Sunday, October 15, 2006

Countdown to the Legacy

The Lennox Legacy tournament that is. I'll be sending in my registration sheet on Wed, the tournament is in Ohio in two weeks. I need more practice on my kumite skills than I'm likely to get, and I need to practice my kata like there's no tomorrow.

The kumite thing is going to be hard. My biggest problem in kumite is that I tend to overanalyze, trying to run the fight with my mind, instead of my body, and it slows me down. I'm not the fastest person going to begin with, and if I start analyzing too, it's just hopeless. Unfortunately the only real way I've found to get around this is to simply fight, and fight, and fight some more, until what I need to do becomes automatic. Tournaments are invariably the worst way for me to show good kumite, because I always start off thinking hard, and loosen up as time goes on. I can't tell you how often I've finally hit my stride - just as I'm about 1 point off of being eliminated - and then can't make it up enough, and out I go. I think it's part of why I did so well at the local place last year. I was in the beginner's division, and the poor woman I was paired up with first was no threat at all. She had no fighting experience, and really had no clue what she was doing. She did, however, serve to get me into "fighting mode", so that when a bout with a more experienced opponent came along, I was ready to go. I wound up by fighting (and winning) against a woman five ranks higher than I was, though I think the skunking I gave her was mostly shock. Once I won the first two points, she just stopped trying to score, and strictly defended.

So the question becomes, with no chance to really stretch myself in kumite between now and then, how do I keep from getting eliminated before I even start? Sensei offered back about six months ago to spar with me before competition starts, but he's having hand surgery on Tuesday, so I don't think that's in the offing (and I'm certainly not going to ask for it). It's a conundrum.

On kata, things are also strange. I should be competing with Wansu - and it's really my only choice if I want to be competitive in this venue. Naihanchi is a lovely kata, but it simply doesn't hold up in competition. On the other hand - I don't know all of Wansu yet. I'm almost there - about 4/5th of the way through, and I'm pretty comfortable that a) I will know it by then, and b) I do what I do thus far well. Still it feels really weird to be prepping a kata for competition that I don't actually know the end of yet.

In other news, I'm teaching my first planned solo class on Tuesday (Sensei's hand surgery as mentioned above). It should be interesting. I had to sit(nearly literally) on one of our Tuesday regulars today for failing to respect a senior belt who happens to be his age. Fortunately, for all the trouble this kid gives most of his seniors, he seems to respect (or is that fear?) me almost as much as he does Sensei. That is to say, enough to do what we tell him to do - when we're looking.

Sensei says he should be back teaching Thursday, but we have a back-up plan in place, just in case. I'm really glad he's getting his hand fixed though. He tore ligaments back in April, and it's taken this long to get him to surgery and have them reattached. For all that time he's been teaching with a left hand that simply can't take any sort of punishment. Learn from Sensei - block with a closed hand, not a loose open one!


[Mat] said...

"So the question becomes, with no chance to really stretch myself in kumite between now and then, how do I keep from getting eliminated before I even start?"

other dojo. But that's only my point of view. :-) Not for good, only for sparring. Some dojo offer that. Cross-style sparring classes. Look it up!

I wish you the best on your upcoming kata. And for the class too. You'll do great!

Miss Chris said...

Be sure you let us know how the tournament was after you get back.

PerpetualBeginner said...

Will do, Chris.

Thanks for the suggestion, Mat. I may or may not be able to make it work, but I'll sure give it a try!