Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Phoenix has risen from the ashes!

Just as a precursor, most of this is in my other journal, almost word for word, but since I have two audiences, it's easier to write it once, and edit the same words for the other audience. In this case, this is the "other" audience, but one that understands more of what it's all about. ;-)

Tonight was the interschool tournament that I was slightly dreading. Sure, I could've skipped it, but if I did, then I'd be losing another opportunity with points in an arena that I am comfortable with (my own do-jahng) and with competitors I know, and in this case, it was only one other competitor.

Well, let's get the big part out of the way. I got 1st on all accounts, in forms, weapons, and sparring! Which I will say, without hopefully sounding conceited, was very cool. BUT, let me tell you, I did have to work at them. There were only the two of us. SM and I get along great, and we're new friends, but we are also fiercely competitive with each other. FIERCELY. Then again, I went in knowing that the worst I could do was 2nd place. There have been plenty of times, including the last interschool tournament and in regional tournaments, where I haven't placed at all, so 2nd place all the way around wouldn't have been too shabby. Nonetheless, I knew that SM has been working very hard, and I think although we share one instructor, her main instructor is much tougher on her than mine is on me, so she was plenty prepared. I work hard too, however, I think there is no question that she earns her high placements due to her diligence and practice. If I was as diligent and practiced more, people would PHEAR ME. ;-) LOL

SM did have a more difficult form, but I won. Why? I think it boiled down to the fact that, yes, I had an easier form, so it came more naturally to me, especially being a higher rank and more experienced. I think that in having an easier form allowed me to be able to put more "finesse" in things like the punches and kicks, and I could take my time and get those finesse points in. It's something I've been working on, such as "popping" the punches and hand stuff. It's all in the wrist, literally. There was less to remember, less complexity, and by pacing myself I could remember to get those finesse points in. It's not a criticism of what she did or how she did it. The score was very close, and I was watching her. She knew her form like nobody's business. I think this is where experience benefited me with the more tournaments with more tournaments under my belt.

I felt really good about the kamas. I think the comment that the girls made at graduation made me feel like I had an inkling of knowing what I was doing, at least, and that gave me confidence. It also helps that not many color belts do kamas. I wish I knew more moves, but I can hold my own, and tonight proved that. I did an original freestyle, not the kama form that eventually I will have to learn, unlike the BMEs, the SJBs or the bo staff. Again, I think it's finesse points, and not rushing my 20 seconds, pacing myself evenly, that helped as well. I think the finesse points are the "snaps" or "popping" the moves more, so they are very clearly defined. I had worked on that with the kids, who in fact were the judges tonight, all last summer with my weapons routine then, and they worked on those finesse points with me. I benefitted from THEIR experience to help me smooth it out more, and it helped. Even the form I did tonight was something that the kids helped me work out the kinks. Heck, they were the ones who taught me the moves in the first place, as I wasn't getting a whole lot of instruction on the kamas to begin with. I don't even know what the actual kama form is, so it was all original, just pieces I put together myself to make it "razzle dazzle", and it worked.

Sparring, as usual, was the big challenge. I avoid sparring like the plague, as most of my readership knows, and SM has been doing more training in this event, and it showed! We were more evenly matched than before. Her moves tonight were the fire I needed under my butt to get back into working on my sparring. In our sparring match, I started out well with a good kick to the head, which was 2 points (you have to get to 5). The area where she is better than me is in the straight out punching-- I admit I suck at that part. And while I do have good kicks, I was not warmed up or anything, so they weren't as good as they could be. SM was convinced that if time hadn't run out, she would've gotten me with a good head kick, especially since I was tuckering out near the end there. Oh, I know I was getting tired. Another thing to work on, especially between my weight and asthma-- stamina. Could she have gotten that kick in, or could I have gotten that last point to better secure things before time was called? (The final score was 4-3.) Hard to say. My thought was that I needed to get that last good head kick in to get that final point, but time was called, so who's to say? But like I said, it looks like I'm going to need to start taking sparring classes again, and I hate them!

So, I had a good night. SM is excellent competition for me, for sure, and she definitely gives me a run for the money. Until now, I didn't have anyone, really, to compete with. I was competing with 2nd degrees, and that's not exactly an even playing field. THIS is an even playing field. NOW....the competition is going to get interesting. There's an A-level tournament in March that we are both intending to go to, and again, we'd be competing against each other as well as a lot of people from all over, so the general competition will be extra fierce. Both she and I have talked about doing XMA, since there are next to nobody (or as far as we know, in NJ, nobody at all!) in our age group doing it. We stayed after our competition tonight to watch the teen/younger adult gals do their stuff, including their XMA forms. After watching them, not to sound obnoxious, but I think I could do just as well, if not better in some instances, as they did. They had the skills and the moves, but none of the showmanship or pizzazz that ATA XMA is supposed to be about! From my many years of dancing and having to perform publically, I think I have a good shot at doing VERY well in this field, without having to do any gymnastics. XMA is a totally creative form, and I think if I can come up with a good form in both "open hand" (regular form style) or closed hand (with weapons), I've got a good chance at doing well, and actually earning a 1st place berth. Of course, SM is hot on my heels that she will be the 1st place winner in those categories, as we'd be up against each other again. We shall see in March! I have my work cut out for me. Hey, as far as I can figure, the worst I can do is 2nd place again. ;-)

I really needed this 1st place sweep tonight. I don't mean to sound egotistical or full of it, but I do work hard at what I do, and things in the rest of my life haven't been going so smoothly lately, so to get this big win was a big deal to me. It was that silver lining in the dark cloud. Sure, there were bragging rights won tonight, and I succeeded in making the best of the opportunity I had in front of me. But sometimes, you have to know that you are doing well in something, and I got that boost tonight. So yay me.


Lucky said...

You rock, girl. Nice job. Now get ready for March!

Miss Chris said...

Congrats on the tournament!!!