Monday, April 12, 2010

11th Shiramizu Taikai

Louise here,

On the day Erica had her shodan test in Chiba, I went to the Shiramizu club tournament. All the members of Shiramizu younger than senior high school were entered, which, including a few members from other closely related clubs, totaled 366 competitors.

Lining up half an hour before the hall opened

In the first rounds in each age group, the kids had to do kata and then the final rounds were kumite (the kindergarten kids did kihon then kata). I thought this was an interesting way to organize it, so they had to be good at both to win a medal.

(Editor's note # 1; Kata was judged using a ballroom dance judging style. The young athletes in groups of 6-8 did the same kata as many times as possible within 3 minutes while the judges walked around scoring them best to worst. At the end of 3 minutes, the judges would meet to determine the best 2-4 to go onto the next round. It was a great way for judges to see the true abilities of the athletes, and it allowed the athletes to perform much more than if they had just one round of one kata to do, especially athletes who didn't go past the first round.

Note #2: The gym used was a performance auditorium which held hundreds of tiered, cushioned seats and the floor stage was big enough for 3 rings. This allowed families to see the tournament quite well while also being somewhat more comfortable during the whole day compared to a normal arena or gym space.)

At lunchtime and in the early afternoon there were demonstrations by the adults and senior high school students, along with the traditional 'Karate man' demonstration. From what I gather, this happens along the same lines every year, including the intern for that year. What a pity Erica wasn't there to be embarrassed with me. Choreographed by Okano san, the story this year was that three bad guys try to take over the tournament, I fight them off, get shot with an evil medicine bullet and become bad, five karate man heroes appear wearing hero suits, we all fight, I become good again, the good guys win and live happily ever after.

Victory pose

At the end of the tournament after the finals had been held, the adult class demonstrated board-breaking. That was the first time I'd done it, and it was very very fun.

Breaking those boards