The big effort

Seeing anyone punch above their weight is a thrilling experience. Seeing my middle son do it made it special for me.

He started kendo almost a year ago and has been growing into it ever since. He’s the smallest of anyone in the group but doesn’t let his height affect his approach one bit. He goes at it with great determination and effort when his turn comes around and jokes, laughs, and chats when it’s not. This hard working clown is growing on the sensei I think.

The sensei asked if anyone wanted to take the 100 challenge. A single voice shouted “hai”. It wasn’t until later that I found out that the challenger was my son. Being the shortest in the group, he always sits last in line and is the last one to perform any drill. It was with surprise that I saw him walk up to sensei and the sensei to give him a big grin, a “ganbatte” and my son started swinging away. 1, 2, 3, 4… and he just kept going. Passing 10, my slow brain finally came to realize he had been the one to go for the 100 hit challenge. He just kept swinging the bamboo sword.

As he approached 50 I could see the attention waning and arms tiring. Still, he stayed as focused as he could and kept on swinging.

As he neared 70, then 80 the cheers from his fellow students grew and with a renewed effort he pushed through to 90, 95, 99, and, after a slight pause, 100.

Man, my heart grew a few sizes.

I thought he would be exhausted, but with a spring in his step he bolted back to the end of the line and way ahead of my expectations.