Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Intangible Rewards

I gave Jimmy and Matthew my tournament medals to look at yesterday. Kids like looking at those things. A bunch of small boys gathered 'round to admire them.

I like them better than trophies, since they're smaller and don't take up so much space. And I like having the trophies as a reminder that, on that day, at that place, I did (what the judges thought was) the best form!

Still, there are some things that happened at the tournament that made me happier, things that were intangible.

Some of the other Senior Women Colored Belts talked about this--about how they loved being at the tourney with their children, or how they loved keeping on with TKD when their children were "taking a break." Laura talked about how she brings up competition to her students, and emphasizes the rewards of working toward your best. Lauri said that the tournament gave her encouragement at a time when she was feeling discouraged.

Like them, I found intangible rewards to be more meaningful to me even than the medals. Hanging out with a bunch of martial arts women, for one, was a wonderful reward, as was spending the day with Justin, who is great company.

A few words from some of the black belts were very memorable and meaningful. After sparring, one of the black belts who shook my hand said to me "nice control." That meant a lot to me, especially knowing that not everyone seemed to use good control.

And later, I ran into the the head black belt who'd run the rules meeting. I remembered him from the earlier tournament when he'd been the judge in my division.

I don't know how it came up, but he noted that I had gotten a gold medal in forms and had done my form in front of the whole crowd. That he'd noticed--and remembered--meant a lot.

I'm not sure why those things meant so much to me. I think it's because people are recognizing me as a martial artist. I guess I'm becoming a martial artist. I'm no longer a beginner.

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