Well on Saturday I blogged about my anticipation for my first Karate tournament, the IBS Nationals, which were held yesterday at the Niagara Park Sports Stadium. I’d developed a head-cold in the days before and was hoping it wouldn’t get worse before Sunday. I didn’t feel too bad but wasn’t 100%. Michael Little was there, also with his fiancee Kelly (3rd dan black belt in Tae Kwon Doe).
So how did we do? Well I had a lot of fun, got a couple of injuries, and learnt a lot about tournaments, too. Read on to find out more..
So straight to the results, then you can read the in-depth report if you’re interested.
I got 1st in Kata, and 3rd in Point Sparring. Which i’m fairly happy with for my first time out, but of course there’s always a level of disappointment because you know you could’ve done better.
I arrived a bit after 12pm, an hour before my first event, Kata, was scheduled to start. I started warming up and stretching about 30 minutes out and the nerves started kicking in. We were called up to our mat and found there were only 3 competitors in our Kata division – of which Michael and I were two of them. I was up 3rd, and the scores were shown after each competitor so you knew what you had to get. I performed Heian Godan, and although the adrenalin was pumping I made no mistakes and stuck all the techniques. I was really happy with my performance and I scored in the 8’s from each of the three judges – enough to win the event! Michael got second and was a little disappointed in himself as he ended up off the mat and got distracted at one point.
The video below shows me doing the Heian Godan Kata. It was recorded by one of Kelly’s friends, but unfortunately she didn’t record the middle part of the kata. I guess she figured it was over after the first kiai.
There wasn’t much time in-between events and we started getting ready for the Point Sparring, putting on all the protective gear (groin guard, head guard, mouth guard, shins and kick boots and gloves). Kate and the kids arrived to watch just before we started the sparring which could’ve added to my nerves, but I was very nervous already 🙂
As we lined up for our event, we found that again there were only 3 competitors in the Point Sparring – Michael, myself and one other. Michael was up first against the 3rd guy. It was fairly evenly matched at the start, getting to 3-3 before Michael was hit with a kick to the head, resulting in 2 points for the other guy and a match win 5-3.
I was up next in my first sparring match ever, against the winner of the previous match. I was so nervous and the adrenalin was really pumping. He was quite an aggressive fighter – a pressure fighter always coming forward. I managed to forget everything I knew thanks to the nerves, and fought him on his terms. I went down 2-0 before coming back and it was 3-3 before he scored the last 2 points to take the match 5-3. He got me with a very nice reverse punch to the solar plexus, and also a lovely thrusting side kick to the chest which I can still feel today.
Next match I was up against Michael Little. I knew more about Michael’s style so knew a bit about what to expect but was still extremely nervous. I just wasn’t fighting to my strengths and let Michael control the match early on. He got off to an early lead (2-0) before I clawed it back to 2-2, then he went up 4-2 but I managed to score two in a row to take it to 4-4. Next point wins! Michael scored and won the match 5-4 but I felt it could’ve gone either way. I can only remember a few of the scoring techniques – the rest is a blur 🙂
One of Kelly’s friends was recording the match on video camera, i’ve uploaded it to youtube and you can click on the video above to watch.
So I lost both matches and came 3rd (out of 3 :)) but it was a very valuable learning experience. The nerves really got the better of me and I managed to forget everything I knew and had learned. It wasn’t until I was down 3-2 against Michael that I finally started to relax and fight the way I know I can – moving around, circling, being looser and more dynamic. For the first match and half of the second I made so many errors:
- I was flat footed! I’m a natural circle fighter and yet I hardly moved my feet.
- I let them control the match. The first guy was a pressure fighter and I didn’t take that away from him. I fought on his terms and lost because of it.
- I didn’t keep my distance. My strengths are my feel of distance and my footwork – and yet I didn’t use either of these and it cost me.
- I waited for them to attack instead of trying to control the match.
- I was so tense! Not loose, not dynamic. It showed what the nerves can do to me.
I also learnt that there is a lot of luck in these tournaments. Several times in both matches a point was awarded against me for a technique which I felt wasn’t even close – or where we both hit but it went against me. But it went both ways, too. I was awarded a point a couple of times for a technique which I felt wasn’t a scoring one – so I guess it all evens out. It just takes some getting used to.
If i’d been able to recognise my errors earlier the results may have been different, but the better competitors won on the day. I learnt some valuable lessons about tournaments and about myself and hopefully I won’t make the same mistakes in the next one.
I copped a couple of injuries.. a sore big toe (but that’s fairly normal for me fighting on those mats), and bruised ribs from the kick to the chest. I hope they’re not cracked, but I’ve never had cracked ribs so i’m not sure what it would feel like. It didn’t hurt straight away but has felt worse as time goes on. I’ll see how it feels tomorrow, hopefully it starts to improve.
Anyway it was great to get the first tournament out of the way, and add a couple of pieces of plastic silverware to start the trophy collection 🙂
Jacob and Eliza took some photos from a fair distance away (using Kate’s compact digital), so they’re fairly blurry and were very noisy. But so far it’s the only record I’ve got. You can see them in the gallery, IBS Nationals.
Thanks for reading.