Illinois Valley Karate Tournament – Results


So, Mike the Kung Fu Guy turned us on to this tournament. And, I have to say this was the most fun we’ve had at a tournament for a long time. First of all, instead of trophies, they awarded “etched mugs.” Call them something different for kids, if you want. But, I’m an adult (and a former sorority member), so I know what they really were: beer mugs. And they were freakin’ AWESOME!

On a side note, while waiting to perform our weapons kata, Kung Fu Mike was joking that he kept accidently stabbing passersby with his sword. I said, “this is going to sound weird but can I touch the tip of your sword. I’ve been dying to touch it since I first saw your kata.”

He laughed but let me touch his sword. I think it was made of tin or aluminum. When he performs his kata, you can sometimes hear the sword bend back and forth with a distinct “boing” sound. Obviously, he can’t use a real sword because of safety reasons. I’ve been curious about the weight, thickness and material of his weapon forever, but never felt comfortable enough to ask for a closer look. (It seems kind of rude to ask someone of a different style to touch their weapon.)

Okay, here’s the fun stuff.

Kata: There were three competitors in our division, Teri got first (with an injured knee). I got third. (Yah, yah, big surprise.)

When I was shaking hands with the judges one of them said, “I just want you to know I marked you as second.” I gave him my biggest smile and he said he would have liked to have seen more snap in my elbow strikes. The judge next to him, when shaking my hand, said he noticed I was looking the “wrong direction” during some of my techniques and it threw him off. (Way more specific than Brett’s assessment in Naperville that I looked dazed and confused. But, I think it follows the same idea.) The third judge found me after sparring. She said that, while watching me spar, she remembered what she wanted to tell me about my kata: that I was looking down. She noticed when I sparred, too.

So that was pretty cool, it was the first time judges have offered me solid critiques. (Of course, I don’t ask either. Am I supposed to?)

Sparring was next. While watching the previous matches, I discovered that one of the corner judges was slow to make calls and she almost always called the same thing as the center judge (after watching him make his decision).

I tiptoed over to Teri and gave her my observations. She said thanks but she didn’t think she could plan enough to make sure the right judge saw her technique. “Can you do that?” she asked. “I don’t know, we’ll see.”

Also the center judge was strict on the no face contact rule. Sure, it’s a “rule” at a lot of tournaments but, even when it is, it’s not always enforced very strictly.

What I failed to notice was that they were five-point matches, not three-point matches. (Duh.) I also realized that I can’t keep track of points when we go to five.  So I just went with it and had a lot of fun.

My first opponent was Joanna, who was totally cool and had what I think was an Eastern European accent. (The accent added to her coolness, if that makes sense.)

I won that match. No idea how.  (Edit 4/21/2011)

Teri and I sparred next. Because of her injury, we had already decided to mess around instead of trying to knock each others’ heads off.

I tried to keep myself  “facing” the center judge. It was easier to remember when it was me and Teri sparring. Plus, with her injury, she had to keep the same side facing me the whole time and, I think, this worked to my advantage.

And, sure enough, if I could make sure the center judge saw the point, I got it. It was tricky to do, though. In fact, Teri got an awesome “point” on me (spinning heel kick right to the middle of my chest) but we were positioned so it was square in front of the “slow” corner judge.

It was SUCH a clean point that both Teri and I stopped fighting and started moving back to our start positions. The center judge was like “what are you doing? Keep going.” I actually said “REALLY?!”  Seriously, only one judge saw it and she wasn’t going to call “matte.”

Teri and I talked to each other a lot during the match. For example, I got a point by kicking her to the chin. (Totally thought I was going to get called for “contact” on that one but I got the point.) Then, I got a point a few seconds later with the same exact move and I started yelling at her for letting me score the same damn point on her twice in a row!

We had three competitors. I got first second, Joanna got second first (4/21 edits)  and Teri got third. (Joanna was also the second place winner in the kata.)

Weapons kata was last. Usually that’s one of the first events.When we were running back to get our things, we jabbered to each other about how weird the event order seemed.

While performing my weapons kata I was vaguely aware that (1) I was able to stand up relatively quickly after the kneeling side strike (Tokameni) and (2) the entire kata was a lot faster than normal. (In fact, when I finished, I mentally replayed the kata to make sure I didn’t leave anything out.)

Teri got first, Mike the Kung Fun Guy got second and I got third (out of six). I think that was a pretty cool finish for the day. And we got to tease Mike because it was his idea to go to the tournament (and Teri beat him).

Best of all, I brought home an armful of “trophies” that John (my husband) was actually happy to see.

Edit 4/21/2011: OK, for the embarrassing details on this edit check out the 4/21 blog post “Utter Humiliation” which I’m unofficially calling the “Asshat Edition.” Long story short: Joanna got first in sparring and I got second (and may have accidentally stolen her trophy). I don’t go into too much detail because my pride is still recovering (from the “asshattedness” not the loss). But I do detail Joanna’s grace and sportsmanship when confronted with an obvious nutbar. So, feel free to have a laugh at my expense. I deserve it.

Competition and Silly Faces

I grabbed my daughters and made a quick jaunt to Naperville on Sunday for the 4th Annual Naperville Challenge. Teri had a previous engagement and couldn’t make it back in time for the tourney. It felt strange to go to a tournament without her. But, Brett Thomason and Terry Creamer came up from St. Louis for the Naperville tournament. (YEAH!)  So, there was no way I was going to miss this event.

The Naperville Challenge was held at Lincoln Junior High School’s gym. It was way too small a venue for this event. The bleachers were filled to capacity. Competitors were packed in tightly around the rings. A high school would have been a much better choice.

It seemed really well organized – at least from my perspective. The underbelt divisions went quickly. My group may have even finished early. (How often does that happen?)

Although, one of the black belts (not Brett) confided that it was a very tiring tournament for him. As what happens with a lot of tournaments, the black belt events were divided up. (I think they do this so the black belts have to stick around and help with the judging.) This black belt said he was so tired by the time his division was called for open handed kata, that he was just wiped out.

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