Tuesday, May 10, 2005

How I Lost My Match... Twice!!

So... that was it.

I have literally spent more than the past 48 hours just to think about how my tokui-waza (tobikomi kote) malfunctioned so much on the day. I also thought about NOT putting anything down... But the best way to handle a mistake is to solve it, not to pretend it didn't happen...

First match: Ladies Open Grade (16 participants)
Mingshi vs Lisa

Everybody thought I am going to win this one and had more worries about the Round 2 opponent Miss Shimizu. So did I. But I also reminded myself that at the last squad she got Agnes's kote in the middle of no where...

Me and Lisa was the first match of the Ladies division. So a lot of people were watching closely - adding on the embrassment. But I wouldn't really say I was not prepared enough (ah, com'on... I have been waiting for it for so long)

I *knew* there was something wrong after the Shodachi - tobikomi-kote didn't pop!!!

Neither is my hiki-waza.. I can't seem to be able to make it work...!!

Ok... Mid way though, I scored first with Tobikomi-men. Which is encouraging because this is something I have been working on in these few months. Somehow that made me so (over)confident to chase to 2:0...

I went for kote-men and Lisa got bloody NUKI-DO in between. Flags up... argh she didn't even show zanshin... I have never had anyone scoring dou on me - so that was a complete shock..!!!!!!

Not recalling the correct time, but I think it was somewhere at the very beginning of Encho that, I thought, hmmm, let's just jump for kote again. "Ko..."when I didn't really reach it Lisa went nuki- "Men". And that was it.

Off court a number of people (dokai and sensei included) all told me that I thought from too far. Utsu-ma is incorrect - according to Tanaka-sensei. My bad habit of fighting from too far away is not corrected - it was last Sept at the British Open that I knew about it... Yet...

Plus as I missed I opened myself up, so even if my opponent isn't going full-on with 100% zanshin, hitting on my opening will get Lisa Ippon. That kind of opening is as obvious as a beginner went all the way to the end of the court and turn around. You just wait for that moment to see an ippon.

This is lesson #1 here. On Round 3 Agnes (to-be-godan) vs Jane (my kohai at shodan) - Jane popped TWO MEN just because of that. In a shiai no one can argue about opening yourself and inviting a cut - even if the cut is just a hit. Agnes was properly feeling even worse.

Mingshi 1 (men)
Lisa 2 (do, men [encho])

Side note: Miss Shimizu fought Mrs Horibe at the Finals. I think neither of them is undefeatable though (maybe it's the loser mentality). Winner Mrs Horibe spent the rest of her day looking after her two babies..!!


Second Match: Open Shodan-Nidan
Me vs Bau

Bau is from Vajra Club. According to Fanny (dokai at squad) she is the only girl in that dojo, and I was told girls are the biggest fear for their members...!

Anyway, Bau also attends the squad so I have seen him before.

Shodachi (kote-do) didn't work and we went straight into tsubazeriai. I felt kinda strange because I haven't fought a guy like that for quite a while (being forced to be with girls most of the time). Bau is typically solid, medium-tall, and pushy. I spent a considerable amount of energy to hold myself together. Attempt a lot of hiki-waza but maai is wrong and no ippon... Until at one point I got jogai from a push... Exhausting but then I thought, I have to stand up straight!

Encho. It was a really long one as I was told later on. And it was quite frustrating that most of my energy was wasted on pushing, making me forget to push and cut with the left hip. There was also the kind of fear of losing out to a hansoku if I fall down again, holding me back from going full on. Once we started moving together with me going "Ko..." but missed (definitely not having enough koshi), and then Bau just went "MEN". Bored shimpan gave him the flags.

Mingshi 0
Bau 1 (men [encho])

After this match I have serious doubt whether a girl can ever be stronger than a guy. Most of the really good kendo girls I have seen, are of the "meaty" type. But does that mean I can't be as good..?


Third Match: Hong Kong 10-person vs Macau 5-person team
Mingshi vs Lei

It was the finale event of the day. Macau (the neighboring casino city) sent 5 people in and there was time for a friendly team match. I'd already took off my bogu, and spent the rest of the afternoon in mitori-keiko - until someone told me to armed up asap as my name is on the list..!!

Anyway, it is a brand-new experience for me to be at the Team HK side - even thought it is in such a small scale. I suppose they made it a more even match (as the representatives from Macau are not as strong) so everyone on my side was all under Nidan. I fought the 7th match against Lei, a girl. Watching the 4th match with Amy vs Lei, I could see Lei is not terribly "active"...

At sonkyo Wong-san (shushin) actually talked to Lei about "don't just stand there"...

My shodachi failed the third time and so were a lot more of hiki-waza. But my opponent is just... so not doing anything at all. Once I did seme-ashi > tobikomi-men... No Ippon. Another go... Three flags up..!! Phew!!

Straight after Shushin said "nihonme" I replayed my move the third time - BANG. Three flags up again.

Another point worth mentioning is that, for the first two matchs I was using the 38 shinai Agnes gave me weeks ago. On this third match I thought hmmm for a change lets use my new Tozando one... And it was MAGIC!!

Mingshi 2(men, men)
Lei 0

There isn't a chance where I can watch other people I train with at the squad actually fights. At mitori keiko I kept watching two guys: Lim and Angus (both ended up at the finals). For Lim it was because a few weeks ago Kishigawa-sensei said "Lim has improved the most - his seme is good". As for Angus, who I haven't met before but he was wearing my home dojo's zekken(!?), I like the way he did seme-ashi and also his hiki-waza - reminds me of 2 senpai from London.

Even though no medal for me this round, last but not least, the most satisfying thing I did was the last Ippon at godou keiko. I grabbed Lim for rematch (he was in the UK 2 years ago). He wasn't at 100% as he had spent much longer time in the shiaijo. But I had got from him the BEST, STRAIGHTEST Men I had ever done. That's what I learnt in a day, and I had to keep recreating that moment for the rest of the year...

[edit: I have spell-checked again because I skipped squad today - no excuse but am too busy!!]


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