Saturday a few of us students went to Yakima with Sifu to compete in a traditional karate tournament. Yeah, we’re kung fu, what of it? On the drive up Sifu was telling us what the fighting divisions were.
You two [referring to myself and Carol] will fight in the Advanced division.
Advanced division? I thought I was going to fight in the black belt division.
Well, if you want to. But you can’t fight as an underbelt again.
I just assumed Sifu would tell me that I had to fight in the women’s black belt divisions, so I planned on it.
No, that wasn’t my assumption.
So I fought my first tournament as a black belt, even though my rank is brown-black. I was eliminated after two fights from Women’s Black Belt Sparring, but placed third in Women’s 35+ Black Belt Sparring. I only lost to the woman who took first.
The judging was pretty uneven. They held the men and women to such different standards. Over in the men’s black belt divisions they were thumping on each other like crazy, but in the Women’s Black Belt Sparring division they were calling excessive contact for the least amount of contact. They were treating us like underbelts and this was a black belt division.
At one point I was negative two points. They weren’t allowing any head contact at all. I was nowhere near her head! And we were wearing stupid head gear. Just to be sarcastic I dropped down into a low tiger stance, so it would be clear to the judges that I wasn’t aiming at the head.
It didn’t help that at least one of the judges was only calling the other girl’s points, either. It was definitely a white gi tournament.
I did better in Women’s 35+ Black Belt Sparring. I tried to make my shots really clean. Since they were calling excessive contact for even touching the head, I was pretty much left with my reverse punch. I got tapped in the head a couple times, once dislodging my head gear, but my opponent didn’t get penalized. Not that it was anything I would consider excessive, but if they’re going to call it, they should call it.
All in all, it was a good experience. We showed once again that Mo Duk Pai can compete and win against Karate stylists on their own terms. I won each of my first fights and I met my most important goal:
I did not embarrass my Sifu.