Earning their stripes

The girls are very much enjoying karate. Last week was Molly's first belt test, where she would test to earn a yellow stripe on her yellow belt (note that belt rank may differ from one form of karate to another). She's been practicing and studying for several weeks, and she was finally ready to test.

But, first, Leah got to show off her karate skills. Leah’s karate class is too young for belt tests, but they do have ceremonies to culminate a specific topic they've been working on. These include demonstrations for families. Molly and I got to watch, but sadly Jen did not. She arrived with us, but then had to turn around and head home when we realized the girls had forgotten their bag with gear and belts (which is why Leah is not wearing her belt).

Leah led their initial chant.

Karate demonstration

Left fighting stance

Left fighting stance

Nice punch.

Nice punch

Her kick was so quick, I couldn’t get it all in the picture.

Quick kick

A front kick requires an open mouth.

Front kick

Strutting is important when you block an attacker.


When the target is up high, you need to be on your toes to punch.

Punching on your toes

Side kick

Side kick

This session focused on balance, and all of them got a stripe for the belt and a certificate, as well as a high five from sensei. Since Leah was missing her belt, she had to wait to get her stripe until a few minutes later when Jen arrived with belt in hand.

High five

Then it was on to Molly's test. It was intense, including terminology, techniques, katas, kumite (sparring) and something I can only describe as toughness (getting hit in the stomach, sat on while doing a plank, stepped on while on the ground). It lasted over 2 hours. Here’s Molly sparring a bit.

Belt test

More sparring

Sorry that I don't have more pictures of her, but the place was packed with parents and there's only a little window to look through.

Molly did great and passed the test and earned her yellow stripe. Congratulations, Molly!

Yellow stripe

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