About Me

Ikawa-cho Miyoshi-shi, Tokushima-ken, Japan
I was recently accepted by the JET program as an assistant English teacher in Japan for one year.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

shikoku karate tournament

oh blog,
i am sitting in the office, as usual. two days ago i went with my karate teacher and a few of my fellow students to the all-shikoku karate open tournament. all 4 prefectures of shikoku island met in kochi and had fights. some people lost, and a few won. there were a lot of nosebleeds and a lot of crying kids. one older delivery guy who i practice with, and one 3rd grade girl entered the tournament, so we went to cheer them on. i had to get up really early, 5:55 am, in order to get dressed, eat breakfast, and be at sensei's house to catch a ride at 6:30. i took a lot of pictures too. there are videos too, and eventually i will post them all on youtube. but until then all you have is my photo by photo commentary, which has t be good enough. let's start. my comment about each picture is going to be underneath it.

this is sensei's 5 year old son. he has an older daughter too, but i spent most of the day playing with and entertaining this kid. try playing with a 5 year old once ina while. he's wearing my glasses.

on the left is the delivery man doing some shadowboxing with the girl who comes to pratice. he is trying to get ready for his fight.

here is the little girl who entered the tournament on the left, doing shadowboxing with sensei. this was at the beginning of the day, before any of the real action.

more warming up. maybe sometimes you have to kick a mat. everyone was warming up at this point. dozens of little kids moving around.

also punches are acceptable when you are using those little black mats.

here she is practicing with the big blue mat with her dad, while sensei watches. you can punch and kick on this one, it is mostly for going nuts. i like this picutre.

okay, now some little kids started to actually fight. judges would say who won, and if you got kicked in the head twice, it was an automatic loss. this picture shows how big the gym was. the judge is on the left. they wore bowties and no shoes.

now these kids are just pushing on eachother. the guy in the corner has a whistle and he holds up a flag at the end of a round to indicate who won.

here are all thr trophies you were fighting for, and the big scoreboard. parents were always watching and yelling at their kids, giving them specific commands. knees! kicks! front! turn!

also there were kata competitions. kata are these fight dances that have special steps and orders that you have to memorize. one kid would step in and do his or hers, and then another would come in and maybe do the same one or another. then the judges would be like "the first kid was better". some of these are really hard to memorize. i can only do one after i see it once or twice.

but yeah, back to little girls kicking eachother as hard as they could. it was cute for a while until i realized it was parents just yelling at their kids to beat up other kids.

if time runs out, the guy sitting on the floor throws a little red beanbag into the ring. that means cut it out.

knee is effective in this picture. the girl looking in the video camera had some good moves earlier, i remember.

i just like the composition of this one.

and you can see that kid's face in this one. he's like "i better win so my parents love me".

finally it was time for our girl to fight!

as you can see, she won. she actually won her first two matches, which was crazy, but then got kicked in the head twice pretty fast, and lost the third. the did get a big trophy though, so that was cool.

when i got this picture, i screamed out loud, it is that good. did you know it is really hard to photograph karate with a digital camera? i still dont know how i got this shot. all photographs are downhill from here.

adults did fighting too. here is the guy from our dojo getting ready. he saw his opponent before the fight and got all nervous.

his opponent had much more experience and did a spin kick. judges really liked the spin kicks. he has a higher belt and was a bigger guy. didnt help that our guy got kicked in the groin early on. bad move. he did not win his first fight, which was disappointing.

the guy on the right, the black belt, had good style.

someone in this photo is thinking "i want to go home"

more judges for the later, higher ranked bouts. when the judges changed off, they had to salute eachother and each direction of the ring. it was wild.

again, spin kick. looks like that block is pretty much ineffective.

then the finals got started on the main mat. there were 5 mats in all, one in the middle and one in each corner. these guys did not mess around, but they looked like the got tired as the rounds progressed.

you basically had to be a black or brown belt to get this far. pain is a big part of this, i think. you are trying to hurt your opponent so he backs off an lets you hit him more. if you lose your momentum and dont connect enough attacks, you will lose for sure. we started to call the bouts before they ended, being like "this one is a tie" or "red" or "white wins". sometimes it was difficult to tell but mostly it was obvious who won.

then a bunch of kids got together and did a little demonstration. all color belts, all heights represented. as you can see, we went up to the seats to watch the finals.

i think this is the last last fight. it was crazy. basically, there is a three minute round. if a majority of the judges cant decide who won, there is another three minute round. then another, if its still a tie. if at the end of three, and they are still tied, they have to measure their weight. if there is a 10 KG weight difference, the lighter guy wins automatically, because he must have had more energy to stay in the fight and tie if he's smaller, or something. i did not really understand that part. if there is not a 10 KG difference, they have to keep fighting.

and that is what happened in the last bout. but it was so close. after the first round, out of 5 judges, two said white won, the rest said it was a tie. after the second, only one said white won. i think white should have won. then all judges agreed it was a tie. and then, after the weight and the last fight, three judges said red won! so it was like a comback, or an upset.
and those are all the pictures i felt like posting. hope you enjoyed it.

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