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Karate Tournament (et. al.) - RonO's Ramblings

Nov. 12th, 2007 11:57 am Karate Tournament (et. al.)

This weekend was the semi-annual intramural karate tournament for the National Karate Schools of Chicago. The fact that both Derrick and I were competing in it was a lot of the reason we weren't at Windycon -- and I'm sure most people who are interested and don't know can probably guess what the other were.

Saturday started off with Tara having to go into work for a couple of hours at 4:00am. I woke up a bit after 5, and a again a bit after 5:30 with my usual alarms. After a shower and breakfast, and Tara getting home, I left for the Men's bible study at the church. I'd missed the last four between my trip to India and our visit to Rockford the previous weekend. After the bible study I returned home with about an hour before we needed to leave. Derrick was pretty much ready when I got home. I quickly changed and got my bag packed.

A bit after 10, we left for the Schaumburg Sports Center where the tournament is held. Uncharacteristically, we were able to find a parking space -- actually we had a couple of choices -- quickly and headed in. We got there with a few minutes before Derrick's class was called, so he had enough time to get the rest of his pads on and do some practicing beforehand.

Before Derrick's class was called, I noticed that I knew all three judges for his ring. However, before his class one of the judges left since her son was competing at the same time in a different ring, so in the end I only knew two of his judges.

Derrick was competing as a red belt -- since he only earned his brown belt last month -- in the 11- and 12-year-old division. As such he was one of the smallest competitors. For sparing, the class was divided by size, and Derrick was in a four person division. He did very well in his first bout, but did not win -- giving him a third place finish. Next he competed in form. Before that phase of the competition, we reminded him to slow down and make every move count. He followed our advise and delivered a nearly flawless form, winning that phase of the competition. He didn't do as well in self defense, finishing out of the top three, but he was happy with the results.

After Derrick's class, we headed upstairs to get a bite at the snack bar. Since May we'd forgotten that the snack bar only has hamburgers and pizzas. Tara and I ended up splitting two mini-pizzas, which weren't that good or that good for us. After lunch we headed back to the tournament floor and moved our pile of stuff closer to the end where I would be competing.

A few minutes later, I changed into my protective equipment and went through my warm ups and stretches. I observed that most of the adults, especially those of us over thirty, were warming up and stretching, but few of the kids were. I then went through my form several times in an empty ring to make sure that I had it down and was hitting everything reasonably well.

When I got to the ring for competition, the number of men in the 30-39 and 40 and up classes was fairly large, and even after removing the 30-39 group they split us further into 40-49 and 50 and up, which left me in a group of 5 for sparing. However, one of the men was enough smaller that they did not feel it was fair for him to compete -- so he did an exhibition bout with another competitor and automatically won his class. In my first, and as it turned out only, bout I spared with a blue-belt student from the Bartlett school. I was able to hold my own, scored at least once, maybe twice, and kept him from scoring his fifth point until just as the time on the bout ran out. He also eventually won in his final bout -- ironically beating a red belt who had beaten the other brown-belt in the class. Since they don't spar for third place, I was awarded a third place finish.

Next up was form. Before the form one of the other competitors asked if he could borrow my bo, since he had broken his during warm up. I agreed and we lined up. I was the second up for form and delivered the best form I have in some time. After getting my score I handed my bo to the other competitor so that he could do his form. He started out, doing the same form I had, and on the second or third strike managed to break my bo. He borrowed another bo from the remaining competitor who had one -- only the red, brown and some black belt forms use bo -- and finished, showing almost as much intensity and strength as before. He won the form competition, but I came in a healthy second.

Finally was self defense. I finished third in self defense, out of four competitors, but didn't do badly considering that I had only learned the second technique I had to do less than two weeks before.

After I was done and we had picked up our trophies and tee-shirts, Derrick told us he was too bored to stay to watch the remaining events which would include the black belt form and self defense competitions which are often worth watching -- or so I've been told since we never end up staying. We left and took a long side trip to Barington to pick up a prescription on the way home.

At home we changed and relaxed until about 5 when Derrick informed us that he was very hungry. We then headed out to Pilot Pete's for dinner. Pilot Pete's is owned by a National Karate Black Belt and helps sponsor the tournaments. As part of the sponsorship they give participants and spectators half-off a dinner item. They are also located at the Schaumburg airport which is part of the same property as the Sports Center. So they are often very busy with people from the karate schools after the tournaments, and we will go there for dinner on tournament nights if we aren't otherwise engaged.

We got there fairly early, the last part of the tournament was probably still going on, or at least clean up was. But there were a few people that we recognized when we went in.

Dinner was fairly good, even if Derrick was slow about eating his. We ordered two deserts to split, only to realize that both were much bigger than expected and we could have easily split just one and been more than satisfied.

The next tournament will be in May, and we both plan on competing again. It is, however, very likely that we will be competing at the same time since they last several tournaments have had the brown belt boys and the 30 and up men competing at the same time. Next November we will compete again, but since Windycon has moved to a newer hotel without the parking and other problems, we will probably return. This will mean that we will have to miss much of Saturday -- probably from about 11:00 until about 2:30 or 3:00 -- and drive nearly all the way home to go to the tournament. We will also have to skip having dinner near other people from the tournament, but will have fun at the con instead.

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