Tournament Weekend – Part Two of Two

Sunday 2/8/15

As is typical for tournaments, it took for-ev-er to get through kids’ divisions.  After the teenagers were called to staging, I nudged my daughter and a Sempai from our dojo and joked, “See those kids in staging?  They’re the little kids who were competing soon after we arrived.  We’ve been here long enough for them to grow up!”  I think next tournament I’m just going to wander around campus, find comfy chairs and read, eat lunch, then mosey back to the gym.

Sempai and I were called into staging at the same time, so he and I warmed up, stretched, and did some very light and easy sparring drills together.  My division was called first because it was smaller than Sempai’s.  Much smaller.

I have two medals – one for kata, one for kumite.  Color?  Hee hee hee.  If I were just three months (to the day!) older, they would be silver. But in actuality, they are gold.  How’s that work, you ask?  I’m 44, so I’m in the 35-44 year old female beginners’ division.  I was the only one in that division who showed up.  The other lady was in the 45 and older female beginners’ division, and she was the only one to show up.  A judge explained that we’d both get gold no matter what – but we’d have to work for it.  Accordingly, we were in an exhibition match.  After the judge went back to his station, I winked at my opponent and said, “I won’t tell if you won’t tell!  Let’s put on a good show, and this’ll be our secret!”  We had a good laugh over it.  Then she proceeded to win at both kata and kumite.  So to me, I’m second place, and I’m happy with that.  I’ll just pretend the extra “oomph” that makes my medals gold is for the personal triumph of surviving Saturday.

Now here’s the really hilariously funny part.  A young giant Sempai half my age whips my tail, uh, coaches me in kumite.  My opponent was six inches shorter than me.  I had a hard time adjusting and she was speedy quick!  She beat me fair and square.  Bonus – she’s in the organization of dojos I trained in when I was a teenager.  I was very pleased that a Sensei from a sister dojo hung the medals around my neck – he and I have been acquainted since before I started training.

Immediate feedback from one of my Senseis, who was able to take a break from judging to watch me, was exceedingly useful.  I have some new goals to work towards.  I’m really excited about one goal – working on the cadence and rhythm of kata.  I was a bit rushed during tournament.  I’ve since gotten more tips on that, and I’m going to have to spend plenty of practice time exploring and experimenting with that aspect of kata.  It should be interesting!

My daughter and I stayed until the end.  Man, oh man, that last division to go up (18-35 advanced men) was a great show – the best was last and the stadium was mostly empty – the vast majority of people who came to the tournament missed the very best part!

After the tournament was over, there were so many people helping with loading the truck with mats and such for storage I had trouble finding work to do.  I was dog tired, so my daughter and I simply went home.  I slept like a rock.  The pre-dawn walks with my dog the next three mornings were interesting – I avoided going downhill because all the muscles that engage when walking downhill were pretty sore.  I survived Karate on Monday, but on Tuesday I was so tired that I volunteered to teach squirrel-ly little boys their kihon katas rather than work on my own katas.  I needed that break, and on Wednesday was doing just fine again.

I still can’t believe I did all that!

Author: Joelle White

I began training in Karate in June of 2014 after a 27 year hiatus.

11 thoughts on “Tournament Weekend – Part Two of Two”

  1. Congratulations! Was that tournament sort of a minor event, if there’s ever such a thing? I don’t have access to martial arts tournaments around here so I can’t tell how prestigious (SP) events are. Since so few competitors showed up in your division, I figured it wasn’t that big. Either way it’s always an achievement when you win a medal. The thing is that you earned it and that’s what makes it more special, regardless of how many people showed. Hope your daughter is doing better. I can understand how she felt. Having that sense of being unprepared because of missing so much training time. Hopefully for the next tournament will be a different story. This was great reading. I’m always interested in reading about my friends’ experiences. It makes up for the lack of a social life I have. Snowed again last night but not as bad but still. Anyway excellent post and look forward towards the next tournament report. Good luck and be safe. All the best and full respect.

    1. Hi Steve!

      Thanks for stopping by. This tournament was one of a few that will be held around the region over the course of the next three months or so. Nice practice for the tournament our organization hosts in Oregon each year. My daughter is training hard for that one – she hated missing out! I hope that snow melts soon so you can get training. All the best to you!

      1. That sounds great. When is that tournament going to be? I imagine that one is more well attended. As you said this past one is a good tune up. I don’t know if you are on Facebook but it would be great if you could post pictures from that. I don’t get around much since it’s pretty quiet here so it would be cool to see what goes on in your part of the world. Well sorry this is short but hopefully sweet. Have a great weekend. All the best and full respect.

  2. Hi, Steve! I’ve avoided Facebook like the plague ’cause I wouldn’t have “face time” with anyone if I got hooked! The tournament in Oregon will be bigger this year ’cause a delegation of some 60 karateka from Japan will be competing with us! You have a great weekend too!

    1. I can understand that. I’ve been on Facebook for a few years now but I’ve never gotten hooked on it. Probably it’s because I usually don’t bring much to the Facebook table. Except maybe some sarcastic posts about the GOP and Right Wing crazies but I won’t get political here. It’s not the appropriate place. Anyway, that team from Japan sounds like it would be a great event. What I wouldn’t give to attend that. When is that tournament? To be honest, I’d rather be on the sidelines rather than competing. This is just me but I would be kind of intimidated. The last thing I would want to do is to make a fool out of the art. I mean there are some people who like to bad mouth the martial arts in general and I wouldn’t want to give them ammunition. Again that’s just me. Have a great Sunday and week ahead. All the best and full respect.

      1. Hello there, Steve!

        Yep, giving yourself a bit of time to get comfortable with sparring and kata is a good idea before entering a tournament, although really, there are divisions for beginners. As far as making a fool out of the art in front of people who badmouth it – I can tell you that the vast majority of the audience at the tournaments my daughter and I have been to consists of family and friends of kids. Half the audience is gone by lunchtime. Typically, to get in as a spectator, it costs five bucks, so I don’t know if anyone would spend that kind of money just to go in and start badmouthing. Especially when at least half the people there are karateka… So no worries. Have a great rest of your weekend!

  3. Our tourney had the blackbelts doing their stuff then the kids and then the kyu grade adults. We didn’t have age so my kumite and kata was against 2 girls half my age….fine by me since the women my age are 2nd kyu and I was then 10th….team kata was amusing since ours was mixed…..I did it with my son and sensei’s son who were then 5. We did sanchin together……I am glad no one laughed

      1. I think there was 30 of us all up. That was a pretty good turn out all things considered. I train with all the network dojo at the moment and see everyone except the kids regularly and I would say we would not get more than 50 until we open it up (which is planned for this year).

      2. Rach – 30? Small groups are fun! Oh I hope your tournament is opened up to others because the more experience a student gains competing against unknown people, the better. All the best!

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