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!