Wednesday, 23 February 2011

There's no "I" in team...

Following the... erm... learning experience of the last tournament I have the added honour of competing in both the individual and team kata in Hartlepool on the 20th March.

I am genuinely looking forward to this one, as I feel slightly more comfortable being judged on kata than kumite and whilst some of my own kata interpretations may have a whiff of shotkan about them, they're no more varied than the range of Wado versions I saw at the last comp. When it comes to team kata though I am seriously re-learning every step.

Sensei Rick last night had us spend 20 minutes on the walk-in, and frankly, we needed it. Not only are we three different heights and three different grades, but we have three very different Martial Arts backgrounds; me from Shotokan with my long slow stances and eroneous kicks, Andy from LKA who studies budo with Sakagami and is therefore very precise, and Alex, a young Cypriot Sandan who performs snappy kata like a bullet. 

It amazes me how even individuals from the same clubs can vary kata according to their understanding and bunkai, or their own physiology, so I wasn't surprised that there were many many many differences in how each of us perform our kata. Having run through only two so far; a mandatory Pinan Godan and Wanshu we are stopping after every technique to correct and compare and assimiliate. The guys have loads of advice on how to "Wadoise" what I do and I'm delighted that they are happy to adopt some minor shotoisms regarding timing and posture. 

But what we really need is about 100 more hours of traning, a mirror and a video camera... and maybe some thumping bass tunes to keep us in time?

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Down but not out

As promised the update on my first Wadokai competition reads pretty much as anticipated. Knocked out in the first round. 5:1!

However prepared I was to lose, no-one goes into a fight without a winning attitude so I was mightily pissed off to go out so soon, and having watch a video of  (the last 40 seconds) of the bout, I have to say that I've learnt a lot from this. Sadly, I absolutely deserved to lose. My opponent was faster, more relaxed and more composed that I, I was slow towards the end and my combinations were pretty weak. On the plus side, I lasted the length of the bout, did score 1 point (see my comments below regarding a perfectly good headshot that was disallowed for excessive contact #soreloser). And a few of the gyak points the other figher scored had hit my glove - but fair play to her for getting them scored.

Having watched a lot of fights on the day whilst waiting for mine, (and after my unceremonious exit!) these are my observations;

1. The rules regarding scoring and what actually seems to score do differ when you're on the mat.

Officially attacks to the face with light contact are allowed. However in every ladies match I watched, every successful tap to the face was disallowed or penalised. Both me and my opponent scored one of these each and had them discounted. Whether this is a form of mild sexism or that my idea of light contact and that of the referees is different I'm not sure. But all of the mens matches seemed to be fine with that level of contact to the face.

2. Just because you hit your opponent don't expect to score, as the referees may not see your attack land in the melee.

Both me and my opponent landed attacks that weren't scored and I must have seen a dozen in similar bouts. Better to have good technique and a convincing kiai and be close enough to cause reasonable doubt.

3. Just because your opponent isn't attacking don't stand still!


4. Don't get drawn into attacking because it's "all gone quiet over there".

Let them come to you and counter. Most points are scored this way.

I'm pretty sure the above is absolutely obvious to anyone who competes regularly, so apologies for what must be quite a bland blog post for you. For me though it was a brilliant learning experience. I now know I need to push out my guard more and concentrate on body shots if I want to actually score anything.

Whilst the disappointment stings a bit this is a day from which I take pride in the effort, if not the skill, I afforded it. The best part of the day? Watching the other members of my club do us proud. Junaid and Patrick respectivly winning Gold and Silver in their category, and Alex a bronze in the men's kata!

!Keizoku wa chikara nari!