Jokes aside, this Tobu Taikai (Tobu meaning East, as in Eastern Saitama) was my first Japanese competition and indeed, first competition in a long time. The heavy rain couldn't keep dojos all over from coming out and there were lots of very good competition.
It was a pretty great experience although that's not what I could say about the results. Regardless, I was pretty happy with my performance, especially in kumite where final score was close enough that I thought I did better than I expected. I won't go as far as to say I could have won, but I think I could have won. Although in could've-would've-should've land, anything is possible, but results are the only things that matter.
The best part was that losing is by no means discouraging. I walked away from the ring unscathed, aside from a really sore left side of my jaw where I took a good punch, and eager to train more and improve my standings next time (on the 21st, for the Sugito City competition). I don't have such grandiose images of winning everything though, as progress is my only goal. There will be lots more opportunities to test my mettle and the results will come on its own.
The dojo on a whole, however, did very well- Shiramizu students placed or won their category often. Particularly exciting were the elementary and high school boys team kumite, which Shiramizu took top honours in.
At night, there was a party to celebrate both the good work done at the competition (Shiramizu senseis and staff all contributed is some form either as refs, volunteers, managers, competitor support staff, etc.) and, more important, to celebrate Hachizuka sensei, Iwazaki sensei, Yamazaki sensei, and Yoshiwara sensei's recently attained 3rd degree black belt standing. The night was full of speeches and good times, no doubt partly due to the "all you can drink" feature at the restaurant.
All in all though, and excellent first time out I thought, and I can only hope I have better things to say about the results next time haha.......
Shiramizu's Mikiya Kikuchi (red gloves) scoring a point in the high school boys team kumite match.