He won first place in the kickboxing division and best fighter at the tournament (there was also some submission wrestling matches).
I think competition is a healthy, great way to boost self esteem for all of us, and I am glad that Cooper has gotten into it too! Growing up is difficult for all of us, and some of us never feel confident in our own bodies, or just as "us". We are constantly comparing ourselves to others, or sizing ourselves up, and when we enter a competition, it shows we care enough about ourselves, that we like ourselves enough to go against everyone else!
Cooper has another tournament in two weeks. He started kickboxing because I wanted to do it, but never had the time. I would go to AKA and just watch the fighters. They are amazing athletes, almost like svelte animals in the jungle. The facility is located near a store where I shop, so for years I would stop by and just watch them all in action, just for a few minutes.
One day I made him go with me and talked him into taking lessons, and he liked it! Shortly after he started training one on one with Jerome, and has been for a few years now.
The fights were easier than I thought to watch, maybe because he is good. If he was getting hurt I may not have been so relaxed about the whole thing. We are lucky that AKA is just a couple miles from our house, and Cooper has such a great trainer. Many of the top fighters train from AKA, although most of them now train at the newer AKA facility recently opened in South San Jose.
The tournament consisted of two one minute rounds, with a 30 second rest in between. He had 6 opponents. The tournament was judged on technique, agility, finesse, actual kicks and hits that made contact, but not on pummeling your opponent.
There was one female fighting, but not in Cooper's division, she was a beginner and was competing against two other beginners.
The submission wresting was odd for me to observe, it just didn't make much sense to me, Cooper attempted to explain it but the kickboxing was more exciting.
Can you imagine what it must be like to be 17, win 1st place for kickboxing, and the Best Fighter out of all the fighters, and have your girlfriend there watching? She even kissed him with his mouth guard in, now that's love!
If you have kids, I encourage you to get them involved in a sport where they can feel successful, and one that they can compete in. It can be individual or team based, some people prefer one over the other.
Cooper's sense of accomplishment was evident to anyone around, and although I really don't want him to grow up to be a fighter, I am happy to see he can hold his own!