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!


  1. Bad luck Suze! We generally learn more from our failures than our successes so I'm sure you'll do better next time. We are told that to score you must not only make light contact but you must pull back the punch/kick cleanly as well, contact alone will not score.

  2. Well, alright! It takes a lot of courage to even get into the ring, so hats off to you for doing your thing. Remember, even the world's best boxers, MMAs, kickboxers and karateka get hit!

    Just like you did, I always see things that are a little out of whack in tournament sparring - and I agree that some of it is sexist in nature - like a tourney last year where the female sparring winners in each division were not allowed to fight each other for the grand championship while the males were). Some of it may be happenstance - like the points you know you and your opponent scored but were not counted because not enough judges saw them. Perhaps having an uneven number of judges (3 or 5) is great for avoiding a tie, but it may not be so good if you happen to connect with a reverse punch but only two of the five judges catch it. Sometimes, even when a punch hits nothing but glove, the sound makes the judges on the other side who only HEARD it without seeing the actual technique go ahead and award the point anyway. It really sucks...

    And head contact should be head contact, IMHO. At the last tourney I went to (mixed styles), it was made clear at the BB meeting that NO HEAD CONTACT in the kyu divisions was to be allowed, yet time and time again I saw points awarded for light touches to the helmet. At the same BB meeting, they said that controlled/non-excessive head contact was allowed in the dan divisions, but no explanation of either term was offered, which made it too subjective. You can guess the mini chaos that resulted...

    Maybe it is a good thing, then, that international competitions have CERTIFIED judges. I'm sure there are still issues, but...

    Anyway, I'm high-fiving the 'puter screen for your success - and it was one because of what you learned/observed. And that you have your match on tape is a great thing. It's an amazing learning/training tool, which I'm sure you already know...

    Thanks for sharing, Suze :-)