Saturday, January 20, 2018

Congrats to Kaitlyn for taking 1st place in Weapons Kata at the 2017 AKATO tournament

Congrats to Kaitlyn for taking first place in weapons at the AKATO Invitational tournament

I am thrilled when our students do good at tournaments.  At the outset I must state that we are not a tournament focused school; this year we only went to three, and I’m proud of the all of the students who participate in them.   We participated in three because it gives our students chances to test themselves in a venue outside of our school, yet I’m not going to subject my students to the circus. 

I forget who I heard this name “The Circus” (when referring to “Open” tournaments) from but the last time couple of times we (as a school) went to an open tournament the name fit.   We saw people throwing swords into the air only to catch them as they screamed KIIIIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!   People were twirling their swords between their fingers as others were hooping and a hollering as they back flipped and landed in the splits.  Seriously, I even saw one guy actually squat down in front of the head referee (like he was going to the bathroom) where he then reached behind himself to toss his kama upwards in between his legs only to catch it again with the same hand in front of this crotch.   Seeing this kind of behavior, I thought I’m going to lose more students than have students who want to compete in these tournaments so now we only go to three tournaments where are students are competing apples to apples.

The first tournament is the Monica Lopez Cancer Benefit tournament, which all of the proceeds go to a family whom cancer has touched and impacted.  The second is the Hearts for Honduras tournament where all of the proceeds go to help fund a mission trip to Honduras.   The last is the biggest, which is the AKATO Invitational Tournament.  In all three we compete against other like-minded schools so our students are competing apples to apples instead of against performance artists.   Now let me be clear here I'm not saying these performance artists aren't skilled or talented. I just don't find anything martial "of or relating to war, war like" in someone squatting like they are going to the bathroom and tossing a toy up between their legs, or someone throwing their demo sword in the air catching it and posing to scream their head off and call attention to themselves.   We can't compete with that cause I won't teach my students to do that. 

At the 2017 AKATO Invitational tournament several of our students entered in the Kobudo (weapons) division.   Because it was a small division they lumped our kids into the adult division.  So Kaitlyn (10 yrs old and a red belt), Kennan (8 yrs old and a 3rd brown), Gabriel (10 yrs old and a red belt), and Kimberly (14 yrs old and a black belt) ended up all competing against four adults three of which were black belts and one red belt.

Kaitlyn and Kimberly
Kaitlyn took first place performing a combination kata of two Modern Arnis stick forms (form 1 and 3).   One of the senior instructors (the head judge.) came up to me afterwards and said Kaitlyn moved “so smoothly from her center”.   That was much nicer than hearing that she really threw her bolo high in the air, or that he was impressed with how loud she yelled (KKKIIIIIAAAAAA!!!!), etc. etc.  Kaitlyn even beat out her sister Kimberly who performed a traditional Bo kata.   Kaitlyn’s form wasn’t the hardest by any stretch of the imagination, it wasn’t the longest, she certainly didn’t demonstrate the most power (she’s 10 competing against adults).  Kaitlyn simply demonstrated her form with a training bolo the way the bolo should be used and she was judged on that as opposed to some act of showmanship.

Good job Kaitlyn you represented Hidden Sword well.   While Kaitlyn did beat out adults in this division she did go on to medal, or place, in both sparring and empty hand kata competing against other juniors that were her rank and age.

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