Joshu Adair Rodriguez placed third in men’s black belt kata Saturday at the Supreme Way Challenge in Pekin. His Nan Dan Sho proved a stiff challenge for the tremendous competitors in our division. I performed Kanku Sho.
* I love what we do. I really do. I think are forms are cool, and I think how we do them is cool and works for us. But there are so many other cool martial arts out there. I saw some great forms competitors today who represented their school and their art very well. Several times I said to myself, “I have to learn that form!”
* In my studies of other arts, I try not to focus on the differences. However, I noticed students who were running the same forms we do that were running variants. I saw a Wansu that looked to be more performed at a 45-degree angle than a straight line. Adair saw a Go Pei Sho where a te uke usually on one side was on the other. Some people started their forms with or added a few “extras” along the way. But, again, the main idea is that they’re doing exactly just what we do with some modifications. It’s like handwriting – everybody does it, but each person has their own individual touch.
* I was struck by several martial artists who, several years ago, were still kyu ranks and were now black belts, taking responsibility for judging and really upping their competitive game. These martial artists competed in Metamora when we would host open tournaments, and it was great to see how they’ve advanced since our last one in 2010.
For those who asked yesterday that may be reading this: Yes, I’d like to eye an open tournament again. But first, we need to get our martial artists out to other tournaments to see how it’s done.
* Coaching your students from outside the ring is okay, depending on the rules of the particular tournament. Blatantly standing behind a referee and vocally disagreeing with the calls is unsportsmanlike, though at least a judge can choose not to acknowledge it. Getting in the face of the center referee and cussing him out, however, is not an appropriate way to handle those disagreements. There was an incident today between two instructors that I feel did not represent martial artists in the best light. Thankfully, this incident is in the minority.
* Kudos to Mr. and Mrs. Fink of Kosho Kai Karate in Pekin. They did a great job of making sure that things ran smoothly. And thanks to the Lincoln’s Challenge cadets who also volunteered their time to help out.