Karate Chop

Spent the weekend in Fishkill, New York (about 2 hours north of NYC) for Ben’s black belt weekend. He’s been studying  Taekwondo for three years and this was the culmination. He loves it and has made some amazing progress over the years. Third grade may be a bit young to be a black belt but even at that age it takes a lot of dedication and perseverance to get to this level. I’m proud of him. And it’s nice to know your 8 1/2 year-old son can break a concrete brick — this was the final test of yesterday morning’s promotion.

Though it feels like an awfully long time ago, I used to train in martial arts. When I was in high school I studied GoJu, a Japanese form of karate http://www.usagoju.com/. I earned my black belt and studied under an amazing sensei (Japanese for instructor, if you never saw “Karate Kid”). So watching Ben’s black belt test brought back lots of memories.

The only problem with the weekend was that there was very little for parents to do. The retreat was held at a place called Camp Mariah. And, yes, it’s named for Mariah Carey who evidently gave a bunch of money to have it built. It’s part of a large complex of summer camps that serve, among other things, as the destination for the Fresh Air Fund which allows urban kids to have an outdoor summer experience. [If I knew any of her songs, I’d insert a Mariah Carey lyric here.]

The food was lousy, the accommodations spartan at best, and Bryna owes me big time. Which I will be milking indefinitely. Fortunately one of Ben’s best friends was also up there and his father and I hung out a lot. We even avoided the chow hall completely on Saturday night and went out for BBQ. Hey, what else would men eat when abandoned by their wives? Plus Bryna was at his wife’s house that night dining on pasta carbonara. It beat the previous night’s freezer burned pasta shells in the cafeteria.

In the end it was all worth it. Ben did a great job and I come across like a martyr. Perfect.


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