Wednesday morning came early for me, after waking up at 4 am to catch the 6am flight, and the time change, loss of two hours. I woke up early Wednesday before anyone, with the first thought of how to get Garret to eat enough breakfast to get him through the morning, with a hot bowl of oatmeal and two hands of fruit and juice from the breakfast buffet, I got into the elevator. Up to the room I went to find Mom ironing Garrets dobok, and the kids still asleep. As I shook Garret, he said; dad, just one more minute. His eyes were red we he awoke and was a little congested, but I got him up anyway, and that is when my first thoughts of apprehension started. I did not get him to sleep early enough as Grand Master had instructed, he said he would be too tired/. I could not get him to eat much as I think his butterfly’s had already started. It was about 90 degrees outside with slight rain and about 100 percent humidity as we walked to the convention center. As Garret was walking with Grand Master Chi, I couldn't help thinking of all Garret's hard work and Grand Master's time and effort over the last two months trying to keep an 8 year old committed to his teachings both mentally and physically. I hoped we wouldn't let him down. I tried to fire Garret up with talk about the power in his forms and thoughts of the Gold medal and I could see the change in his face, to the challenge he had ahead and I started to feel better. Grandmaster talked to him to calm him down and told him to do his best. After a lot of waiting and prep in the holding area, we were called to Garrets ring; my stomach was doing kart-wheels. As Garret was walking out in line with14 other yellow belts, his face was determined but he seemed calm. Grand master was standing ringside with already a 1000 pictures taken. Garrets name was called and his opponent was a boy from Texas, I looked at Grand master Worriedly, ad he said calmly, it's okay. As the form started Garret looked pretty good and I thought the other boy looked a little sloppy, the form ended with a lot of hoops and hollers from the crowd. We waited for the 5 judges to point one way or the other, I thought we have this one in the bag. As the judges arms dropped so did my head as Garret lost 3-2. His face looked devastated and I was yelling, keeps your chin up, don't worry. Though I know how hard it is to come back from the losers’ bracket. Thoughts of medaling were fading inside of me. Garret was called up again, after a quick talk with Grandmaster his second from started and he looked even more determined with higher kicks and more power, he was the winner 4-1. Still a long road, Garret won the next three matches, one against Grandmaster's friend, from San Jose, Grand master Thac's son. Garret now has to face the opponent from Texas again, and who was still undefeated, Garret will have to beat him twice. At this time my nerves were shot and my mouth was dry. The first match ended 3-2, Garret winning. I was not saying anything hoping all of Grandmaster's experience would go to the top. Te final match started with Garret steady and focused, the match seemed to take forever, with Garret's best form of the day, he came to rest on his spot perfectly while the Texas boy coming up just short of his. With yells from the crowd "check his spot" with Mr. Pandit's voice was being heard, the referees hands fell and Garret prevailed 3-2, winning gold. I felt so proud and relieved as I yelled "Chi Kwan Do".
With my emotions racing, I hugged Garret and congratulated Grandmaster. The 3 of us headed to the podium and Garret was awarded the Gold medal. With an hour break, our minds turned to sparring. Although lunch arrived from Mrs. Chi, the Grandmaster barely got 2 bites in and was called to the holding room, where I got Garret dressed and he started warming up. I started noticing Garret was lying down on his equipment bag. I started asking him questions, are you ok? He said yes, ok/. With about 15 minutes left before sparring time, his face tuned white as a sheet, he told me he had to throw up/. Grandmaster rushed him to the bathroom where he proceeded to lose what little food he had eaten all over the bathroom floor. As they walked back the lines had started to move to rings/. I asked Garret how he was, and he said he was going to have to fight the kid from San Jose, who he lost too, it was the time-out kid, and he was afraid the kid would do the same tactics. I reminded him that Grandmaster would have his back and not to worry. Garret won his first fight 14-10, with a point awarded to him when his opponent tried calling a time-out, but he was not awarded the time out from the referee. Grandmaster told him not to stop until the referee stopped the fight. Garret landed a round kick to his opponent with his hand in the time out position. Thanks to Grandmaster for reminding him of that. Garret won his next 3 fights putting him in the position for the Gold. Garret now had to fight the kid from San Jose (time-out kid) was a very good and clean fight, Garret coming up just short 4-2, for the silver medal. Later on at the pool, Garret made friends with Christian (San Jose) and swam together for 2 hours without a word about sparring, probably will be friends forever. All I kept thinking was, I wish I could be like my kid.
Thanks to Grandmaster and all instructors at Chi Kwan Do for all the time and energy they put into our kids.