Just a week after my eldest daughter earned her yellow belt, she fought her first match. If you ask me, I can vividly remember the blue mats placed on the floor, the dimensions of the gym and yes- the expectant parents on one side of the gym. The parents came in full force, complete with huge ice boxes filled with all kinds of drinks. No, they were not hawking, these were simply provisions for their own children players. I was with Joseph and a friend- and we simply have a few Gatorade with us!
To say I was shocked with earlier matches I witnessed was an understatement. I saw how a red belter kid smothered his opponent, hitting him in the face. I thought, no, I could not handle this and watch my kid smothered the same way! So when it came for Danielle’s match, I literally half opened my eyes to watch the match. My daughter’s opponent was bigger, taller and stronger. I winced as I watch how Danielle tried her best to return high kicks, side kicks and fight! It was painful to watch and nerve-wracking! She lost but she was a true sport. I told her it’s ok, there will always be another fight. At least she did her best. Amazingly, she smiled back at me and said ‘it’s ok Mommy!’…
Then there was the Poomsae competition. She placed third. Then the other day, we went to her second fight match. This time, she is a blue belter. She lost too. The opponent was also bigger, taller and stronger. She complained why she does not get to fight with someone who is not taller and bigger (or stronger). I told her it’s ok. Halfway through the match, she was crying. I gave her an ‘ok’ sign and shouted that it’s ok. Just go on. She finished the match crying and losing. Her chin was painful because she was hit twice in the chin.
After the drama, I told her that even those black-belters lost many matches during their novice days before they began winning. I think this comforted her. I asked her if she still wants to continue with Taekwondo. She said yes. Then I told her a secret formula- “Ate Danielle, you will still lose more fights before you win. Let’s say, you still have to lose 8 more matches before winning, would that be OK?” I think she’s Ok with our ‘formula’. She replied, “It’s ok Mommy… So, I need to lose 8 more fights?” I said, “yes—but it might be more than that. So, are you still game?”… She nodded. And we walked away, Danielle grabbing my arm.