March 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.
January 8

Upcoming Event: Auvenshine’s Taekwondo 15th Annual Martial Arts Tournament – March 15, 2014

Register for Auvenshine's Taekwondo 15th annual martial arts tournamentAuvenshine’s Taekwondo of Auburn, Ill., is hosting its 15th annual open martial arts tournament at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

Events include forms, sparring and grappling. Black belt forms grand champions will be crowned in both junior and adult divisions.

Entry fees are $40 for one event, $45 for two events and $50 for all three.

Registration goes from 8-10 a.m., with opening ceremonies starting at 10:30.

Concessions are available. All school owners, instructors, judges, referees, timers and scorekeepers will be provided lunch.

The school with the most registered competitors will be awarded a plaque.

For a complete list of rules, divisions and awards, please download the tournament packet.

If you have any questions about this event, please contact Masters Bill or Patty Auvenshine at Auvenshine’s School of Taekwondo using the phone number 217-438-6118.

Mr. Bockler’s Commentary

I’ve attended this tournament more often than not over the past seven years. It’s a great tournament for beginning students, or students who have not had much tournament experience. The judges and officials guide everyone through the competition with ease. Plus, it’s not too terribly far from home.

Joshu Adair Rodriguez, Deshi Adam Bockler and Miss Caitlan Rohman at Auvenshine's tournament in 2011

Mr. Adair Rodriguez, Mr. Adam Bockler and Miss Caitlan Rohman at Auvenshine’s tournament in 2011

This tournament always helps kick off to competition season. I’m happy to help coach any of our students to get ready for this tournament, and I’ve definitely got it on my calendar this year.

March 18

Adam Bockler Takes First Place in Black Belt Division at Auvenshine’s Open Tournament

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.

February 4

Auvenshine’s Taekwondo 13th Annual Martial Arts Tournament – March 17, 2012

Get ready for another tournament, everyone!

Mr. and Mrs. Bill and Patty Auvenshine host their 13th Annual Martial Arts Tournament at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Ill., on Saturday, March 17, 2012.

Events include Forms, Sparring and Grappling. Grand champions will be awarded in junior and adult black belt forms divisions. Please note the the Sparring event is Olympic-style, meaning there will be two rounds of continuous sparring with 30 seconds of rest in between the rounds.

The cost is $40 for one event, plus $5 for each additional event. Spectators ages 12+ must pay $3, 6-11 $2, and ages 5 and under get in free.

Unlike many tournaments, this event includes electronic scoring and matted rings.

For a complete breakdown of rules, see the Auvenshine’s tournament package.

Metamora Martial Arts has competed in the Auvenshine’s tournament several times – first in 2007, then again in 2010 (Jake Potter and I both took 2nd place in our Forms divisions) and 2011.

March 20

A look at the Auvenshines’ 12th tournament

Caitlan Rohman placed 1st in women’s 16-34 colored belt forms.

Sempai Adair Rodriguez placed 1st in men’s 16-34 colored belt forms and weapons.

I placed 2nd in men’s 16-34 black belt forms.

Now, onto the details…

I’ve always enjoyed visiting the Auvenshines’ tournament. We first went down in 2007 with a big group of at least a dozen students held in a different venue. Our number of competitors has dwindled since then, but I still think we are an enthusiastic crew who enjoys competing and represents our school well.

The gymnasium and Lincoln Land Community College was a sea of white as mainly tae kwon do practitioners packed the space kicking pads, showing off their flexibility and letting out the occasional shout.

One of the main differences between this tournament and other we usually attend is grappling that takes place in the center ring. Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a chance to watch the grapplers do their thing as I was competing and then judging.

The Auvenshines do their best to make for small divisions. The largest ones that I saw had seven in them. Personally, I may have split them into divisions of three and four. That way, two sets of 1st, 2nd and 3rd could be handed out instead of just one. But I think everybody went home with a medal or a trophy, and the last four tied for fourth place.

I judged for a division of what looked like ages 6-9, which is what I think I heard somebody say. A girl won her breaking division, and I’ve never seen a child so ecstatic. The grin she wore from ear to ear made it look like she’d just won the Olympic gold medal and the lottery at the same exact instant.

In my opinion, the concessions could have been run better by having more food available. I was turned down when I asked for a piece of cheese pizza and then a soft pretzel, but somebody wound up making me a pretzel anyway. They just seemed disorganized. Though that fell on the LLCC volleyball players who were in charge, not the Auvenshines themselves.

It was nice seeing Mr. Steve Aldus, who contributed to us an article on why he teaches, there with his wife Kim. Both were very friendly the few times I saw them away from the ring in which they were judging.

As I stood on the edges of the black belt meeting, I also received a friendly nudge from Mr. Kevin Roberts, who wrote a great piece for us on commercial belt factories. Mr. Roberts brought his wife, Jessie, their daughter and nine other competitors who did very well. I judged one of his white belts, who received 1st place in both his forms and breaking divisions, and it’s evident – in my opinion – from that student that Mr. Roberts is a quality instructor.

We also received lots of information for tournaments coming up in the area that I’ll put together in another post later this week, but I wanted to post one here real quick…

2011 USA Tae Kwon Do Championships
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Kalamazoo, MI
Registration starts at $60.00.

I realize this tournament is far away. Ms. Harrison noted that as she handed the flyer to me, but said she had promised to hand them out. For her effort in pushing this tournament, I wanted to post it here as well. If you are interested, please leave a comment or e-mail me for more information.