Saturday, September 18, 2010

That Went Well

And out the other side of the first Southern Indiana Open Karate Tournament. It went really well, and people seemed to have a lot of fun. We had good participation - I counted 36 kyu ranks and more than 20 black belts at bow in. The rings all ran smoothly - at least everything I saw did, and I haven't heard any rumors of other problems.

We owe a ton of thanks to Sensei Heidi Gauntner, who brought her own team of people, and organized this thing on the ground. From registration to ring assignments to sparring rules, they were all over it, and I don't know that we could have done it at all without them. It certainly wouldn't have run a tenth as smoothly.

I did my first stint as a judge. It was shockingly tiring. At the end of the day I was more beat than if I'd competed. On the other hand, I had fun doing it, and I'm much less nervous now about being asked to judge at another tournament. Our ring started with the 6-10 novice, then had the 10-12 novice, and finished up with the 12-16 advanced. Three of our students (one of them being Robbie) ended up in our ring. Robbie did better than I expected, but not very well, given that he hasn't actually practiced the kata he did more than twice in the last two weeks. He finished nowhere and was pretty upset about it (and it really sucks to have to give your own kid a low score). One of our brand new white belts was in the same division, and he also finished nowhere, but was much happier about it, given that he's only been in karate about six weeks, and only finished learning his kata last week. He was thrilled just to get through it solidly.

The last competitor from our dojo in my ring was our teenaged brown belt, T. He did fabulous - the best I've ever seen him do either his empty hand or his weapons kata. He very nearly took weapons, but was done in by his own legs when he clipped himself in the calf with his bo. He also needs to adjust for his sudden additional inches of height. He stands like he's 5'4", when he's a good 3-4" taller now and still growing. He finished second to one of Sensei Heidi's students in both weapons and kata, but took first in kumite, 3-2.

We had one other competitor (12-16 novice), but I haven't found out how he did yet - probably in Tuesday's class.

Anyway - I'm happy, Sensei's happy, the competitors seemed happy with the competition. A good day's work all around. Topped off with Robbie and Aaron going off to an overnight stay with their friend, leading to dinner, a movie, and a nice lengthy visit to a bookstore for their parents. First overnight without kids ever! Woohoo!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

One Week and Counting

Next Saturday is our dojo's first tournament. We have 19 competitors pre-registered (not counting our own students), and the estimate is for 30-40 total on the day. I probably won't be competing, but will be using the tournament for my first attempt at judging instead. I'm rather nervous about this, because I really don't want to screw something up and make someone's tournament an annoying experience (I've had a few tournaments marred by inexperienced, inattentive, or biased judges). Unfortunately, the only way to become an experienced judge is by being an inexperienced one, so onward we go!

How many competitors from our own dojo is very much an open question right now. There are two who are definite (our teen brown belt, and teen white belts), but we have a half-dozen new white belts, none with more than two months experience, who are excited about the idea of a tournament, but uncertain if they're ready to compete. They should all be there at least to observe, but I wouldn't blame them if they decided to sit it out just yet. Robbie hasn't made up his mind whether he wants to compete or not. Most likely he'll go for only kata, if he competes at all. He's having an awkward phase in his sparring right now, where he's finally starting to think about what to do instead of just flailing - but he's thinking too hard and freezing up.

The white belt kids are loving sparring, thus far. We have the usual white belt woes - control, hesitations and fear - but nothing that's scared any of them off yet.

In even better news, one of the kids has a mother who just started. It's an adult female student - Yay!!! She's hesitant, but liking it so far, and survived her first sparring night without incident. She's also a professional organizer, and she and I are now working together to put together Dad Wood's old room as my new sewing/knitting and karate room (yes, it's a sizeable room). I wouldn't have believed that everything could be fit into that room with enough space left over for kata practice, but it was. At this rate she may have a job with me for the next year or so, putting the rest of the house together, since my organizing skills are close to non-existent. I'll have to post some before/after pictures, but the difference in the room in incredible.

Tomorrow night is Sensei's meeting for the local black belts who are volunteering as judges. It'll be the first time I've seen a lot of these guys since we left KMA, so it should be a fun evening. Though I'll probably bring along a notepad, just to make sure I don't miss anything important.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Awesome. Axis of Awesome.

Everything you ever needed to know about hit pop songs.