I wish I had a photo of the sign that greeted us when we entered the gym. It said
Huh? I thought. Then: Oh, they mean me--I'm an athlete!
Here's Justin getting ready to do his form.
I thought he did well, but I must not have been watching at a crucial moment which involved exhaling and a piece of gum which probably swayed the judges. . . ! Justin got a lot of mileage out of that story!
Justin also had the misfortune of having to do his form alongside someone who hissed. That seems to be one variety of doing TKD: breathing loudly, even hissing, on each move. I found it distracting.
I didn't get any good photos of his boardbreak, but he got a medal.
Ms. Pryor won a first in forms (everyone commented on how powerful and awesome she looked. She also did an awesome boardbreak: palm strike, then 3 boards with a flying sidekick! (I got a picture, but it didn't turn out, alas.)
She got 2nd for her break, right behind someone who did a different technique on each board. "I guess they weren't looking for power," she said.
That was one thing I noticed at the tournament: that the judgements on the competition were very subjective--especially forms. People did their forms in very different ways. Besides the hissing, I noticed shallow front stances, back stances with the front foot up on tiptoe, and other odd stuff that Master Hughes would never allow. I guess I always thought they were dead wrong. Apparently, it's more a matter of choice.
When I did my form, I thought I did just fine: my form had flow, was accurate and powerful. I got a 3rd place. "She was more animated than you were," said Ms. Pryor of Laura, the winner. "The judges were watching her more."
So now I've learned something: at a tournament where accuracy might mean different things to different schools, you have to work much harder on dramatic presentation.
I think that was what Ms. Pryor was trying to tell me when she talked about flow.
Having different people from different schools was fun. I made it my mission to go out and meet people, especially people in my class, the "senior women colored belts" or women over 35. There were about 10 of us, a friendly, encouraging group! It was fun to find out what got everyone involved (for many, it was "I got tired of just watching my kids do it")
Some of our group did quite well! Here are Lauri and Laura--both were in the forms championship--and Laura won--the colored belt forms champion! We told her that the belt would go with just about any outfit.
Later, we got to spar--always my favorite event! It was fun sparring women--who would remember that light-to-no-contact rule, and who were all about the same height!
I was pleased to get a 1st in sparring. My only regret--that Ms. Pryor wasn't there to see me! I had hoped there would be a sparring championship for colored belts (I had been eyeing the younger women and wishing I could spar them, too), but, alas, there was not.
Here I am with my medals: 3rd in forms, 3rd in breaking, 1st in sparring.
I will write more and share more pictures tomorrow. So far, I've shared the satisfying and enjoyable moments of the tournament, but there were some frustrating moments that occurred when I was watching our young men spar. I'll share those next time.