A(nother) Thing Happened

There was a pivotal moment the other morning around 12:51 AM.

I turned 30 and the entire universe shattered around me, reforming into a completely new place unrecognizable from the previous. I stepped forth into a new landscape of walkers, prune juice, and Just for Men that sang songs of spoilt youth and misbegotten aches that will never leave.

Everything about that is true as long as you’re only looking at the first three words. I reality, I woke up next to my wife, who was completely unconscious and debated poking her with increasing forcefulness until she moved, whereupon I would ask her, with a surprised tone in my voice, “Oh, are you awake? Good Morning!” But I didn’t because if almost two years of marriage has taught me anything, it’s been that is NOT the way to a good morning. So, I ninja-ed upstairs and drank coffee with my dad for an hour until everyone else woke up.

Here’s the thing I’ve decided about 30 in the last few days when I haven’t been driving, celebrating, painting, planning, doing the weird worrying that only happens at 12:45 AM and seems to carry more than a fair allotment of existential dread, and doing Christmas everywhere with everyone on the planet while eating every cookie ever made.

It’s cool.

And other than that, it’s the same. I know, groundbreaking revelation. But, in a lot of ways it’s marked as a turning point in such exciting manners as insurance, banks, and karate divisions.

This whole blog was founded on the idea of nattering on about karate and traveling. It’s waxed and waned, but it’s still essentially the same. Now, I talked about karate a little less and talked about other things a little more. But, in the background I’ve been traveling, competing, training, hurting myself and still working for SportMartialArts.com when I get a minute.

I also got my own first gig as a photographer AND a writer earlier in December. It was pretty great and Here’s a Copy of the Write Up. You’ll have to check the Battle of Badger State’s Facebook page for the photos.

But, over the last year I’ve competed in Minneapolis, Orlando, Philadelphia, Quebec City, Missouri, Naperville, and several handfuls of local events all over the state. It’s been busy, crazy, and a whole lot of fun without to terribly much sleep.

So, pretty par for the course.

Stepping back a few years, I had just started working with Sensei Sharkey and joined Team AKA with a quiet goal of getting in the top ten before I tuned 30. At the time, I was 27. For those of you blankly staring at your screen wondering what in earth I’m talking about, here’s a quick lesson.

NASKA has a set number of events throughout the year and each event is ranked between 1A-6A. Basically, no one is 1A-3A, but smaller local events occasionally have a ranking a little lower in the A’s. All of the big events are 4A-6A. The higher the ranking, the bigger the status of the event and the more points are won for each place earned. There are some competitors who travel the country almost every weekend chasing points. Many of these athletes are sponsored and incredible, and each of them are remarkably determined. But, not everyone can do that, there’s a much bigger percentage of competitors who pick and choose events based on location, ranking, and scheduling.

So, throughout last year I picked and chose the events I could make it to, I drove to Naperville far less than I wanted to in order to work with Sensei Sharkey. I worked in the dojo after classes and some friends and I worked in random karate schools throughout Madison (thanks friends!). Some cool things started happening. I started placing, not high, not where I wanted to. But I was placing. And when the final rankings came out, there was something pretty cool on them.

#5 in Korean, and I squeaked in on Japanese/Okinawan 🙂

Now, there are some truly phenomenal competitors listed there and they deserve all the props, I’m just happy I was able to have my name on the same list as theirs! Especially as it’s the last time I’ll be in this division. Ever. Starting in January I’m going to be in the 30+ division, and we’ll see how that goes. On to new adventures, and some new challenges.

And all of the wonderful surprises and joy that comes with it.

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