A week ago, today, I participated in the Australian Traditional Karate Championships. This is the 4th event of its type to be hosted in my home town and also the fourth time I have competed. You can read about my past experiences on the blog if you search tournament.
I entered all the events I was eligible (disappointed that flag kumite is still restricted to under 9’s) and also tried to help out as much as I could before / after and during the event. It was a tiring but completely amazing day and the event committee did such a meticulous job organising everything that it all ran very efficiently, especially considering the event has grown considerably over the last 4 years and is now probably 60 percent stronger in competitor numbers than in its first year! This year there were over 80 competitors, ranging in age from 4 to over 50 and a decision was made to run the events simultaneously on 2 rings for much of the day.
Highlights for me were:
- Observing my dojo (who again turned out in force), whether watching, competing, judging, officialling, helping (or a combination of some or all of the above) exhibiting superb sportspersonship, competitive spirit, pride in our style, and offering support, not only to each other, but also to other competitors both in and outside the network.
- Being able to help out (as mentioned), as this gave me insight into just how much goes on behind the scenes to organise something like this.
- Being able to honestly say at the end of the day: “I have done my best in everything today”.
- Executing a convincing and well synchronised team kata with my 2 team mates and taking out first place in a strongly contested open division event (i.e. both adult kyu and dan ranks).
- Getting waza ari (half point) in my kumite round against a shodan competitor and not losing without putting up a decent fight. This was especially poignant, given that I had been considering withdrawing from the event up until 2 days before.
- Getting very positive and constructive feedback from many people about my kata execution (individual and team events), including some from sources I did not expect to notice or comment.
- Seeing how proud and happy our instructor looked all through the day. I know why he did.
I will finish (as I am wont to do) with some poetry!
True Champions of the Championships.
Champions come in all shapes and sizes,
Many forms, and multiple guises.
Some are overt; some wear disguises.
Some you expect, and some are surprises.
So look all around and open your eyes.
It is not just about who wins the prize.