Well, NaNoWriMo seems to be off to a good start. I'm up over 5000 words despite spending the weekend up in Akron, OH. Plus, after the first scene, the re-created Flayed Queen seems to be taking off in a significantly different direction than the first one, which is good in two ways. First, it means I'm not limiting myself to trying to imitate something I did before closely, which would be very limiting. Second, my first edition of FQ got stuck at about the three-quarter mark with plotting issues involving an extremely uncooperative character.
This time, I seem to be concentrating on different aspects of the plot, and I have pre-warning of my stubborn survivalist, so I have hopes of a clean run to the end. I even got in about five hand-written pages while I was on the road, which kept me on track for word count. Wish me luck as I plow into the middle sections in the next few days.
As I do at the start of every November, I spent this weekend up at the Lennox Legacy tournament. It's run by Sensei Heidi Gauntner, who is one of the most experienced tournament organizers in the Isshinryu world - by now she runs an excellent smooth tournament - always worth going to. This year was a little different. Sensei Gauntner will be running the IWKA Isshinryu World Tournament in 2013, and she is starting now to try to make things run smoothly. Toward this end, she is working with a few of the most highly ranked people in the IWKA (Hanshi Duessel and Hanshi Markum) to create a new set of rules for judges within the IWKA. The new rules are intended to encourage more clean, proper technique and more consistent judging both within and across rings.
Since revealing the new rules at the giant World Tournament would be an invitation to disaster, Sensei Gauntner held a seminar on Friday night for all the black belts who could make it, to explain, discuss and illustrate the new rules. The center judges at the Lennox Legacy were then chosen from those who had been at the seminar, and supposedly disseminated to the corner judges.
The seminar was really interesting, and having been over them thoroughly now, I like most of the new rules. There are bits that need to be better explained, or more explicitly stated, but it's a much better set of guidelines than we've ever had to go by before. Applying them the next day proved to be a lot more difficult, as a number of the judges, including ones who were at the seminar, and absolutely should have known better, were only applying the new standards haphazardly. My particular center judge was mostly applying the new rules, but failed to explain them to her corners at all, and on a couple of occasions ignored them for no apparent good reason. I gather some of the other judges were uneven in application, probably due to confusion or disagreement with some of the standards. In general, though, the new standards seemed to hold up well. The new kata scoring system in particular seemed to work much more smoothly. I suspect that the new rules will be in effect in pretty similar form to this by the World Tournament, and that they will work pretty well, despite the inevitable pain and grousing of trying to get this kind of change through a bunch of people as inherently conservative (in the non-political sense) as senior black belts.
I was intending to compete this year, but got drafted by the scorekeepers instead. There were a good number of competitors, but a real shortage of support people (making Heidi and Marybeth's superb organizational skills a real life-saver), so I opted to go where I was needed. Scorekeeping turned out to be both informative and a lot of fun (my partner was great), and I got to see a lot more of what was going on than I usually do. I do want to compete at the World Tournament, though, so if Marybeth wants to draft me again, she's going to have to wait until the senior women blackbelt ring finishes.
Summary - Lennox Legacy is a great tournament, a lot of fun, and you should go (it's open, not Isshinryu only).
For this week - I'm on a writing/cleaning challenge kick. I'm hoping to spend the next few days alternating between writing NaNo and cleaning my disaster of a house. With any luck you should see a before/after post or some variant of one later this week. In the meanwhile, wish me luck - I take Robbie (who is needle phobic) in for a blood draw in the morning.