I have various tidbits of takeaways and lessons learned from a very busy three days, and I’ll be sharing in between and around my posts about February.
My first story is from the Yoshida Cup tournament just yesterday.
So I was hanging around near the staging area waiting for my division to be called and doing some light warmups, when I noticed Sensei Cheryl Murphy (yes, HER) doing the same. I started wondering, “Just how old is she anyway?” I was in the 35-49 year old Ladies’ Intermediate and Advanced division. I’m on the low end of Intermediate, Sensei Cheryl is very much on the high end of Advanced. I started sweating and it wasn’t because of the Hindu Squats I was doing. “She’s not 35, naaaaw, can’t be. Wait – what if she’s one of those people like me about whom people always say, ‘You look a decade younger’? Ohhh my God, what if she is 35?!? She can’t be that old. No way. But… I could be wrong. What if I have to fight her?!? OMG!!! I am so going to die…”
I had to get a grip. I started trying for more positive self-talk, “At least it’ll be over quickly.”
[Loud obnoxious buzzer sound here]
“OK, well, if I have to fight her, then it’ll be an honor and I’ll probably learn something. That and I’ll have the bragging rights that I sparred with Sensei Cheryl. More so if I can score even one point against her.”
So when my division was finally called, I breathed a sigh of relief. Sensei Cheryl was not on the roster. I knew a couple of the gals from previous tournaments. And of course by then we were wearing either red or blue tournament belts, so I didn’t allow myself to speculate on the ranks of those ladies who were strangers to me.
My first round I was soundly thrashed by a fantastically skilled lady from Japan. Later, I saw her wearing her black belt. OK, no surprises there. I had scored a point or two on her, so I felt all right about that.
It wasn’t until Monday morning that I had this thought… I was peeing my pants about potentially sparring a big name I knew only because she was one of the instructors at camp last summer. But for all I know, maybe that lady black belt from Japan who thrashed me was someone famous too. I don’t really keep up with who’s who in Karate. I didn’t get a chance to ask her name, so maybe I’ll have to wait until next year.
According to Wikipedia, I have three years to prepare for a potential sparring match with Sensei Cheryl Murphy. Meanwhile, she can have fun with my younger buddies.
So after I cleaned up the mess I’d made of my gear (switching from aka to au and back again) I headed off to the locker room to lick the wounds of my defeat. On my way there, I noticed two of my buddies in the younger division were about to start kumite. I took my place in the stands to cheer them on, especially as they were in the same division as You Know Who. Unfortunately, the way things worked out, my buddies didn’t have the honor of fighting Sensei Cheryl Murphy. But I did get to watch her in action, and it was wonderful.