top of page

The Thistle Contest

The following piece of writing was my entry for the Thistle Contest-a writing contest held at the St. David's Christian Writers' Conference last summer. The Thistle Contest is meant to inspire beautiful writing that makes a point. The topic this time was "The Road Less Traveled." Submissions were made anonymously and were required to be 250 words or less.


“Don’t even think of it!” admonished my coworkers.

“You’ll break your neck!” worried my mother.

“Are you having a mid-life crisis, or what?” asked the hubby.

Even I wondered about my judgment, for I was about to travel down a path on which few venture. At the age of fifty, I had decided to learn Judo.

Judo is not a sport that one begins studying at my age. Every maneuver provides an opportunity for a multitude of injuries. Nevertheless, there I was, standing respectfully in my white gi at the edge of the mat. I feared what my Sensei would have me do that first class.

First he draped me over a large exercise ball and rolled me over. I had to learn how to tumble like a small child again.

Next, I practiced finger holds, hand locks, and arm bars. Eventually I could escape from an aggressive handshake or gain control of an assailant.

Then one day Sensei threw me. After my initial shock, subsequent months of drilling enabled me to master the art of falling and landing safely when thrown.

Over the years, I tested through all the belt levels. Ultimately I could skillfully flip or incapacitate opponents.

Before my journey down that narrow road began, little did I know all the treasures I would discover there – friendship, discipline, strength, intellectual stimulation, and valuable self-defense skills.

From now on, I will seek other hidden paths. Age arguments will get tossed off the side of the trail.

bottom of page