So, Miranda and I will be attending our first Tang Soo Do tournament next Saturday morning -- the Texas Classic, hosted in New Braunfels by Master Brett Riley (who I trained with and also drank beers with Tuesday night, along with Master Nunan and Master Bennett, who was in town from Connecticut for business and decided to train the students at our school as well -- terrific evening of both training and fellowship). We'll both be entering sparring and forms competition, so that will be ... interesting. I won't pretend I'm not more than a little freaked out by this -- I mean, competition forms don't scare me too much. It's just solo performance, after all, and I really enjoy forms. I'm sure I'll be nervous, but whatever. Now, sparring, on the other hand, is gonna be scary.
I'm just starting to get some confidence in my sparring -- did really well in class last night, actually. I've finally realized that I've got really fast hands and can throw some really good punches if I take it easy and hang back, using kicks mostly for distractions and distancing and instead relying on my punches to score points. I sparred against 3 different red belts, did pretty well on my first match (I'd say it was about 50/50) and totally dominated my opponent in the second match (I had a serious height advantage, and plus I think I kinda freaked her out -- I'm not nasty or mean when I spar, but I am aggressive and that combined with being both taller and substantially larger than her put her way on the defensive).
My third match, well... I got my ass handed to me in my third match. By the time I got done with my second match I was so winded I was ready to fall over and I was slowing way down, so I just wasn't blocking well and my defensive technique got really weak and sloppy. I think I managed to get one tag in on this kid, and otherwise I might as well have been laying down on the mat while he kicked me. But hey, 2 out of 3 matches I was proud of!
As for forms I'm hoping to maybe nail a medal on my forms, but I dunno. I'll be competing against other orange belts, 16 years or older. My form -- Pyong Ahn Cho Dan -- is solid, and I've worked up a really good routine for it. I figured out a way to do it using a 3/6 rhythm in my head, and it results in a solidly timed, full-out aggressive performance with a lot of energy in it.
The only problem is, Pyong Ahn Cho Dan is the most basic orange belt form and it's not nearly as long or as dramatic as the other form typically performed by orange belts, Chil Sung E Ro. Shorter form means fewer opportunities to impress the judges, and also means that I'll be finished long before my "opponent" (not really the right term for forms competition, but whatever) is finished with theirs, just standing there at choon be while they continue to move through their technique. I'd love to try to compete with Chil Sung E Ro instead. Unfortunately I haven't been taught it yet, and even if I learn it in the next few days, I doubt I'd be confident enough to perform it well during a tournament, with the added stress of judges and an opponent and the general chaos of the surroundings. So I'm going to just put on the most energetic, focused, and explosive performance of Pyong Ahn Cho Dan that I can and hope that it's enough set me apart from the others. We'll see.
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