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....


  1. Ha ha...Tigger. Took me a minute to get that one (I haven't been of "Pooh" age in a long time).

    Thankfully, even in the most sport-oriented kyokushin dojo, bouncing is not in how we fight. And the only time you leave the ground is to deliver something like a tobi hiza geri to the guy's face.

  2. I'm not really a bouncer either, it wastes too much energy. I try to stay light on my feet and move around a lot but you don't need to bounce to do that. My sensei said that if I'm fighting a younger person to stay still and let them bring the fight to me - let them waste their energy bouncing around!

    I admire you for still wanting to compete - I've given up!

  3. I hate bouncing, too! I also prefer competitions to more closely resemble actual fighting, however I've realized there is a big difference between sport and art (in karate and jiu-jitsu), so I try to walk the fine line between between the two. To me, competition is more about playing a game, but I still don't bounce very much during kumite!

  4. I fully agree with you, Felicia. Bouncing and sport is great for some, and more power to them, but I want to use what I train. I don't recall bouncing back and forth in every kata. I used to ask myself what was wrong when the kata didn't match the kumite - the answer is obvious now!

  5. Next time we meet, let's spar. We don't do it at all in my dojo (ergo, I have zero experience). That way, two traditional, non-bouncy goju chicks can have some fun and work on it. :)

  6. I don't bounce, but my sensei often does. From what I can tell, you don't have to bounce to fight a bouncer successfully, but you do need to have some experience with them. It's very easy to let their rate of bounce dictate the rhythm of the fight, or let all the motion get distracting. Which is why my sensei uses it. Against an opponent who knows better, he doesn't waste the energy.

  7. I am absolutely not a bouncer at all and I agree whole heartily with most of your post. I recently composed a similar blog about this, will you check it out? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Stephen,

      I checked out your post and wrote a reply that was quickly eaten by Internet gremlins! Suffice to say I agree with you - but I don't think competing is necessarily a bad thing (not that you said that, but...). Ms. Chelsea's performance in the video always gives me pause (kiaing on EVERY single technique - really?) and the sparring video is just...sad (did they forget they have hands to punch with as well as feet to kick with?!?) - but it is possible to do well presenting traditional forms traditionally (without the excessive hip rolls, horrible - but low! - stances and ear splitting screams)in sport karate. It's just important to understand that point kumite is tag and self-defense is not. A fellow MA friend of mine equated it to the "lady in the streets and a freak in the sheets" saying I usta hear a lot growing up. In other words, if you do both, it's important to understand that the two are not the same thing - then act accordingly :-)

      Thanks for stopping by :-)