Tuesday, July 1, 2008

You win some, you lose some ... TKD edition

So, I've had my first day of competition at the AAU Taekwondo Nationals. It's a huge event, with some 1500 competitors over six days, and I'll admit I was pretty nervous before competition started this morning. I was scheduled to appear at staging for sparring at 8:23 am, which sounds awfully early but since we're in Madison it was really more like 9:23 am (or that's what I tried to tell my body, anyway). The worst part about going into sparring competition is worrying about the bracket: how many people will be there? how many matches could I have to fight? will they really be the same age and size (they reserve the right to combine divisions, after all)? will my body hold out?

Things looked good at first. My division was only three people, and I was scheduled to receive the bye, which automatically put me in the gold-medal round. Only one fight, I thought. I can do that. So we were led out to our ring, where we proceeded to wait. And wait. And wait. They started a group that was staged after us, while we continued to wait. And then they decided to combine another division into ours, which meant I had an opponent in the semi-final round. That would mean two fights to get a gold medal. Hmmm. So, a tougher row to hoe. My new opponent was older than me (not by a lot), a lower rank than me (although there's not really a big difference between new 2nd degree and a 1st degree), and lighter than me. However, she was also taller than me, and looked fitter overall. I thought I had a good chance to beat her. I had been training pretty hard, after all.

Fighting for two two-minute rounds doesn't sound that hard, does it? Well, don't believe that until you've tried it. The first minute is pretty easy, but then you start to get tired. You're trying to throw kicks, and they don't always connect. You have to move out of the way of your opponent's kicks. My opponent was pretty quick, and scored a few kicks on me. I managed to score a head shot (which is two points).

I think this photo is early in the second round (I'm on the right, in the blue corner). I was only down by two points, and she scored a kick on me but then I got another head shot. Unfortunately, that is when my asthma really started dragging me down. I had taken my wheezer (inhaler) when we first arrived at the ring, since it takes 20 minutes to work. But we didn't fight for at least another hour and a half. I didn't want to take another puff (taking too much can make your heart race), because I couldn't be sure it had worn off. Maybe it did, maybe it didn't. In any case, I ran out of gas and couldn't make up the diffference. You win some, you lose some.

After all, even though I lost my only fight, I still ended up with a bronze medal. Other fighters in bigger divisions don't get that consolation. Although I wish I could have performed better, I still feel great about sticking with the training and actually going up for competition. I don't know that I'll try it again—I'm in the upper end of my age division, 35-44, and there's a big difference between mid-30s and mid-40s. But at least I gave it a shot. And if you had told me when I was a klutzy teenager that someday I would be a National Medalist, I wouldn't have believed you.

Oh, and on Friday I get another chance to compete for gold, in forms. So here's to persistence and good luck.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on winning the bronze medal! (It's all about perception, right?! :-)