Cullen competed in a local karate tournament this weekend and placed 4th in board breaking and 1st in forms - earning his first hardware.
His first event was the board breaking competition. The 4-6 year old Little Warriors took turns kicking plastic karate boards. The white board was easy to break, while the subsequent boards were stiffer. If a competitor was unable to break a board, they had to sit down until the last person was standing. After the board breaking was finished, Cullen received a piece of paper with his name and placement and was instructed to go to the trophy table to collect his prize. He came back with a 4th place trophy and a huge grin on his face.
Cullen's second competitive event was karate forms. He was set to perform the Starblock Set (a short routine performed with the left hand, the right hand, both hands and then backwards - see the video from his birthday for a demo). There were five 5 year-olds in his ring. To compete in the the karate forms event, the competitors must stand, bow, walk to the judges and say the following "My name is Cullen Swanson. I am from H&H Karate. I will be doing the Starblock Set." Then, the judges grant permission, the competitor performs and then waits for their score. Dirk and I were both so nervous that we had butterflies. Cullen, on the other hand, was calm and confident. He walked right up to the judges, spoke clearly and then performed the Starblock Set loudly and with great ease. As each competitor received their scores, Dirk and I could tell that Cullen's score was the highest. After all competitors were finished, they walked to the front of the mat and the winners were announced: 5th place, 4th place, 3rd place, 2nd place, and 1st place "Cullen Swanson". When Cullen received his placement card he started for the trophy table and the judges sweetly told him to wait for the final instructions and respectful bow. When he was given the OK, he made a bee-line for his hardware.
Cullen and his trophies have been inseparable ever since. The trophies have journeyed to the neighbor's house, a restaurant, school and karate class. I think they may even share his pillow at night. Congrats karate champ!
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