On Sunday, 28th June 2009, I competed in the National All Styles tournament at Ryde, NSW. It was Round 3 in their event calendar, and my second NAS event for the year after I competed in Round 1 back in March.
I was a little nervous and a little excited to be competing again, and was keen to see if I could improve on my previous showings – not so much my placing, but my technique, my form, my confidence to “go” and attack.
I competed in the Open Continuous Sparring, the Advanced Intermediate Forms (Kata) (3rd Kyu – 1st Kyu), and the Advanced Intermediate Point Sparring (3rd Kyu – 1st Kyu). I’m currently a 3rd Kyu, so was up against black belts in the continuous sparring and people around my level for the other 2 events.
In general I was pretty happy with how I went, placing 3rd (out of 6) in the Continuous Sparring, 2nd (out of 2 :)) in the Kata and 2nd (out of 4) in the Point Sparring.
Please read on to see more images and video of my events.
I arrived at about 11am, and the Open Point Sparring was underway. I felt a bit rushed then as my continuous sparring event was on next. So I quickly got changed and started warming up and stretching and trying to control my nerves.
There were 6 people in the division – 4 karate, 1 taekwondo and 1 hapkido (I think). My first round was against a young black belt karate guy (who went on to win the division), and it was a great fight. We were fairly evenly matched but he was better on the day, connecting with more techniques and generally being the aggressor for more of the time. It was a good round, although very tiring.
My second round was the playoff for 3rd and 4th, and I was up against a black belt taekwondo guy who had already had to fight in 2 previous rounds (compared to my one), so he was exhausted. It really was just bag work, as he was too tired to put up much defence, let alone any attack.
I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to have fought a 3rd round 🙂 I won that round and placed 3rd in the division.
I’m still not a huge fan of continuous sparring (especially for the novice divisions and younger divisions where it’s a terrible display of martial arts), but it has its advantages for me – it’s a great warmup, great to get the nerves out and it’s a real test of stamina. The rounds are only 1 min 30 seconds each, but they feel like they go for 5 minutes and it definitely helps to be very fit! Something I’ll continue to work on!
My kata is generally ok, but certainly not super strong. I don’t put enough time or effort into practising it, but again it’s an event which helps gets the nerves out, and gives you that competition practise which will no doubt help for gradings down the track.
I performed Heian Godan again, and had not practised it since NAS Round 1 back in March. So I spent about 10-15 minutes going over it again and stretching out. Unfortunately there were only two in my division and I was up second.
I felt ok about my performance, but it was by no means perfect and on this occassion wasn’t enough as I was edged out and placed second.
Point sparring was directly after the Kata, so I had to rush and get the protective gear on and mentally prepare. There were only 4 in the division. I’d seen 2 of the other guys compete before so I knew what to expect, and although they were reasonably talented, I wasn’t intimidated. I just had to execute my techniques (first!) and stay confident.
The first round was quite low scoring and like all tournaments, the scoring was a bit soft and inexplicable in parts. There were times when my opponent scored and I knew he didn’t hit me, and vice versa, one point where I didn’t hit him and yet I scored the point. I think it was 2-2 and down to the the last 10 seconds when he got lazy and I scored an easy reverse punch to take the lead just before the time ran out.
Round 2 now, and the playoff for 1st and 2nd. I hadn’t been in this position before, so I was a little more nervous. It was a very see-sawing match, with both of us going almost point for point. I scored a head kick to go ahead 3-1, and was at 4-2 before he scored a few points to even it up (at least one of them looked like I got him first ;)).
We were very evenly matched and a similar type of fighter. All the points were very closely contested with both of us hitting with a jab or a reverse punch, and the referees had to decide who scored first.
It was 4-4 when the time ran out, so we went into sudden death mode – first to score wins. Two times during sudden death someone scored, but it wasn’t unanimous so no point was awarded. On the third time my opponent got in first and scored with a punch to the head to win the match and the division.
All up, I was quite happy with how I went. I definitely felt more confident and comfortable than last time, and I felt I did put into practice some of the things I learned from last time and that I wanted to improve on – 1) Going first more often (still need to work on that), and 2) executing more kicks (again, it was better but more work is needed).
With some more work on my weaknesses over the next 2 months, hopefully I can do one better in NAS Round 4, on August 23rd.
Thanks for reading.