Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hi, I'm A.J. I'm here to defeat you.

Cool title, right? I promise it has a purpose.

I mentioned in my last blog that I went to a karate tournament the day after Spring Break started and got second place in sparring, or kumite. I won my first two matches, surprisingly. Literally. I was shocked. In my last match I went up against a guy who I am about a foot taller than and about ten-fifteen years older than me. This guy is one who is at everyone of these tournaments, and he has a history of winning every division we are both in, or at least coming in second to the not-me person who ends up winning. I think we were about 3-3 as far as points were concerned when he landed a thrust kick right to my ribs. I don't know what I was doing as far as blocking was concerned, but he nailed this kick. A direct hit with one of the most powerful techniques around. Needless to say, he got that point and I recoiled pretty badly. For the record, we wear pads on our hands and feet and head, but nothing for the ribs is required. Additionally, the kick was with the bottom of the foot, mainly the heel, which is uncovered by the pad. Since the first to five points wins, we had to have another round, one which I tried to fight back in but ultimately failed. I tried my best not to show the damage to my ribs, but I really couldn't breathe at that point. Now, over a week later, my ribs are still killing me. I run for a little bit and I'm aware of the stabbing pain there and the three sit ups I tried to do also ended in similar pain. So, I'm still on the mend, but it could have been worse. If he could have reached my nose he probably would have broke that as well.

I guess the point of this post is that I'm refocused now. I forget how fun tournaments are until the moment after it's over; I'm usually pretty buzzed for a while afterward. All the dread and worry before hand is usually gone by the middle of the actual competition, leaving me with the desire to get out there and fight. I'm planning on kicking my training up for the next tournament in April. Honestly, I hadn't kumited since last October, and even then that was the only time I did it in the last two years. I was incredibly out of practice, yet I still managed to make the finals. I've learned not to be cocky, though, so I'm gonna work harder. It's not really even about winning the actual tournament; it's more about beating this guy. That's probably gonna rack up some bad karma for me, but it's the truth. A week and a half of rib pain needs to be avenged with a shiny, cheap plastic trophy at least one place higher than his. Haha. But seriously, it's more about getting better. I know what I need to work on because I had my butt handed to me, and that's all you can ask for in a loss.

I would love to be a state champion, though. My ego would love the recognition. It's also kind of like an affirmation that I've got better during the time that I've been taking karate. I guess I don't really need it; karate has already given me a lot. I've met a ton of awesome people that I would have never known, I've got some semblance of self confidence, and I have lost a ton of weight. I never would have thought I would be competing like this as regularly as I do, so that's a major boost for me. I'm more willing to try potentially awkward situations now because of my experience in karate. So, I guess the state title would just be icing on the cake.

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