Saturday, March 03, 2007

A winning day! A long commentary with photos and video!

Today was the interschool tournament. Let me tell you, I am NOT a morning person, for sure. Well, let me take that back. For sparring purposes, I am a morning person. For forms, I am not. And Drew has moved up in his tournament experience in more than one way. Let me explain how the day unfolded. (And I have photos too!)

Drew and I arrived at the ATA, ready to go. My ring was going first, we were waiting for it to clear from the last group first, which was fine. I had practiced a little bit at home, and felt I knew the information cold. To make it a little more of a contest, even though we were comprised of two different divisions, my ring was comprised of Sandy, Penelope and myself. Since Penelope is in the physical special abilities division, while a color belt and in the decade below Sandy and me, it seemed fair as she is a formidable contenter, even if she uses her wheelchair for competition. (She even told me that she missed me being there last night, as she had some aggression to get out of her system, and she and I usually will wail on each other as our own safe form of therapy!) We'd still get 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, but things would be adjusted as needed later.

So, who has to go first for forms? Yep, me. Great. I think I was kinda tired yet wired-- I wasn't quite awake, but the adrenaline was coursing through me. And it figures, as much as I know that form COLD, I screwed it up big time. I was making a lot of wrong moves all the way around, like doing two moves in the wrong direction, doing my ki-haps at the wrong time, going WAY too fast to make it look precise, all sorts of things. You'd think that I was on drugs of some sort, but I wasn't. I knew I blew it, but at the same, I knew that it wouldn't be that bad a tragedy, because I'd still place no matter what, and it was in the "comfort" of an interschool vs. a regional. :-S

Next was weapons. The tricky part was, by coincidence of sorts, both Sandy and I were doing the same weapon, namely the Ssahng Nat/kamas. I watched her form-- she did very well with it. It was very different than mine, being that it was more power cuts and stabs. She told me later that she thought of putting some more razzle dazzle in it, as she has some killer juggling skills, but she was afraid it'd be too much ATA Xtreme. She described her weapons form as full of more power moves, and mine has more "finesse". While I tried to make my moves look powerful, I understood what she meant. I really incorporated as many of those new moves as I could, and I was happy that I was able to pull them off and didn't do badly in my routine that I had made up, and threw in a couple of good kihaps in there too for good measure. I think even one of my scores was a 9.9, which is as high as you can go! So I was pleased with that. Pen did a BME routine, which I recognized as something that wasn't the standard form that we usually used for freestyle, but it was really cool to watch. She had some moves that I've seen, but I don't know how to do, so that was great.

Last was sparring, and as all my regular readers know, this is my least favorite event. I would rather do 20 board breaks than spar. But, 'ya gotta do what 'ya gotta do. One thing that some non-ATA people would be interested to know is that yes, Penelope would be sparring with us, even though she competes from her wheelchair. You'd think that it's an unfair advantage for someone like me or Sandy to spar her, but there are a few things that make it fair, at least for me personally. A) she has wicked punches, and she is not afraid to wail on me big time, and punching is not my strength. B)She still can get kicked by me, but her blocks are phenomenal. And C)to even the playing field, literally and figuratively, every hit is 1 point, even the kicks. So in other words, while kicking is my strength, I have to work at it to get every last one of those 5 points. But before I did that, since Sandy and I are in the same division, we sparred first, and the winner of that round would spar Pen. Fair enough. I was a little anxious about sparring Sandy. She's had a lot more training time and instruction in the last two months than I have, due to my back injury and my nasty cold. And every time we get matched up, I can see she's gotten better and I really have to watch myself. She might be petite, but she's a fireball! Sure enough, we were tied 3-3, and I was lucky to get a good kick to the face in. I didn't mean it to hit her face, and she said she didn't feel anything, but I felt something like the tip of my foot pad hit her somewhere. Just proves that the safety gear does what it's supposed to do! It was that kick to the head that gave me the two points to win. So, after a 30-second break, in which I got a quick surge of liquid oxygen (that's a good hit of bottled water for asthmatic me), then I had to spar Pen. She put up quite the fight, and made me work for my points, that for sure. But in the end, I did get that 5th point, and won the match. So I got first place in sparring too. Go figure!

Here's a photo of me and Pen sparring, with photo credit going to Sandy this time. Pen had a good block on that one!
Penelope blocking my kick

Here's another one by Sandy of Pen and I sparring, but from a different angle. You can see Drew helping by keeping score, and Mom is up by 2 points!

During this time, Drew was also an official photographer of the event. He took a few photos, but I won't share all of them. I will share a few key ones, however:

Mom screwing up her form
Me screwing up my form.

Hey, at least I look like I am concentrating!

Here are Sandy, Penelope and myself after we received our awards:

The competitors!
The Competitors!

Drew also had a special opportunity during the sparring match that most 5 year olds don't get, and it got him involved in the judging process, which was cool. During the sparring, he was one of the scorekeepers. They have a little lap sized scoreboard where you drop the flap to show the point earned. He had to listen very carefully and get special direction from Rachel, who was the center judge, as to when to add a point to one person or the other (and Cynthia was there to help back him up, just in case), but he did it very well. He also helped do it for center judge Natalie with the Men's competition as well. Considering it took good attention and focus skills on his part, he did a very good job. As a result, Rachel gave him an extra red tournament star for his uniform as a reward for a job well done, which was a great thing for her to do to recognize what he did, or for that matter, giving him a chance to do something like that. He loved helping. (I heard him later tonight playing with his dad upstairs, most likely roughhousing/wrestling, and he'd say, "BREAK!" now and then, just like in sparring matches, so I think it sunk in just a little.) So I was glad he had that opportunity, and that he did well and enjoyed it.

NOW..... As for Drew....

Drew had a good tournament. One thing I didn't realize was that now that he's considered a camo belt for all intensive purposes, he doesn't do one-steps for competition, but rather he spars! He doesn't spar for points or placement, at least, just like he doesn't do forms or weapons for award placement, so that was good. It was a good thing that I had his gear bag in the car, as I didn't know and I had to run out and get it! In Drew's ring, there were two orange belts, a green belt kid who was taller and older than him (I'm guessing Y is maybe 7?), a half camo-half green kid his age named Alexander, and him. At this age, the kids still get help from an instructor, in this case SW since the orange kids were new to it, and SW wanted to be the one to explain how the whole thing worked with the higher color belts to the newbie parents as we went along. So, Drew did his form, and he was later awarded his forms and sparring medal for his "power moves", I believe. He held his own pretty well. I'm sure if SW did the whole form with him, he would have been fine (at that age, they are only required to do half of the form). The orange belts would do one thing, and the higher color belts another.

I will say that having worked with Alexander and watched him, he has more discipline in doing his forms, so I would've given him 1st place over Drew (sorry, being honest and objective!), but I would have definitely given Drew 2nd place, due to just what he got his award for, his power moves.

Here's Drew in mid-half-form:

Drew doing his killer form
Drew doing his killer form!

Weapons are optional, but all the higher belts decided to compete, including Drew. Both Drew and Alexander did the JB, and Y did the SJB. Y's SJB was okay. Alexander did some really nice clean strike lines. Drew, he truly freestyled, throwing in a lot of arm tucks and hand rolls (as best as a 5 year old can do) and other things to make it look more like a form. Even Alexander's mom was impressed, and said that she was surprised at how well Drew did. I think it's because this is the second cycle that Drew has used the JB, so I think this time around it's clicking a little more. He's also used to watching the teen instructors and older students (especially ones who even do ATA Xtreme) do routines, so he gets inspired by them.

And now, hey, we have video! Please note that they have no sound.

Here's video of Drew's first tournament form for jahng bang!

Drew with JB 3/3/07

Then...there are the sparring matches. Oh, Drew did great in these. In this first one, his first ever sparring in a tournament, he's sparring Y, the older green belt. She's pulling them apart as they had already started, and had been wailing on each other, and she had to remind them that this was supposed to be no to little contact. Fortunately, Drew had watched me earlier and helped out, so he had an idea how it worked. At the end, she's leaning over to ask Drew if he'd stick around and spar Alexander! To me, it was a sign that she trusted him, and that in a sense, if this had been with points, perhaps he would've won.

Here's Drew with Y:

Sparring match 1 - 3/3/07

Here's Drew and Alexander:

Drew and Alexander sparring

All was said and done, and Drew got his medals.
Drew receiving his medals!
Drew receiving his medals from Mr. P.

Lastly-- here's the stance of a champion. ;-)
Drew, the tough guy champion
Here's Mr. Tough Guy. Don't mess with him.


blackbeltmama said...

Nice video and pictures. It sounds like you had a good time. It must be really cool to watch Drew kick some butt. My daughter does fine at home; not out of the home.

We have bo kata's. It's very interesting to see Drew's kata because our styles are so very different from each other.

Oh and regarding your question: it's looking like I'll be testing for black belt next winter Feb. '08. You'll beat me to it!

Windsornot said...

Thanks! Drew is only allowed to do some of this at tournaments or at the do-jahng, like the sparring, so he's used to it. Oh, and I wouldn't say that Drew exactly had a kata. At his level, the kids can just twirl the thing and not have a specific form, as at the color belt level (including me), everything is "freestyle" which means, as everyone is drilled, "YOU CAN'T MESS UP!". :-) The only thing I recognized was the #8 strike, and when he'd tuck under the arm and then rotate to do the same on the other side. That's it. Oh, and the holding it straight out at the end. That was it. He has strike lines and other stuff under his belt, but this is what he did. The idea is to give the kids confidence in doing weapons kata, so that when they REALLY have to do it, then they aren't as nervous, that it's just par for the course. I think that's why my kama kata that I made up is unique. I was told today by RA that this one move he taught me is considered an advanced move, so that would definitely help with the score! ;-)

Penelope said...

So cute! I love the video footage since I didn't see *any* of Drew's weapons and only a little of his sparring (although I did notice when he was asked if he'd spar Alexander). Is he competeing next weekend? I'd love to get a chance to actually see his form since I keep hearing how good he is :-)

Windsornot said...

Alas, Drew will not be competing at Lincroft. It's too much of a hassle. Let's see, it's an hour away (at least), his ring would start at the same time as yours, and he's usually not up that early in the morning. Even if JC came in his car and took him home afterwards while I stayed out the rest of the day, it seems like just too much. And it's a lot of money just to go and get a trophy. He can go to the one that'll be at Rider University this summer. That's closer, for sure, and he can show his stuff then. If I can, I'll have to film his form next time he's in class, if they don't have me working during it like last week!