Team Tracy’s Karate FTW!

My first karate tournament was on Saturday 20th March. I was performing the Long 2 kata in the Senior women’s beginner division.

Hubby and I got to the tournament an hour before it started. Edgar, a Tracy’s Karate black belt who is awesome at kata, helped me warm up, along with a child from another school. Familiar faces arrived and congregated in one section of the stands, competitors warmed up on the gym floor.

I’ve never competed in a sports event before, and I was part of a big team on Saturday. We stuck together on the floor and went in groups to watch each others kata, cheering when they finished. My kata was in the Senior Women’s Beginner division, just me and another lady. And I did it. I performed my kata in front of three judges and a bunch of strangers. By unanimous vote, I won!

Senior Women's Beginner kata, first place.

Afterwards everyone hugged me and cheered, and I have a monster trophy. Winning is a huge bonus, the fact that I went to a tournament and did my kata in front of strangers was the goal. What I didn’t expect was that winning my division qualified me for the grand champion kata ring. I had no hope of winning that one against eight others including two brown belts, but I did it anyway.

Tracy’s Karate came home with Grand Champion men and women’s sparring, Andy took grand champion for her kata and won her sparring division, Sam won her sparring division, Edgar won his open hand kata division, Patrick won his weapons kata division, the trophies piled up in our spectator section.

It was a fabulous day! Hubby took video of my kata and several other people’s kata, including one amazing sai kata. I really want to learn to use sais in a kata. Never thought I’d be able to perform in a tournament, and I did it.

Karate Tournament on Saturday

I’m competing in my first karate tournament on Saturday March 20th, in Dupo IL. I’m performing a kata in the Senior Women’s division. I’ve never done anything like this before. At school, I was the nerd in thick glasses who was good at maths and science, not the sporty popular kid.

A group of students from Tracy’s Karate have been working on Saturday mornings for weeks to practice our kata. I’ve had practice time in my lessons, and done the kata in group class. There’s a 3×5 card in front of my monitor at work, and another in my handbag, with the three places in the kata where I tend to forget the form. I’m doing the kata every day at home. Hubby gave me an awesome heavyweight karate uniform for my birthday that fits perfectly. I’m about as ready as I’m going to get.

Normal service may return after the weekend. There may also be pictures.

Catching up

All sorts of things get pushed off during November. Now it’s December (when did that happen? I’m not ready!).

Knit

I finished a pair of socks for Heather for Christmas, pattern is a modification of Monkey with a toe-up heel-flap and a rolled brim. Did some more work on a raspberry angora neck cozy, which is blissfully soft and fuzzy. Planning to finish Eris over the Christmas holiday. I have a nice chunk of time off and it would be great to wear. Still puzzled about how the back bottom edge is cast off and the pattern leaves me no wiser. The Flutter scarf is just over half done. I have a commission for a Jayne Hat from a fellow NaNo’er, this one will be in Lite Lopi.

Write

My novel needs the final chapter and editing before I get the hard copy. I’m at 55k and like the story a lot. At some point I might have to edit one of these things up into a real novel and submit it somewhere.

Karate

Houston, we have a problem: I get nervous in front of other people. Not in group class, but doing my kata and techniques. My instructor’s solution to this? Put me in a TOURNAMENT doing Long 2 kata sometime in March/April. In front of 300 or so people in a school gymnasium. I need to practice.

I wore my belt to lesson and group class. Purple is my first "not a beginner anymore" belt and I love it. We’re learning blue belt techniques now, and there will be weapons kata.

Purple Belt!

I took the test for my karate purple belt at Tracy’s Karate in Kirkwood on Wednesday 25th November. The test was at 8pm, which gave me all day to get nervous.

Purple Belt!

Today just didn’t seem right without a quick run through of my Long Two kata first thing this morning. I’ve been practicing that form over and over to get it right.

Purple is the first intermediate belt, I have blue and green to go before I hit the first advanced belt. I’m not a beginner any more! Felt sad taking the purple belt off to go to bed last night…

Paul took video on the camera, which made me REALLY nervous, but I can see my technique now, including the stuff I need to work on. Got to get over the nervousness somehow, any ideas?

UKA Karate Tournament

Went to the UKA Karate Tournament on Saturday 18th July in Eureka, about 30 miles from home. Hubby and I turned up on time and watched students perform katas for the judges. I was surprised to see a white belt competing, and some orange belts like me. The white belt got second by virtue of there being only two people in her class.

There was a flock of kids age 6 and under, including one fierce little girl with cute pink sparring gear. Pink! My gear is black, and Karen says if I get pink gear I need to find a new instructor… The kids sparring was all energy and no strategy, lots of flailing fists and feet and running at their opponents.

The people from Tracy’s turned up for the sparring (two hours after the tournament started), and won everything. Watched Karen take women’s senior black belt sparring, then take on the younger women’s black belt sparring winner to go home with the Grand Champion women’s sparring title, and I saw her using plays she’s taught me. The initial stance the Tracy’s crowd used is very different to the other schools, and it seems to work. Saw another instructor, Dan, punch his opponent’s helmet off, the men’s black belt sparring went to a Tracy’s fighter from Chesterfield.

Talked about the tournament at my next lesson, and we worked on some sparring moves that Karen used in her fights. I need to work on actually hitting my opponent. Nice girls don’t hit, but Kenpo isn’t about being nice…

State of the Union

NaNoWriMo has proved I work better with goals and a deadlines. I’m looking at the state of my knitting, spinning, and writing for the next few days and thinking about what goals I want to achieve.

Passing the citizenship test was a huge personal goal, thank you for all of your kind comments. Everyone’s been so supportive about us becoming citizens. I never thought I’d be looking forward to voting! We will be losing our "Get out of Jury Duty Free" card though. I haven’t been called yet, but Hubby’s been called three times.

Getting my karate orange belt was another big goal. We’re working on sparring now, and learning techniques and katas for the purple belt. I have a set of pads (helmet, gloves, shin guards, and boots) to spar in that are plastic and get hot and uncomfortable, but feel a whole lot better than getting hit in the head. It would be great if I could get my purple belt by the end of the year.

State of the Knit coming up in the next post.

Orange belt!

I’ve been learning Chinese Kenpo at Tracy’s Karate Studio since 17th November 2008 and I passed my orange belt test yesterday. There is a photo of me wearing the new belt on the wall of the studio, and I have a certificate to prove my rank. Had to pledge to use karate only for good and not evil, which felt a little like Spiderman and Uncle Ben. I was given my white belt when I signed up, I had to earn my orange belt.

For the test I had to demonstrate two katas (set piece forms), twenty techniques, answer questions, and show kicks and punches. The techniques were ways to get out of a situation where an opponent had grabbed me, or was about to hit me. Most of the techniques I did in the air, a couple I did on my instructor, Karen.

Hubby brought carrot cake cupcakes and added orange icing to them as a surprise. He also brought me an orange drink, all things orange. And now we start sparring! With protective gear, and it’s not about hurting your opponent, just sneaking past their guard to tag them. Karen says it’s fun.