shouldn't be backing away from someone as small as Jackson.
"You need to punch back," the sensei said.
"I would've, but he wouldn't stop punching for one second," the kid said, clearly frustrated with his defeat.
I kept a low profile as I walked my son out of the building, I didn't want to come across as someone who boasts (which is exactly what I'm doing now.) On the way to the car, I leaned down and hugged Jackson and told him how awesome he was. He told me that next time he wanted to fight a black belt. I then said, "You're getting ice cream."