Hamish, my friend who has beautiful blue eyes, helped me once before when I was stressed with my exams. He taught me how to calm myself down by closing my eyes and breathing deeply. He learnt all of this from his Karate group, so I’m thinking of joining it myself over the summer holidays. That way I can see him and learn all the things he does.

So, on Tuesday at school I spoke to Hamish about joining and he told me he would collect me from home and we would go together. Every Tuesday was now Karate Day.

When Hamish came round at 6 o’clock after school I was quite scared. I experienced a mix of emotions – excitement about learning new things but fear that I wouldn’t be as good as Hamish. He told me not to worry and that it would all be fine.

“Karate is a martial art” he said. “It’s taught me how to relax and meditate so I can deal with my emotions, like I helped you during your maths exam”

“I thought it was about fighting” I replied, “Have you not seen all the cartoons?”

Hamish started to laugh and then said “Sure, sure I have. But its self defence, not fighting. Karate means ‘meeting of hands’. You must have respect for your component. Don’t worry, you’ll learn. We must rush though, we are running late”

As we walked in to the church hall where the Karate group was held, I smelt something funny. Hamish said it was the smell of incense, which is a stick that creates a fragrant smell when you burn it.

“It helps to change the atmosphere” he told me. “Here, this is Mr Chow, he’s the teacher.”

Mr Chow was a tall skinny man who had straight brown hair that ended at his shoulders. He was wearing a white robe which he wrapped around him and tied with a big red belt. It looked slightly like my sister Lulu’s dressing gown. I tried to tell Hamish but he was standing opposite another boy on the mat. They were about to compete. They began by placing their hands together then bowing – now I knew what he meant by respect.

I knew this was going to be a good summer!