Aiden's karate school had an in-school tournament, so we decided to let Aiden try his hand at showing his skills before the judges. We figured the in-school tournament would be a good introduction to the concept, since the judges are familiar faces and there are only about 150 competitors, versus the 750 they are expecting at the upcoming regional tournament!
Aiden has been so excited about this tournament, especially once he heard that they were going to be handing out medals to the participants! All he could talk about was getting his first karate medal. But when we walked into the gymnasium, with crowds of people, loud music, and the competition team showing off their skills with a variety of weapons, Aiden took one look around, yelled "No way!" and ran out the door. I chased him down and managed to calm him down enough that I could pick him up and carry him back into the gym. I kept trying to help him through his fears and talk him through the event, but every chance he got, he'd hightail it for the door.
When they called his name to come forward and compete, he ran straight for the door, crying and screaming. Finally, a woman who was a karate instructor came over and began to talk to him. Brad and I aren't sure what she said to him, but whatever it was, it worked! He walked to the ring with her and then sat on her lap while he waited his turn to perform his forms. When his turn came, the judge asked if he needed help or could do it on his own, and Aiden said he wanted to do it by himself. He bowed, executed a perfect form, and then ran back to his new found friend's lap. He then made it through his "one steps" and even made it through his weapons form, slinging his nunchucks like a pro. Mommy and daddy stood nearby and cheered wildly, and Aunt Cathy and Uncle Wayne watched and cheered from the bleachers. When it was all said and done, Aiden received his medal and beamed with pride.
Mommy and daddy were so proud of him, too--despite his gut-wrenching fear of crowds and noise, he made it through, completed his forms, and even did a great job along the way. We promptly took our brave little guy out for ice cream to celebrate his his newest accomplishment. Now Aiden can't wait for school on Monday--he's dying to wear his medal to show off to all of his friends.