Well, the tournament was ... instructive.
Miranda did very well. Her group of gups was quite large -- 11 kids total, I think, and she grabbed silver in forms and tied for bronze in sparring. She would have had a real shot at silver or gold in sparring, but for some reason she got it in her head that she shouldn't throw any punches yesterday, so she did nothing but kick. It got her through her first match, but the second match was against another kid who knew how to kick and block pretty well, so she just wore herself out. She had dozens of chances to throw back-fists that would have landed easily, but she didn't take them. So, in a sense, she won one match with her hands tied, and lost the second. Not too shabby. We just have to figure out this latest weirdness about not punching and she'll be grabbing gold next time out, I'm sure of it.
My day was less satisfying, but for fairly complex and frustrating reasons. I performed well. I'm sure of it. Unfortunately, the judges in my ring didn't seem to agree, and I came home empty handed.
My form looked solid and good -- one minor error I can think of, but overall it was a solid performance of a difficult and challenging form. A form that is the most advanced and demanding form available to green belts of any gup level in TSDMGK. The only other guy who did the form I did ... well, I spotted at least a dozen serious errors, and he even blew an entire section and had to start again. And yet... and yet he scored higher than me. And the lower level gups who did less challenging forms that I can do in my freakin' sleep? Scored higher than me as well.
I honestly think at least 3 of the judges in my ring (and this was the only ring at the entire tournament I would say this about -- overall the judging was terrific) either didn't know what they were doing or just didn't care enough to really pay attention and seriously judge our performance. I know it sounds like excuses, and I know it sounds like sour grapes, but if I believed it was my performance that held me back here I would happily, if grudgingly, accept that I blew it. But I'm sure I didn't. I'm incredibly frustrated by this.
And sparring? Sparring was a joke, as well. My opponent was this hulk of a guy, 270 or so, and he was fairly agile, but predictable. Kept throwing these high round kicks and then trying to close with a bunch of punches. Using his size to try to pummel (and lacking anything resembling control, as my bruised ribs, shin, and wrist can attest). My technique with him was fairly simple and direct: block the kick, wait for the punches, block them with one hand while opening up his side for a reverse punch to the floating rib. Same judges, but this time they didn't seem to be able to notice that I was regularly landing solid, well-placed, point-scoring punches. We tied on our first match, with at least 3 or 4 good solid hits uncounted, then he beat me by a single point on our rematch. The kicker is that the final point, which came at the bell? One of the judges, a kid, who was messing up left and right, held up the wrong flag -- after it was counted, he made an ooops face and switched his vote, but the ring coordinator didn't see it.
Because of that, I didn't get a point I should have gotten, which would have resulted in yet another tie and a sudden death rematch, which I'm fairly certain I would have won. But honestly it should never have gone past the first match. I had the guy. I know I had the guy. Multiple spectators who were watching my match, including 2 dans and my teacher (who teaches the guy whose student I was sparring) were shaking their heads and telling other folks that they couldn't believe the judges weren't calling my shots. Basically, when it was all finished, I was told in no uncertain terms that I was robbed.
Regardless, when it came time to award medals, and I was the only man in my division who didn't receive one, I felt utterly humiliated.
I need to work through this somehow. I'm so angry. If I'd just had a bad day and failed to perform well I could let it go easier. I'd beat myself up for a while and then channel my frustration into training obsessively for a while. But that's just not the case. So instead, I feel angry. And I feel cheated. And given that I feel this was not right, that I've been treated unfairly doing something in which I've invested so much of myself in the past year and half, it really stings.
I need to move past this, to just let it go. It was a rough break, a crappy day, nothing more. I know this. But I just don't seem to be able to follow through yet.
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