About 6 years ago, my son and I embarked on an adventure of taking Kenpo Karate classes together.
He was about 4 at the time, and I was just around 40-ish and probably still had some hair that didn't want to just give up and leap off my skull.
This is us at a karate tournament in 2009 where we cleaned frigging house and brought home a total of 6 trophies:
All this hard work and dedication culminated when, on June 1, 2013, we participated in a test for our First Degree Black Belt.
The test consisted of:
1) 7-1/2 hours of nearly non-stop activity
2) 70% of said 7-1/2 hours spent outside in 94-degree heat
3) Doing all kinds of crazy things like forms, and combination moves and pushups on the side of a 2-lane highway while being HOSED DOWN with water at full blast resulting in our gis weighing 10 pounds.
4) Carrying logs across a field. Yes. LOGS ACROSS A FIELD.
5) Being stepped on by our teachers who were also carrying said logs
6) 4 billion pushups, jumping jacks and ab crunches and these things where you jump up and then go into a pushup and then jump back up and, you know, OUCH.
7) Getting yelled at A LOT.
8) Sparring with our 6th-degree Shihan who also happens to be an MMA fighter and all-around badass.
9) Several mystery bruises, charlie horses, a few arm-bars and a near-miss with a stick to the eye
In the end, though, me - a 44-year old father-of-two - and my son - a soon-to-be-10 year old with a sense of humor much better than mine, ended up like this:
You can kind of see that our names are embroidered on our Black Belts which blend in with our black gis so if you squint you can imagine the coolness of it.
I don't think I've ever been prouder of him to endure the physical and mental punishment of that day - let alone almost 6 years - and pull this out.
And here he is, front and center with the rest of our group:
Me? I'm just going to stand here and be a proud father.
Proud NINJA father, that is.