OT: Tournament weekend in Traverse City Michigan … weapons, sparring, and kata (with video)

I took friday off of work (sort of), and we drove up to Traverse City for the White Tigers tournament. Kudos to them for putting on a nice event.
My daughter participated in 2 events, weapons and hand kata, and I did 3 as I also did kumite (sparring).
Between the two of us, we brought home 4 trophies … 1 first (kata), 2 second (sparring and weapons), and 1 third (weapons). These trophies are quite nice … not the regular trophies-R-us type things. I’ll try to get a picture up about these.
She did an awesome job … I am so pleased with her effort. We did the same kata and the same weapons kata, and I did get to watch a portion of hers while I was waiting in line for mine.
I carbed up in the morning, and … wow … what a difference that made. Also, thanks to the kidney stones bit, I am consuming ~100-120 oz of water per day. Its hard to drink that much. But I have to and I have to drink even more than that when exercising like this.
This said, on to the videos.

First, this is me performing tokomine-no-kun, first bo kata of Isshinryu style. The black belt sitting off in the distance is Sensei U. from my school. I think I caught a number of the major mistakes I made here (sweeps weren’t good, hands moving before feet). But this is overall better than the first effort in January time frame this past year.
Deep analysis can wait some. I did a better job of handling the bo than in previous events. My hands were hurting a little from some inflammation, and it was hot and humid in that room. So I had to correct for the possibility of too much moisture on the bo or my hands. This means going slower.
That sage advice came from Sensei U in a different situation. These kata are not a race … the first one done doesn’t win. The one who does the basic techniques correctly, and builds upon that, this is the winner. I tried to go slower here, demonstrate more control, and only dial up power or speed when it made sense.
Understand that the bo is a wooden staff, and is not that easy to move quickly. It takes a great deal of energy to do so. I paced myself with my breathing, trying to use that as something like a metronome. This helped as well.
Second place for this. Not bad. Large division (5-6 competitors), so I wasn’t unhappy with this.
Next, the open hand kata. I chose to do Seiunchin. This is a little more involved than Seisan kata, and requires some more … sense … if you will … of your orientation and positioning. Angles are very important to get right here. And breathing. Must breath. Isshinryu and other styles all have controlled breathing aspects for specific katas. You shouldn’t be out of breath by doing the kata. Part of this is that I am (getting to be) an old fart who let the time between grad school and now go to waste from a physical fitness point of view (and yeah, I’m paying for it). But I am feeling better than before, and getting the hang of these things. Slowly … surely … getting the hang of them.
I did a number of things wrong here. I bobbled my feet after performing the X block. There were some pauses longer than needed. I didn’t quite get my feet positioning right on a few of the turns and had to steady myself. My assisted blocks weren’t quite as good as the could have been.
And the biggie, which I didn’t realize until I saw the video (and any Isshinryu kyu or dan from the school, see if you can spot it). Give you a hint. Immediately before the second kiyah. I effectively blew through the second “number 15 basic” that goes there. It was there, but it flowed immediately into the next move, so it wasn’t discernable as a technique unto itself. Ugh.
Somehow, the judges thought I did a good job. I took first place for this.
Finally, on to the sparring (kumite). I had two bouts. First against a less experienced person, and next against someone else. I took second place.
Here is the first bout (the girl hugging me at the beginning is my daughter)
I eventually won 5-2. The last kick I did I aimed at his chest, and he ducked into it. 2 points for head shot. Not too happy about that, I need better control.
But this set my thoughts for how to approach the second round. Notice that I didn’t need to be too quick for this first fellow. I can get some good bursts of speed going when needed, but, I have to be ready for this. The first fellow trained me to be passive until I saw the opening and then took it, or created an opening with a feint or a purposefully designed kick/punch to draw out their guard.
I needed to forget that for the second fight. This one I lost in a 5-2 score.
3 of his points were kicks that I caught in my arms. Only one landed and I deflected them generally. In class we focus more on the “real world” fight situations. So I am not focusing on getting points with roundhouse kicks, or how to deflect them. This isn’t a cop out, it means I need to think on how to start deflecting them, in the context of the real world situation. Sensei U showed me one method a few weeks ago, and sadly, I didn’t employ it.
The other problem is, as noted before, the other guy (being much bigger) required I generate more power to get through his guard. So I started out tight, and not relaxed and loose. If I were a better fighter, I’d be relaxed and loose. That meant that this guy, seeing a tightly wound opponent, could relax and move faster. First I had to unlock to get started. That took time.
I also tried the inside fight. This is something I think I am ok at. Take the fight to the opponent. Exploit power and speed at a very close range. Most people are uncomfortable with this. I am not fully comfortable with it yet either. But you can see in the point I got effectively chasing him down and blasting through his guard. When I do this, I score. This happened last time as well. I need to get more comfortable being the aggressor.
The other score I got on him was from a well aimed kick. I kept the power dialed down on these.
Towards the end, I get clocked in the “nether region”. Yeah. It hurt.
This guy had a reasonably fast punch. I have a number of defenses against it, but I wasn’t thinking of them. Initially I thought I had no defense, but in retrospect, I see several, some of which we do practice. I need to practice more. I got clocked in the left eye 3 times. No damage, no black eye. There wasn’t a great deal of power behind his punches or kicks. I should have been able to deflect every one of them.
Kevin from my school saw the fight, and made some good comments to me on it. I’ll pick his brain more tomorrow. Mike M as well. I’ll like to show him what happened and see if we can work on this so that I can make sure I respond reasonably in future bouts.
In the mean time, I need to clean up more of Seiunchin, and get on to finishing the basic moves of Niahanchi, and polishing that up as well. Many more tournaments coming up, and I want to be ready.

4 thoughts on “OT: Tournament weekend in Traverse City Michigan … weapons, sparring, and kata (with video)”

  1. Yes I saw the little skip in Seiuchin but
    overall it was good.
    Have other comments but will save
    them for class.
    See you in class.

  2. @Sensei Bates
    Thanks! Lots of things to work on, and it helps to have these on video to see exactly what I did versus what I think I did. Feel free to use these/post these, and if you need a different format, we can change the video to something else. I’ll try to get the whole thing onto a USB stick for a week from thursday for you.

  3. I like your monolog as it shows you are recognizing
    where you were good or bad. This way you will be
    more confident in next performance.
    Remember that we have seen this kata probably
    thousands of times and we look for little mistakes
    that can be corrected.
    This format is fine for this discussion, however,
    we probably would need just the videos for putting
    on the website.

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