Monday, November 13, 2006

Tournament Photo Essay

My little point-n-shoot camera did a pretty good job at the tournament, though I wasn't able to get movies, of course. Here's the story of the day, in pictures.

We had to drive 2 hours to the tournament, so Justin and I left about 7 a.m. We arrived at 9:15 or so, and got registered.

Usually, tournaments have a "Rules Meeting" for all black belts, since they are the ones who will judge. At this tournament, everyone attended the rules meeting. Sparring rules were gone over, and it was emphasized over and over that sparring was no/light contact. "Uniform movement will indicate a point," said the black belt heading up the meeting. I hoped that would be true, especially in the case of Black Belt Men 17-34, Justin's category.

Justin: Forms and Breaking
Black belt competition was first, and Justin did very well. I thought his form looked better that the other competitors--they had shallow, inexact stances, and one competitor's form had only slow moves. The judges awarded him 3rd place . . . it's all subjective!

Look at those other two guys. They seem to dominate tournaments in this area. They're big, mature (probably at the top end of the age range, with lots of experience and bulk), and really aggressive.

I love watching the men--especially black belts--break boards! I figure by this time in the tournament, the adrenaline and testosterone are flowing, so the breaks are spectacular and very competetive! Justin did really well in breaking. His set-up (4 boards) included a reverse-hook speed break, punch, and a tornado kick.

The other competitors couldn't quite get some of the boards to break as well! So Justin got 1st.

Jane: Forms, Breaking, and Sparring
Colored belt competition was next. I'd already greeted some of the women I'd met at the earlier tournament and met some new ones, but I was still stunned and thrilled to find that the "Senior Women Colored Belt 35 and Better" category had 19 women in it! Wow!

At the last tournament, there might have been 10. At the tournament I observed, there were maybe 2. Ms. Pryor has said to me that I just will not find many "senior women" in TKD--it's a male dominated sport. But here, I was surrounded by female martial artists who are about my age, and many of whom were really, really good. This was exciting.

Actually, the tournament was much more competetive than the one I went to before and the one I watched. There were just way more adults in general. I liked this.

We split into 3 groups, and begain with forms competition, which I won! This surprised me because I'd left out an entire movement in Hwa Rang, the slow hammer fist--one of my favorite moves! But I guess they weren't watching then.

And in board-breaking, I also did well--broke all the boards with my standard palm strike, back elbow, turning side kick. Unfortunately, the last board took two tries, so I didn't medal--hey, it was a subdivision of 9 women!

If you get 1st in forms, you get to compete in the Grand Championship for forms. That was after breaking. Everyone at the tournament who got a 1st got to compete. At this tourney, they divided the group in half: children and adults. Each group had one winner--the judges narrowed down the field three times to determine the winner.

It was weird being out there doing my form with the group of other martial artists.

I made the first cut, which was cool. They eliminated 2/3 of the competitors after we did our forms once, and I was still standing! It would have been cool to make the two next cuts and come home with an enormous trophy . . . Still, it was exciting and satisfying to be able to compete.

Sparring was last. My first competitor was small and fierce. She kicked hard, but I beat her.

For the last round, I went against Laura. We were very evenly matched, I must say. Her sparring has improved since last time, and she was really "on" that day!

We went into "sudden death," and she won with an awesome shot to the head. Despite the fact that I lost, I enjoyed sparring her more than the 1st opponent: it was more of a finesse match than a beating.

Black Belt Sparring
Black belt sparring followed. I was a bit nervous, worrying that Justin might get hurt again, but hopeful since they'd emphasized "light to no contact." He borrowed my helmet, and I sat on the bleachers next to the ring.

Unfortunately, Justin had to spar one of the big aggressive guys 1st, the one who'd injured him at the last tourney. And sadly, that guy was just as crazy as last time.

I had no more film in my camera to take photos, but there was a lot of kicking below the belt, and very hard kicks everywhere. The guy got warned for those and for punching toward Justin's head, but was never really disciplined. Luckily, Justin is tough, and he actually gave the crazy guy a run for his money--they ended in "sudden death," which the guy narrowly won (after the judges failed to see a beautiful wheel kick that Justin landed--with control--on the guy's head . . . )

Justin sat down by me after the match and nursed an enormous goose egg that was growing on his knee (he'd taken a bad fall due to the guy's overly-aggressive kicks). We were sorry he didn't win, but I thought about two things:

1. Justin came much closer to winning this time than last time, and
2. Everyone around saw his control and ability to fight within the rules.

The guy came up and talked to Justin after the match. I should have talked to him, too, but I was worried my sharp tongue would cause me to be discourteous. I did not make eye contact and walked on ahead. Justin, on the other hand, was remarkably cool and polite.

All in all, it was a great day. I'm still puzzled about light-to-no contact rules. But the two of us made a good showing, and we had a good time. I hope Justin will post his thoughts about the tournament, too. And if anyone wants to weigh in on the beard, feel free! :-)


Laura B. from Cherokee said...

Congrats again on an excellent tournament! I'm glad at least one of the Grand Champion pics turned out (I have a gift for blurry photography...). Lookin' good, ma'am! I'm glad Justin came out of that match OK -- that other guy really is a bruiser. I really wish they'd enforce the rules on potentially dangerous hits more consistently (legs, head). I know the men's rings tend to be aggressive (and some of the guys tend to kick low because they're just too tight in the hips to kick high easily), but still...*sigh*

I must confess that I owe you a very great debt for my sparring improvement -- after you thoroughly trounced me at Cedar Rapids, I went back to the black belts at home and said "What the heck can I do when someone does [more or less what you tend to do with kicks]? Help!" And they did! I was inspired by that fight! I really enjoyed our match this time, too -- such a fun fight! So few bruises...heh. I honestly had a hard time not giggling, because it was really quite a lot of fun.

Right now, I'm just glad the scar tissue from my old elbow scrape protected me from too much bruising from that dang board...

Oh, and someone MUST mention that orange belt who won silver in the senior green 'n under division -- she did a very, very sharp palgwae 2 with her right arm immobilized (in a sling). She ROCKED. I think her performance was my favorite thing of the day -- talk about exemplifying all of the Tenets of TKD!

Anonymous said...

I would like to train our Il Dan, Ea Dan, Sam , Sa Dan forms forms competiton in either or both ITF or WTF forms for winning.

Charyuk as opposed to Charyut... Phil Sung.

Who can offer that?

Mas Ins Roy Strang