Mar 17

Competitors Place in Forms and Sparring at Auvenshine’s 15th Annual Tournament

For the first time since 2011, Metamora Martial Arts took a delegation to Springfield for Auvenshine’s 15th annual open tournament.

Dominic, Adam Bockler, and Zoe at Auvenshine's Open Martial Arts Tournament

I’m proud of our team for how we represented Metamora Martial Arts. While none of took first in our divisions, a few details pop out to me that we stood out.

Perform Like All Eyes Are On You

Own the ring. It’s a philosophy I use every time I compete. When you’re in the ring, get all of the attention on you (for the right reasons, at least).

I’m always happy when a judge – better yet, somebody who doesn’t have to be looking (a ref, a parent, or somebody associated with the competitor) – makes a special comment about your form.

After Zoe competed, one of the judges told her how he really liked her kiai.

After I competed, an individual who I didn’t know came up to me to tell me he thought my form was “awesome.” I later found out he was the friend of some of my friends, and he helped coach me in my sparring match later on.

By commanding that presence in the ring, we made sure people were paying attention. Own it.

This Is a Great Beginner’s Tournament

The main reason I’ve liked attending the Auvenshine’s tournament is because it’s a great martial arts tournament for beginners. The black belts are typically friendly. There were no rules discrepancies that I heard yesterday, at least in the ring I judged in, anyway. Mr. Aldus, a martial arts veteran, did an excellent job of being the center referee during forms. He coached us if we needed help, he dissolved one or two minor issues that came up, and as far as I know, everything was fair.

Let’s be honest. Not everyone walked away from our ring happy. I saw several tears from those who wanted first place and didn’t get it. However, it’s a great learning experience.

It’s also a great tournament for black belts to try their hand at judging. The center referee for sparring in our ring was 17. He’d had little live experience, if any, in a tournament setting, but he seemed prepared for the task. Kudos to him, whose name I forget.

Shake Your Judges’ Hands When Your Division Is Over

It’s common courtesy to shake the hands of your judges when your forms division is over. Each competitor files behind the next and goes down the line.

That’s why I was puzzled when the other competitors in my forms division went immediately for their medals. Meanwhile, I was shaking hands, thanking the judges.

I encourage my students to shake the judges’ hands, and I would like to have seen the black belts – especially the black belts who win first place – lead this small effort.

Karateka May Have a Hard Time at Tae Kwon Do Events

Tournaments hosted by tae kwon do schools are the predominant events in central Illinois, it seems. As a result, most of these tournaments are judged by tae kwon do stylists.

It has been my observation that karateka have a difficult time overcoming the style bias. By that, I mean tae kwon do stylists generally prefer their own forms because they recognize them.

The opposite is true, as well. I would imagine a tae kwon do stylist would have to really work to score higher compared to several karate stylists.

I noticed what I felt was a style bias several times in both forms and sparring yesterday. I don’t hold it against anyone. It’s what people are used to.

However, I think competitors need to be aware of that bias in order to train to win first place, if that’s what they really want.

Hygiene is Key

I left my sparring match with a hyperextended knee. Only later did I realize I had blood on my uniform from what appeared to be scratches on one of my fingers. These scrapes seem to have come from fingernails or toenails. While I can’t say for sure, I can only assume, based on their location, that they came from my opponent.

Competitors, please make sure all of your nails are trimmed prior to a tournament.

Quick Results

  1. Adam Bockler placed 2nd in men’s black belt forms, 16-34, and 3rd in men’s black belt sparring.
  2. Zoe placed 3rd in girl’s colored belt forms.
  3. Dominic placed 3rd in boy’s colored belt forms.

Adam Bockler

Sensei Adam Bockler is a 2nd-degree black belt in karate and the owner of Metamora Martial Arts. He's been in the martial arts since 2003, and has received instruction in tai chi chuan, Hsing-i chuan, judo, tae kwon do and XMA. Sensei Bockler was inducted into the 2014 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame as Karate Black Belt of the Year. He is the communications manager for Float Mobile Learning.

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