Speaking of belts, our family spent Saturday in a karate tournament in Houston. It was my daughter's first year to compete, and it was the second year for the rest of us. With half my brain tied behind my back, I did one of my favorite black belt forms in the kata competition. It went over like a lead balloon (probably because that's what I looked like in my black uniform) but I was happy to be out there, alive and kicking. I didn't win, but I earned some great feedback from the judge and proved that I still had memory and balance.
The rest of my family (those who are allowed to get hit in the head) competed in sparring, and each of them won 4th place in their respective divisions. In each case they had an uphill battle, fighting against people who were older or bigger (or both). It was daunting to face an opponent who was bigger and tougher, but I was happy to see them fight through their fear. My son used the same approach again to win second place in his kata competition. He was the youngest in his group, and he later said that he made some mistakes in his performance, but he kept going as though nothing could stop him. And nothing did! It was a good lesson for any uphill battle in life.