How my tournament went - 2015

Discussion in 'Competitors Corner' started by aaradia, May 4, 2015.

  1. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Well, this was a tough year.

    First, I didn't start training hard for it as early as I usually do, because I was focused on my TCC Black Fringe test.

    I had just passed my CLF Brown Sash Test a few months before cutting back drastically on CLF for that TCC test. So I was cramming to get down the new forms for tournament.

    But I was feeling it was coming along and BAM- Last Sunday - out of the blue - horrible back spasms! And they just got worse. Thursday- the 4 medications hadn't worked and I was on my back because I couldn't even sit up for very long.

    Friday I could sit, but was in a lot of pain and on a lot of medications for it, I whined on my Facebook page - despondent that I was pretty sure I wouldn't make it. I wrote my Instructor. I am known at my school as one of the most gung ho about the value of our tournaments in bettering our martial arts skills.

    But Saturday, I was feeling a bit better. Lots of pain ,but not the wracking spasms. So I was - as my first instructor called it - martial stupid and decided to try.

    I was on a muscle relaxant, Tylenol with codeine, and Ibuprofen. And I am a wimp with medications, so honestly, I was pretty darn high on legal meds. But it was the only way I was going to make it.

    I gave up all expectations of medals, but just considered making it through my eight events a good showing of martial spirit and a win in my book. Success in tournaments is not all about the medals.

    So, Choy Li Fut - the age division was 18 to 49. Yikes! Guess who the 49 year old was?:p So I was competing against young spry ones. About a dozen competitors? Give or take a couple?
    -Weapon Techniques I scored just below average (14)
    -Hand form (Small Five Animal) - average (15)
    -Weapon form (Bot Gwa Butterfly Knives) - just above average (16)- but I was told I got fourth. Which is actually not bad considering.

    I considered it a victory that I did my new forms-on meds and all- without forgetting anything in the forms. That was a success!

    The weapon techniques I have known awhile. I was a bit disappointed and surprised they were my lowest score of the three.

    The instructor who told me I got fourth in Butterfly knives told me I had good use of the body and waist in that, and that I could have used more of that in the other events. I got better scores each time, so I think I was loosening up and feeling better that my back wasn't going to spasm the longer I went.

    I don't know if I would have done the same or better without the back problem. You never know in tournaments.

    This is getting long. So I am going to break it into parts.
  2. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Next two events were Tai Chi Chuan hand and weapon forms. We do 1 and a half minutes of it. Sometimes mixing the form up in a "tournament" version of it. Cutting out some of the redundancy and mixing in a kick if there isn't one at the beginning.

    I didn't catch the age group, but it was a larger range of middle aged and older people. I also competed as a brown fringe, because I hadn't had time to learn the Black Fringe Forms yet. But the division was brown and black mixed together, so I don't think it mattered. Also, it was a large group. I didn't count, but I am pretty sure at least 15 - maybe even more.

    TCC Hand Form (48 Combination) - Above average (17)

    TCC Weapon form (Wind Chasing Fan form) - Slightly above average (16)

    I actually expected to do better in CLF, despite the newness of it. I have been a little down on my TCC lately. And a LOT of corrections from my instructor. Frustrated that I am fixing things I feel I should have down at my level. (see my signature!)

    But, I also know that my instructor is one of the very best, although they almost all excellent. But she has a LOT of experience and she is just -well - she just has an eye for things beyond most. So my instructors idea of not good is going to look ok to others. The others see a lot of things. It is hard to explain without bragging about my instructor, but she really is the best of the best. It isn't just me being a fan of hers- she really is that excellent. But it makes for frustration, because she catches EVERY little thing and is more critical.

    So, this is part of why I think I can feel I am doing badly, and yet do better than I think I am.

    I try to ask the judges after an event for feedback. It is one way to learn from the tournament and get feedback from instructors from other schools. (They have 3 Judges and each one is from a different location. So you never have more than one from your own school.)

    The nice thing was one judge remembered me from last year. I didn't remember she judged me last year too. She said I had made big improvements since last year! THAT is a success to me!

    They said my stuff looked good, but that the little differences make all the difference in scores at this level. So, my stuff looks good and is improved.

    Several instructors (one from my school) said I looked more relaxed. Dang, I hope that is real improvement and not the muscle relaxant! But offsetting the medication is that my back was much stiffer and had more limited movement, so I don't think I got an advantage.

    I think the relaxation actually came from me going in not expecting a medal, and relaxing without tensing up from expectation. This is a thing I have noticed in the past. (I think I will be starting a thread about this.)

    Feedback from all was nothing I hadn't heard from my instructor. Weapon forms I need to have better eye focus. I have a bad habit of following my weapon with my eyes instead of staying on the target. More waist movement. And my timing in some moves isn't quite synced together enough.

    But they said some good stuff too! So yay!
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  3. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    On top of that, there was the horrendous groin shot. You should be happy that you were able to compete at all, given all the circumstances. You are even more fortunate that you did not experience any crippling muscle spasms while you were at this - as I've had them myself and know how debilitating they can be.

    18 - 49 age bracket?!? Really?? Well, it keeps the herd culled, I suppose. Any survivors on the right end of the bracket ought to be able to hold our heads up high.

    Congrads for getting through it!
  4. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Next three events - the combatives. And here is where I actually got a couple of medals. Nothing in the forms this year, but I did ok here.

    The weird thing is, and I wonder why, a lot of women in my school wimp out of doing combatives in tournament. It is a large tournament, 9 locations. I heard there were about 1,100 participants this year. But way too many of the women bow out of the combatives.

    So, at my age and weight, there aren't a lot of competitors - sadly. I wish there were more. But all I can do is go against whomever they put me up against.

    The heaviest weight division was 146 and above. That's me for sure!

    Push hands- 3 competitors- So you do a round robin when there are three competitors. You play each person. All get medals, but I don't count it as getting a medal (Bronze) if I don't beat at least one person. Showing up isn't good enough to count.

    Two minutes- one minute with each foot forward. Fixed step. (used to have moving step- that is a long story.)

    First person was a newbie to push hands. I didn't want to discourage her from future competitions. There was supposed to be a skunk rule (5 points) but the judges seemed to have forgotten. Actually, they seemed to have forgotten a point they gave me. Because they called out 5 points, then six- then at the end said it was 5 to zip. I stopped trying to score once I realized they weren't going to stop it and just played defense for most of the second minute. I would have stopped trying to score earlier if I had known they wouldn't cut it short with the skunk rule. Offered words of support and told her not to get discouraged, I just had a lot of experience and that she should keep doing tournament!

    Second match- a brown fringe. I played her last year. She is quite good! Points were hard won against her, but I felt like I had this match. I don't know, I could just feel I was going to win. And I did - 2 points to zero.

    Gold Medal.

    Sparring- another round robin. And one of the others women was the same experienced woman from my push hands match. I was able to kick with my bad back, which was a relief. I wasn't sure I was going to be able to.

    First woman was a relentless attacker. Just went for it full on the whole time! I was able to stay up with her, but I was a little annoyed by the style. It felt like a lot of the strikes were kind of sloppy. She got in a low leg kick and the judges didn't call it, but no big deal. Then near the end, she got me full on with a powerful groin shot! OUCH! I talk about this in another thread in more detail.

    She won. But I felt it was close enough I had to look for the judges to see who won. Sometimes you can tell you lost or won without looking.

    I think I made a tactical error. the last 30 seconds or so, I pushed her away and tried to slow down the match. Not because I couldn't keep up, but because I personally enjoy smarter more technical matches and I was trying to gear it that way. But I think that made it look to the judges like I was tired and backing off from her out of fear of her attacks.

    She had some great elbows! I need to work on mine. I think I needed to land some of those. But I got some good knee's in! And that is a success! Because until recently, I haven't been able to land knees in matches.

    I talked to Tai Sifu about my match later. He said I should work on this pushing away the person at an angle thing we have been working on in practice more. One instructor, used to say that you should pick one or two things and really focus on just making those better. Than pick something else. Angles, and pushing people off at angles is going to be my thing now!

    Second match was close, but I did feel fairly (not 100%) that I had won it before confirmation. I was able to get her to back out of the ring a decent amount of times. ("Rings" being tape making a box on the ground.) I liked the fight more. It was a more technical style of fighting- not so much a constant flurry.

    Silver Medal.

    Stick Fighting - More people in this one - 6 I think? Anyways, this one I thought I would do better at. But I bombed. I was soundly beaten all three times. One match was a mistake by the judges. They messed up who was supposed to be fighting whom and had us redo it. I didn't mind. I got more experience out of it.

    Anyways, the disappointment wasn't losing. The disappointment was that I didn't seem to put skills I have developed over the last year into play. I don't mind losing, I do mind when I feel I don't live up to my skill level/ potential.

    My footwork wasn't up to usual. I didn't do the grab and stick and strike moves our instructor has drilled us on. It is like I just forgot to do a lot of what I know what to do. And I really don't know why. Oh well, NEXT year I will make our stick fighting instructor proud, but this year, I was a poor reflection of his excellent instruction.

    So that's it. I know this forum has been used by the professional fighters until now. But it is supposed to be open to all doing any competing. So, here I am.

    It wasn't my best year. But I have learned that is how tournaments go. Some years you do great, some bad, some somewhere in between.

    Hey, many competitors don't get any medals. It is a big tournament. I was just glad I was able to make it this year. it was very close to me not making it at all!
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  5. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    Thanks Belltoller! But the groin shot was later, so I can't use that as an excuse for my forms scores. Maybe for my stickfighting though as that was afterwards!:p
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  6. belltoller

    belltoller OffTopic MonstreOrdinaire Supporter

    That is the bain of it all, innit? Fighters (competitors) can put months into training for a single bout and on match day - pfffftt.

    Its not that one is bested by greatness or unusual skill, the heartbreak being one is fated that day - injuries, stomach bugs, personal issues that flare up at the last minute, etc., - to give a lackluster accounting of themselves. So much under the belt and it just doesn't have an opportunity to get showcased.

    "But I'm better than that" - yeah, thats the bad part - you (we) are.

    As you gain more experience in competing, you'll learn the tricks of bringing out your best in the always-less-than-ideal circumstances that you'll be competing in.

    Your sifu, being experienced, already knows this. I wouldna feel that you let them down, though its a natural tendency to feel that.
  7. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member


    I've just had a quick skim through so far, because there is a huge amount of detail there! I'll go back and read it all properly when I've got a bit more time, but in the meanwhile I just wanted to say:
    1. Well done!
    2. Even more well done for having done what you did in such difficult circumstances.
    3. Don't beat yourself up over the stuff that you know you could have done better. That's part of the learning curve, and you will learn a lot more from this than from a similar experience in the dojo, because it will stick in your mind more!
    4. You seem to be tackling a huge amount of stuff. For me it would be total information overload. But if you can handle such a quantity of things to learn then good for you.
    5. Well done again!
  8. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    Shoot any video?

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