Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My Name's Not Tigger

Because Tigger's bounce. And I don't.

I'm talking about all that jumping up and down during kumite. I hate that stuff - not because I CAN'T do it but because I don't WANT TO do it. It's got nothing to do with my knees (they are old, but they can still move when I need them to) or my asthmatic lungs (which are well-medicated and controlled, thank you very much) - but because bouncing is NOT fighting, it's bouncing - plus it seems to waste lots of energy (a direct violation of my former sensei's "six calorie rule" - about how much effort I want to use to end the fight while hoping my adversary uses much more) - but that is the name of the game in sports karate kumite, it seems.

Because I don't bounce, I got my head (and my butt and a few other body parts, LOL) handed to me in the opening round of kumite Grand Championships in my first KRANE circuit tournament yesterday. Don't misunderstand, I'm mobile - just not all "Bouncy Tag" and stuff. Considering it was my WORST FIGHT EVER (and that includes my very first kumite competition eight years ago where I promptly got DQ'ed for excessive head contact), I might hafta re-think my "No Bounce" rule - especially if I want to give this sports karate circuit thing a shot. Not having sparred since my last local tournament in October, I felt out of my element anyway, which was terrible - just like it was in that first team sparring tournament all those years ago. It. Was. AWFUL.

Trouble is, I'm a bit of a traditionalist in that I like techniques to at least sort of look the same during point fighting (kumite) and presentation (kata) as they do in the dojo. No extreme embelishments and no kiai-like sounds on every. single. technique; No glitter weapons and no musical kata (which are cool - just not my thing), either. But I also understand that I need to do something different if I want to net different results. Sigh...

Although I didn't begin karate to compete, competing IS sorta in my blood. For 24 years, I trained 5 to 6 days a week, concluding said week with a meet from November through July. Of course track and field and karate are totally different animals, but I hafta admit that the idea of competing against others my age (and usually younger, as was the case yesterday) intrigues me - so much so that I have decided to go a NASKA tournament in a few weeks, which means I gotta figure out a way around or through this thing if I'm going to step in the ring in sparring gear and a helmet.

Ironically, my kata went pretty well yesterday - which usually isn't the case (because I tend to get very nervous and rush through my form when presenting to the judges). I was the only 40-49-year-old female black belt in the traditional forms division, but I presented anyway. I would have won without presenting it, but I figured doing the "no contest" round would help set the butterflies free before the Grand Championship got underway. I finished 6th out of 7 competitors (black belt winners from other age divisions) but I think I did the best I could for that day. The only thing I'm bummed about with kata was that I didn't follow my game plan and presented a different form than I originally intended because, well, I got nervous and ended up settling for my "back pocket" kata (the one I know I can smooth out and compete with no matter what). The other kata - a Shotokan form with a whole lot of back stances (mine still need work because there aren't any in Goju or Goju-Ryu) and some spinning one-legged stuff - had me doubting whether I could get through it without a major bobble or even a slip. Yeah, I was a bit of a mental mess yesterday for sure.

But now that I've done it - and no fire and brimstone fell from the sky when I got my booty kicked and actually lost a fight - I know what to expect next time. I learned some things and took some stuff home to work on.

But to bounce or not to bounce? That is the question....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Leg Work

Earnestly dipping my toes into Goju-Ryu - the root of USA Goju, the style I've studied now for eight years. The classes are great and we do lots of two-person sparring and bunkai drills and tear apart kata a like you wouldn't believe, working stances and bettering footwork. Then I jump in my car and drive the hour home. No biggie, really (been doing the long travel to get to and from class for over five years now, so I'm used to it), but tonight when I walked up those six stairs that lead to my front door, my legs felt...different. OK, they felt tired as all get out - a lot like they do after a good "leg day" at the gym. Of course I tried to figure out why I felt like I'd squatted when I hadn't and then it hit me: we'd done lots of shiko dachi (horse stances) in class. Seems like all that bending at the knees will tax even the most well-conditioned quad - fancy that!

My old lady knees held up fine, but my quads are shot. I have a feeling I might be a bit sore tomorrow. I know it sounds like I'm whining, but I'm actually kinda liking being sore the day after a good, taxing workout. It's a great reminder of the fun had the day prior - and I really like feeling that as soon as I swing my feet over the side of the bed in the morning.

I love learning this martial stuff! I hope that feeling never, ever goes away...