Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Tournment Progress Begins...

Shiramizu's Mikiya Kikuchi (aka) scoring a point in the junior high school boys team kumite

This Tobu Taikai (Tobu meaning East, as in Eastern Saitama) was my first Japanese competition and indeed, first competition in a long time. The heavy rain couldn't keep dojos all over from coming out and there was lots of very good competition. It was a pretty great experience although that's not what I could say about my results.

In kata, my Chinto was trumped by my opponent's Kururunfa and it was, sadly, an early end to that division for me. Oddly, I had envisioned myself being a puddle of nervous sweat, but the nervousness didn't hit til after I had finished.

In kumite, I scored the first two points against my opponent, Takashima-san (who attended the kata classes with me at the camp the week prior; we've since become passing acquaintances), which he responded to with by scoring the next 3 (a jodan tsuki and a chudan geri). We each scored one more point after and at precisely when the buzzer rang, we both tried for that last point. He got the point and the victory (5-3) and went on to win the division. But I was happy with the result, nonetheless, and came away rather excited.

Regardless of result, I was pretty happy with my performance, especially in kumite where final score was close enough that I thought I did better than I expected. I won't go as far as to say I could have won, but I think I could have won, perhaps not the division, but the match. Although results are the only things that count.

The best part was that losing is by no means discouraging. I walked away from the ring unscathed, aside from a really sore left side of my jaw where I took a good punch, and eager to train more and improve my standings next time (on the 21st, for the Sugito City competition). I don't have such grandiose images of winning everything though, as progress is my only goal. There will be lots more opportunities to test my mettle and the results will come on its own.

The dojo on a whole, however, did very well- Shiramizu students placed or won their category often. Particularly exciting were the elementary and high school boys team kumite matches, which Shiramizu took top honours in both.

At night, there was a party to celebrate both the good work done at the competition (Shiramizu Sensei and staff all contributed is some form either as refs, volunteers, managers, competitor support staff, etc.) and, more important, to celebrate Hachizuka Sensei, Iwazaki Sensei, Yamazaki Sensei, and Yoshiwara Sensei's recently attained 3rd degree black belt standing. The night was full of speeches and good times, no doubt partly due to the "all you can drink" feature at the restaurant.

All in all though an excellent first time out I thought, and I can only hope I have better things to say about the results next time, haha.......


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