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A month full of Jion…

14 May

Three times a year, at Jion, the karate school that my kids attend, there is a grading. A grading allows a child to get his next karate belt if his Sensei (teacher) thinks that he is ready to grade.

Before sending your child off to grading though, they have to go through what is called a’ mock grading’ – which is almost like the idea of a ‘staged combat’. In the Middle Ages, the jousting games were also referred to as ‘mock fights’. So there you have it, a piece of not-so-useful information to drop at your next dinner party. A mock grading is therefore like a dress rehearsal before the premiere of a theatrical play. Stress levels are on a rise and performing at your best is important if you wish to prove to your Sensei that you are in fact ready to go to the real grading.

A few weeks before the mock grading, in our house, we live through a lot of karate moments. Over and above their twice a week karate lessons, there are moments of practicing their kata (organised moves that represent a fake fight), moments of staged fights with dad, teaching and teasing each other and of course a lot of hope and expectations to get the ‘Oss’ signal from their Sensei.

Between the mock grading and the actual grading, there are usually only 5 days (from the Saturday to the Thursday). However, the first grading for this year happened to be over some public holidays which meant that between mock and grading, we had almost 2 weeks. Two weeks over which a lot of bargaining and rewarding could – and did – happen.

‘Mmmh no, you can’t play on the iPad until you practised your karate.’

‘Ooh I don’t think you should behave like this. A genuine karate-kid should know better. Maybe you aren’t ready to grade to green belt… ‘

Aaaah, happy days these were…

These days of easy bargaining came to an end  beginning of May when the kids from Jion that were ready to grade, graded.

Léa and Killian graded to, respectively orange and green belt and Matty got 2 stripes on his white belt. Not yet ready to grade to yellow, his grading stopped at the mock grading. It’s always a positive life lesson when hard work is rewarded with the coveted result and for that day at least, their world remained a just, fair and fun world. Long may it last…

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More than ever before I am convinced of the right choice of sport for all my children. Whether they are competitive, perfectionist, low-confident or just floppy, the values of discipline, respect for each other, hard work, healthy body development and a fun Sensei really build them up and make for a holistic approach to what is good for them.

And the best part is that they love it!!

If you’re interested in finding out more about karate in Cape Town, you can contact Sensei Dirk by going to the website

I promise I don’t have share in the business!! 🙂

Djokovic vs the rest of the world

25 Jan

Getting married meant – apart from other things –  that I would have to take an interest in various sports. I mean, WATCHING various sports. Being french, soccer would be the obvious choice but living in South Africa, my boer husband is more into rugby. So I had to compromise; so I chose neither. I don’t like watching team sport. I can never remember their names and the colours all look the same so I’m never too sure whether I cheer for the right team or stupidly rooting for the Australians. Blergh.

I do enjoy supporting single players though. Take tennis. I love watching tennis.

Back in the day, I watched Roland Garros. Religiously. As if my life depended on it. It sort of did, considering that for froggies like me, Roland Garros is aka exam time. It is a great way to take a 4 hour break after 20 minutes of hard studying. Don’t judge.

Now, I can safely say that I watch tennis for the luuuve of the game. Over the years, I took great interest in some players. Some more than others.

Federer. Roger is nice. He’s a bit of a super human though. He hardly sweats. He doesn’t get angry. He barely gets thirsty. He dresses better than a Yves Saint Laurent’s fan (that’s no achievement – apologies to all my fashion victim friends) and looks better after a 5 hour match than I do after a 2 hour pamper time! I can’t relate.

Nadal. I’m treading on thin ice here so I’m going to watch my words to avoid any conjugal dispute: Rafaël is Spanish. Apart from paëlla and a lot of ¨, what good has ever come out of Spain? Plus his left arm freaks me out. Can’t his trainer help him with that? Shouldn’t someone give him some dumbbells.  I was ready to give him a chance considering his boyhish charm but his embarrassing video with Shakira ruined it for me. Cringe. I feel for him.

Murray. Oh puuuu- leaze. Don’t make me waste cyber space writing about Murray. Sorry England.

Djokovic. Ah, Djoko. Now that’s someone worth talking about. Let me educate you about Novak.

#1. He comes from Serbia. Serbian people have suffered enough. They deserve Djoko.

#2. Look at his blue eyes. Don’t these blue eyes say ‘Give me a racket?’. He was born to play.

#3. His great personality earned him the portmanteau of Djoker. He does impersonations of other players who, of course, are all his friends (they all want to be him obviously) and he dances – gangnam style. He’s got personality  and ‘personality’, in the words of Samuel L Jackson, ‘goes a long way’.

#4. These crazy australians (no offence australian friends, you aren’t as crazy as the french), somehow, think it’s a good idea to have these guys play at, like, 1am. No jokes. 1am. You know what I like to do at 1am? Let me tell you what I DON”T like to do at 1am: playing tennis. Djoko, he not only plays tennis but he also signs dozen of autographs at the end of the match. If one day, I become famous (for, I don’t know, writing stupid blog posts), I won’t be signing autographs at 1 am. Do not even ask.

#5. Finally,

I mean, isn’t this raw animal energy? How can you not be on his team?!

Sunday, the Australian Open final is on. Djoko, do not disappoint me. Otherwise I’ll have to delete this post that took precious time out of my busy homeschooling time.

(No Education Department, it didn’t…)

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