Monday, September 27, 2004

An Inch Short (1)

Apparently, too much travelling is bad for your health. It was cold during the journey from the south of England to the Midlands, to attend the British Nationals last Sat. Today I spend all day sleeping, blowing my nose, and reflecting upon what I did/didn't do yesterday. You know you are too obsessed when you dream about the points you lost...

Maybe I shouldn't be too worried about being late. Last week at that small Iaido competition I forget about all my Iai because on my way I was thinking about being late too much... This week it wasn't any better... 4 of us from Nenriki Dojo arrived 5 mins late. But the whole event was delayed for another 1/2 hr, so I still had time to chat to people and warm-up fully.

This Nationals has been suffering from low attendance as well, just as the Iaido thingy last week. There were again, 7 competitors in my division (Ladies open grade). Last year there were 10, and the year before there were also 10... Is that just me who is really bothered by the number of female presence?

Anyhow the day was with Ladies and Men (1kyu-3Dan) first. I missed a lot of the actions at the Mens as the Ladies went on for too long... Because no one is scoring anything, and that everyone drew. The Ladies fought in 2 pools, with the top 2 getting through at the semi-finals. I fought Isabelle (a 16 yr old local) and Riddoch (4Dan British team captain who won Kantosho at the last WKC) in mine. My only "threat of the day" is probably Leng (who is MY kendo brother :), who wasn't in my pool luckily, because in 2 previous time I ended up fighting her...grrr. No other British squad entered, nor any Japanese girl...

My initial plan is to smash Isabelle as fast as possible and use the rest of my energy on Riddoch.

Bishop's wife Lindsey (Bishop is one of my fav. senpai from Edinburgh) went against Leng at the beginning match. It went 1-0 with Leng losing out (as usual, the points are dodgy). There were times I get nervious so most time I spend was jumping up-and-down at the side, watching both courts.

At the other court I watched my senpai Matsuoka fighting (accidentally, against Leng's boyfriend, Mason). My senpai lost.

It does not feel right when the day starts with people who you expect to win losing.

My turn.

I want to recreate the scene I made in HK with 2 kote in 10 seconds. It was at the team match when I was the Taisho. It's great if you know the flag are up for you BEFORE you hit the point.

Not this time. I repeat another spot-on kote, but there were no flags. I panicked -- where is my killer waza???

It's like the AK-47 you are holding on is suddenly jammed. You are left with the bayonet.

My men or kote-men isn't working either. I keep hitting on the Men gane. I tried leaning forward (waaay too much) but that just makes things worse.

Then I started worrying about, if they don't give points to me, they'll start looking at the other girl and give her points. So I have to cut whenever she does something... which isn't any good cut either. That match finishes as a draw fighting in 3 minutes (with me non-stop attacking). There is no time to think about anything, except running to the opposite side of the court and continue with the next match.

Riddoch was on Jodan and that just makes things worse. Not that her Jodan is too scary (not!)... but that fighting someone in Jodan I have to re-adopt everything. I didn't score in my last match, and with someone in Jodan it'll be even crappier. And I am afraid she'll score on me. A lot of action, but no points.

Riddoch then fights Isabelle in the pool and scored a kote. It's all over now...


I went and took off my men, ran over to talk to Matsuoka, who has already changed to his casual clothings, sitting miserably at the back of the gym... Just then someone came over and told me, the TOP TWO person of the pool will come through, and I have another match with Isabelle again.

It's a golden goal situation, and I really get focused -- My mind was all about getting through to the Semis. I'll commit seppuku if I don't score even ONE point against this girl... Then I did a fairly strong harai-waza, knocking her shinai out of my way. She was wide open when I cut her Men. They have to score my Men cut this time, and indeed they did.

My next fight will be against Bishop. She is taller, and she scored against Leng just now... I am worried.

Leng got Riddoch's right de-gote. It would be great if I can fight Leng at the finals.

At my fight with Bishop, although I am faster, I am way too far from cutting distance. Fighting taller people I am always bothered with them from far away. Even if I launch myself forward, the men is still too hard for me to reach, and I just keep piking on it!! I was out of control -- too bad that I was caught in the middle of a breath by her Men cut. My debana-waza is a sec slower. Flags went up for Bishop again.

At this point I think of getting a 1-1. But I wasn't doing anything to make that happen. When you think about you may lose, you will. I ducked down for another Bishop's Men, and realising this is "bad form", I paused half-way. She continued with her attack, and the match was over. So as my day.

At the side when we took off our Men, all I can say to Mrs Bishop was, "that's a really good match". I can't even look at Mr Bishop when I escape to the back of the gym. Last year in Mumeishi's 3, Bishop said something that makes me smashed thru 2 rounds. This time, I doubt he would be giving me any advice at all - as my opponent is his wife.

Matsuoka senpai was still sitting there with an emotionless face. He said he has never lost on the first round.


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