Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Deep South Martial Arts Championship

As promised I am blogging about the martial arts tournament I competed in last Saturday. I was pretty nervous. I'm always nervous before a tournament. This is what felt like before I competed.

Picture from Rambling Rican

Once I actually started to perform, I felt better. In both kata I did a couple of "kiai." "Kiai" means "spirit shout." A kiai is basically deep breathing with a shout added to it. Deep breathing helps you relax, so the kiai helped me to not be so nervous. The kiai was originally meant to startle opponents and momentarily distract them. Now the kiai is often used in kata competitions. A good kiai impresses the judges. It also gives you power. Exhaling just before you strike adds power to the strike.

The first event I competed in was weapons kata. I performed the kusanku no sai kata. Here's a video of it. The guy who bows to me before I enter the ring is another one of Sensei Stanley's students, btw. When I step up to the judges I bow and do my introduction. I say my name, the style of karate I study, the school I represent, and the kata that I'm going to perform. I was nervous, so I stumbled a bit on that.

At the beginning of the sai kata I have one sai up and one down. Kusanku is called the "moonlight kata." It's as though I'm out in the woods at night and there's a full moon. I'm using one hand to shield my eyes so I can look around, and the other hand is guarding my groin, or maybe pushing something out of the way. In Isshinryu the weapons kata don't have kicks, so the part where I jump up in the air is not a kick. I'm not sure what that is. When I drop down low after that jump I am getting down where I won't be seen and looking for my opponent.

Kusanku no sai is a variation of the kusanku kata, which I performed in the empty-hand division. the empty-hand version is very similar to the sai version, although the empty-hand one has kicks and the sai one does not. Also the sai version is longer. It includes some moves that are not in the empty-hand version. In the empty-hand kata I am fighting several opponents. Eight, I think. Here are some pictures of it.

I got 4th place in the weapons division and second place in the empty-hand division. I didn't get first place like I was hoping for, but I certainly did better than I did at the tournament in April. In April I did not place in weapons. They only do trophies through 4th place and I got 5th place last time. Same for the time before that, last November. This was the first time I got a trophy in the weapons division. Last time in the empty-hand division I got 3rd place...out of three competitors. I was not satisfied with my performance back in April. The day of the tournament and several times after I said that that would not happen again. I would do better at the next tournament. And I did. I still didn't get first place, but I did better than I did in April.

In the tournament next spring I plan to do three divisions; weapons kata, empty-hand kata, and grappling. And I plan to get first place in at least one of those divisions. These tournaments are my version of Sasuke. I am still aiming for my own kanzen seiha. I haven't gotten it yet, but like my hero, Shingo Yamamoto, I won't give up. I will keep trying. Next time I will win.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Martial Arts Tournament

It's been quite a while since I posted on here. I'm planning to do a post this weekend or early next week. I'm competing in a martial arts tournament on Saturday. These tournaments are done twice a year. In April it's the Holiday in Dixie tournament and in November it's the Deep South Martial Arts Championship. These are open tournaments. That means that people from any style can compete. The man in charge of the tournament runs an Isshinryu karate dojo. A lot of his students compete. The dojo I attend is also an Isshinryu dojo and a lot of the students from there compete. In addition to Isshinryu students, there are also kung fu students, tae kwon do students, and students who do various forms of karate, such as Kenpo and Shotokan.

Here are some pictures from the tournament last April.

In these pictures I'm doing the Tokumine no kun kata. A kata with the bo, the wooden staff. I got 5th place. I also competed in empty-hand kata and got third place. I want to do better than that this time. In the tournament this Saturday I am competing in weapons kata and empty-hand kata again. This time I am doing the kusanku kata for empty-hand, and the kusanku no sai kata for weapons. I mentioned in previous posts that I love watching Sasuke. These martial arts tournaments are my version of Sasuke. I am trying for my own kanzen seiha. In the six tournaments I've competed in I've never won a first place trophy. This time I want to get first place in at least one of the two divisions I'm competing in. That will be my personal kanzen seiha. And like my hero, Shingo Yamamoto, I won't give up. I've never won first place, but I'll keep coming back and trying until I do.