Yesterday was the 13th open tournament hosted by Bill and Patty Auvenshine. I’m happy to say I placed first in the 2nd-degree-and-up black belt forms division, ages 16-34. I have competed only as a black belt at this tournament four times since 2007, and yesterday, I finally clinched a goal of placing first.
Due to a last-minute schedule change, my tournament companion Joshu Adair was unable to accompany me to the event, meaning I have no footage of my two performances. I say two because after all of the black belt divisions finished, the first-place winners were called back for the grand championship. I thought it was cool how that was organized. We were asked to be seated and then turn around. This way, we couldn’t see our competitors’ performance and we were only told what form we would be doing once we were standing in front of the judges. We were all given the number 5, meaning we had to perform the equivalent form in our system. For us, Empi Sho is the fifth form, meaning that’s what I had to compete with.
In a tournament predominately attended by tae kwon do practitioners, I’m proud to have represented not only Metamora Martial Arts, but the art of karate itself.
The event featured two unique twists that not many open tournaments (that I’ve been to, anyway) have, and those were grappling and special divisions. As we had our backs turned to the judges and competitors during the grand championship, I found myself more focused on studying the grapplers – how they jockey for position standing up, how the people on the bottom can attempt to kick their legs out to pass the guard, and how that one guy took a gamble on a sacrifice grab. Since I didn’t win the big trophy, hindsight is telling me perhaps I should’ve been thinking about my own forms a little more than I did. I only saw about half of a sparring match with the special competitors, but I think it’s a cool thing for the Auvenshines to offer.
This year, I’ve been noticing several family members or friends using iPads to record their favorite competitors. I first noticed this last week at the Supreme Way Challenge. It makes sense, given that the iPad 2 that came out last spring was the first with a camera on it. I didn’t attend any competitions last summer, so this year is the first time I’m really seeing them. My guess is we’ll see more and more iPads on the sidelines.
Of course, it was great seeing Mr. and Mrs. Aldus (who are putting on a seminar for us, in case you haven’t heard), Ms. Harrison, the Auvenshines, and Mr. Walker and his troops. And a special thanks Mr. Budan for doing a great job running the ring I judged yesterday, and to Mr. Warren (whose first name escapes me) and the boy who both came up to me and told me they liked my form. Having a trophy would have been cool, but knowing that total strangers appreciate what I did is enough for me.