Saturday, April 2, 2011

Rise from the ashes

We had a forms and sparring competition today. I was a forms judge most of the day for the 10-12 year old color belt group and the 13-17 black belt and black belt candidates group.

When it finally came time for me to do my form, I did very, very poorly. I brain locked once during my form (palgwe oh jang, go to about 2:45 of this video) and also struggled with my balance on my side kick.  It was pretty depressing. I only decided to do this form last night because I was having trouble with another one getting it confused with this one. I took it as a sign that I needed to switch. Next time I need to make more effort and try to perform better. I keep thinking there may not be a next time though. By next competition, I'm going to be an instructor and I won't have the time to participate in the actual forms competition.

Within about 20 minutes of finishing the forms competition, I had my sparring competition. I had to put the agony of defeat behind me and move on. I've done light contact sparring in class and it's always been physically exhausting. This was a level beyond that. Our matches consisted of 3 1 minute rounds with only 30 seconds of rest in between. In comparison, Olympic rounds are currently 3 2 minute rounds with 1 minute rest between each round. For my age group, I ended up having 4 different matches in the span of about 30 minutes. I went undefeated and took first place among all the adult males competing. It was thrilling and uplifting.

A few lessons I learned (or in some cases re-learned) from the day:

  1. Practice and repetition are essential in forms competitions. I get on autopilot when competing while doing the form and I'm not really thinking about what I'm doing. I need to program my autopilot better.
  2. Shin guards are essential equipment. I had the foresight to buy some yesterday. All the people who did not were suffering today. The most damage doesn't come from attacks on you but instead come from the blocks other people are doing to your kicks.
  3. Male protective equipment is also a must. Saved my family jewels more than once today. Never intentional. It just happens.
  4. Don't get predictable when you spar. Your opponent will remember what you do and make you pay. I used this to my advantage today relying on my opponent's tendencies to score points at the right time. I had the help of friends coaching me to point this out to me.
  5. I never knew judging could be so mentally draining.

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