Saturday, November 10, 2007


I knew I shouldn't have gone. I knew deep down I wasn't going to be prepared, and that I could be an adult about it, and went in with the attitude of knowing I wasn't going to place most likely. Yeah, it all sounds good enough. But it was terrible.

Now, please note, I am NOT a morning person. And I had to get up earlier than I normally do even to get Drew ready for school. I had to leave at the time I normally have to get up! So, I dragged myself out of bed, and got out on time, only grabbing an instant breakfast drink for breakfast upon running out the door. I got there (and got a decent parking spot) about 5 minutes before there was the Black Belt meeting, which was the whole reason that we were there that early. However, most of it was directed to those who were certified to judge, and neither Sandy or I are certified to judge. But it's good to know what the judges had to be reminded of, even though most of it was stuff that I knew already. So after that was dismissed, they lined us up immediately, and we got our group assignment. There were 5 women who were 30-something 1st degrees, and 1 woman in the same age who was in the 2nd degree with no other competitors her age, so she was put with us. So we had a total of 6. Sandy and I went to hang out with our some of our tourney friends from NY state, and I knit a little. We then had to sit through the Opening Ceremonies. This is pure torture, really. It's all this brouhaha where, especially since the Grandmaster was making an appearance, we had to sit on the cold, hard floor with no back support, and listen to this person and that person being honored, and the Grandmaster getting gifts from Korea (I would think that this guy makes enough money and goes to enough of these things to be able to get his own nice stuff, and goes to Korea enough to not need to get gifts FROM Korea, DUH), but then they almost forgot this demo team demonstration which was decent. It just took FOREVER. Since after the long ceremony that was dragged out was too long, especially for the number of people there (or not there, as the case would be), we were assigned to our ring, and we lined up.

Well, let's see if I could give a summary. In forms - there was initially a tie for 1st, and a three-way tie for 3rd. Well, I was in the 3-way tie for third, and I felt like I had really done the best performance of CJ#2 I'd ever done, considering I was very tired after doing the first performance. Sandy was also in that group. Neither of us were third. Weapons, for me, was a total disaster. While I knew my form, there was another ring of guys next to us that were sparring and well, it was distracting. Between that and nerves, I just messed up left and right. When the judges gave the scores for me, I actually thanked them for their kindness, because I felt that the scores they gave me, which were on the lower end of the midrange, were generous. I would've put my scores on the low end. I guess it was because I, at least, knew where I messed up, and I did tell them I just learned the form a week ago. But it was horrible. I didn't expect to speed through it, and I didn't, but I knew the form cold, and I had been practicing every day. Things I goofed up on were the parts that I could do with ease. I did significantly better in my living room than I did there. It was the worst weapons showing I'd ever done, and I've never not ranked in weapons before. Lastly was sparring. I didn't think I'd get through that either, but since I had done badly in the first two events, I thought, okay, I still have a shot. I thought that more when I was paired up with this woman who was barely 5 feet tall. Cool, the head kicks should get her. Sure enough (and even she said she didn't know how she did it), she got at least one kick in the head to ME, and she won that match, eventually placing 3rd.

Okay, so in the end, Sandy and I didn't place in anything in traditional. She had won 1st in XMA the night before, so she had something. So as all the awards are handed out, she and I were the only ones not to place at this ring. But then it happened. They had one more award, namely a Spirit award. She and I, I felt, had been cheering and yelling and being supportive as anyone. Remember, there were only 6 people in the whole ring. She had already gotten an award the night before, not that the judges would've known that. But who got the Spirit award? If you guessed Sandy, you would be correct. So everyone in that ring-- except me-- got some sort of award or acknowledgement. Just thinking about it is getting me upset again.

I've never attended a tournament where I didn't think I'd place, even if it was 3rd. I will not deny that those who did place high didn't deserve it-- they were very good, and I felt a little out of my league, but figured that I hadn't gone there to win. But guess what? I DID go to win. Since I didn't place, and I was under no obligation to do any judging, I left. I said my goodbyes to Sandy, but I was so ready to go. I was that upset. I even saw that the table where Grandmaster was sitting was not busy, so I thought for a fleeting second to go get my photo taken with him, just to say I did it. But I had already changed out of my gi jacket into a TKD sweatshirt, and I just felt that I wasn't up to it. I got in the car, and came home, crying just about the whole way home.

Now, you might be thinking, "Hey, you're an adult. You shouldn't be upset like that. You should be a good loser, as you knew what you were getting into. All is fair in a competition like that." But I discovered something about myself. I don't like losing. Or at least not getting any recognition. Of 6 people in my ring, 5 people got some sort of recognition. I did not. If it had been a bigger ring, well, it'd be a matter of misery loves company. I wouldn't be alone in my defeat and lack of recognition. But I spent a freaking $60 just to enter, drive an hour away at an ungodly hour, put my best effort in (okay, weapons didn't work out, but hell, the forms I definitely did), and came out with absolutely nothing. It was SO not worth going. I knew it was a bad idea to go in so fresh off my new belt testing, but no. I had to talk myself into going for the sake of the competition, not for winning. I've always done well in some way, come away with something. This is the first time since I ever started competing that I have come home empty handed. I feel so defeated and worthless right now. Totally worthless. Oh, and then if it weren't for EL, I wouldn't have known that introductory stance would've been wrong, and then I didn't know that if I didn't have my state champion uniform (which I don't have yet, because, you know, that costs a lot of money), I was supposed to bring a copy of the state stats to show that I was a state champion. Like anybody told me that part! NOBODY TOLD ME. That pissed me off, especially since my instructor is the RCT, and she should have told me, and she didn't. She's never told me. It might not have mattered when it came to getting a "bye" in sparring, but it's the principle of the thing.

This has definitely made me question whether it's worth me continuing to compete. I've always gone thinking that I could rank, that I had a shot. Even this time, even if my weapons ended up being a mess (which is was the worst it has ever been), I thought that my form was pretty solid, and I had a decent shot at sparring. But nope. I think I've learned not to enter a competition if I don't think I'm ready. It's a waste of my time and money anyway otherwise. I've also learned that while it might not be adult of me, I am a poor loser. I don't like feeling defeated. I have so many other things working against me, I don't need anything else to be dragging down what little ego I have.

This may have been my last tournament. That's how much the experience soured me. If I'm still crying about it 4 hours after I left the arena, then it's not a good thing.


Penelope said...


I'm sorry stuff didn't go as well as your hoped :-(

As far as the State Champion and byes stuff goes, you only get it if you were a champion for sparring and *only* if you're wearing a State Champ uniform. It makes no difference if you bring a print out of the stats and/or were State Champ for forms or weapons. It all depends on the judges being able to see that patch. I've never heard of bringing a print out and certainly it's been made clear in the chevron clinics I've been to that a print out wouldn't make any difference.

As far as making a decision about future tournaments, I'd say wait and see. Four hours after what you feel like was a disasterous tournament isn't the time to make that decision. Heck, if someone'd asked me after Fall Nationals last year if I was going to compete again, I'd have told them no way in Hell (I've done 1A and I think 2Cs since). I'm not going to say that I understand competeing to win in the sense you mean it because I don't have the opportunity to do so and in any sport where I've ever had competitors, the chance of my winning was about equal to the chance of my being swallowed whole by the earth. But in the end, it's your decision. I'd just say don't make ultimatums about it. (Because in my experience, the whole "never" thing often causes me to eat my words eventually)

Anyway, more *hugs*. Will I see you next weekend?

AikiAddict said...

Bummer. I'm sorry. :( I think if we had tournaments in aikido, I'd feel just like you! I didn't know I was competitive until I started aikido 5 years ago. And it isn't even a "competitive" martial art! Hugs to you, and I agree with Penelope that 4 hours after a rough tournament isn't a good time to decide anything!