The karate club Gusuku (training camp) took place on Friday night. The children were expected to be at the Dojo at 6:30 pm, as training would commence at 7:00 pm. They would train until 9:00 pm and then spend the night. Training would once again resume at 6:00 am the following morning (Saturday), when they would train for most of the day, after which grading would take place.
I was a bit uneasy, as I was not sure if my kids had the stamina to endure such a rigorous schedule. They are usually grumpy when they get up at 6:45 each morning and that's after getting to bed at 8:00 the previous night.
We decided that Nuha (6) would not sleep over, as she often wakes up at night crying hysterically. She even walks about the house crying and then has no recollection of it upon waking the following morning. So she was definitely not a candidate for a sleepover. We were to fetch her after 9:00 pm and get her back to the dojo for training by 5:45 the following morning. I had no idea how we would accomplish that.
But those plans flew out the window the moment she stepped into the little room in which the girls would be sleeping on Friday evening. All the girls greeted each other with so much excitement and enthusiasm. She had been there for about 5 minutes, when she came to me and said that she was having the best time of her life and then demanded to be allowed to sleep over. Despite my warnings and reminders of her unusual nighttime tendencies, she eventually got her way.
As we greeted them Friday night, I felt a bit teary. I was about to give each one an emotional speech, telling them just how much I would be missing them and thinking about them, when I was interrupted by a loud piercing shriek. Hubby had greeted the girls and had just taken Aisha's (2 yrs) hand to leave, when she realised for the first time that she would not continue to be part of all this excitement for much longer.
She kicked and screamed and shrieked, as I felt my face getting hotter and hotter, while trying to pretend that I was not one bit phased by her embarrassing outburst. It was only when I pretended to have spotted a cat running down the stairs, that she calmed down and decided to join me in tracking down this imaginary cat. Fortunately, a second outburst was averted by the appearance of a little dog.
"There, we found the cat!" I said, making a mental note to show her some pictures of cats when we got home in order to undo this terrible miseducation.
The following morning (Saturday), hubby popped in at the dojo at about 7:00. He found the kids already busy training hard, looking exhausted but happy. He was amused to see a fatigued Shakeel lifting his leg using his hands in order to do a kick. Upon hearing this, I panicked (what's new?) at the thought of my babies being tortured for the rest of day.
We met up with them later at Milnerton beach where they continued their training, looking rather impressive, I might add. Onlookers came closer, taking pictures and occasionally chatting to the children. A very kind gentleman approached cute little five-year old Jacob.
"How old are you?" he asked the little boy.
"Five years old," replied Jacob.
"And how long have you been doing karate?" asked the man.
"Fifteen years," the boy answered proudly.
Another Afrikaans girl of about three years old stared at the spectacle, open-mouthed. Upon spotting her mother approaching, she excitedly squealed, "Kyk Mammie. Kyk die ninja's!" (Look Mommy. See the ninjas!).
To which her mother replied, "Nee, dis nie ninja's nie. Dis moslems wat besig is om karate te doen". (No, it's not ninjas. They're moslems doing karate"). So hilarious. And so inaccurate.
Hubby and I then left for home, and returned to fetch them back at the dojo just as they were awarded their certificates and stripes.
Despite their sheer exhaustion, they continued to burst with unbridled joy. We heard about how exciting their night had been, how Nuha had not woken up at all during the night (thank goodness!), how they had run single-file down our road and performed their workout right there in public, and their kata's in full view of all motorists on the Koeberg Interchange.
I was so pleased for the kids, but I was also really happy that the event had succeeded as a fundraising opportunity for the struggling club. The amazing sensei, whom I'm told doesn't even get paid for his efforts due to lack of funds, relies on events such as these to cover club expenses. The problems are exacerbated over the holiday period when students stay away (and hence do not pay fees), making it very difficult for the club to cover rental for this period.
I am so grateful to the sensei and the seniors who made this event so special and joyful for the kids.
|The girls enjoying a well-deserved break (with a majestic Table Mountain in the background)|
|Shakeel training with one of the sempai's. He often seemed to be ignoring techniques taught in class, preferring to use those seen on Dragonball Z|