Thursday, 24 March 2011

Your Japanese word of the... month... is...

"keiken" 経験 which means "experience".  Firstly, yes it's been basically two months since I wrote something that tags itself as weekly.  Secondly, after searching my blog, I'm quite surprised I haven't used this word yet.

Anyways, the big news was that this past weekend (Mar 18 - 20) was the Karate Canada Nationals.  As I mentioned before, I went with Team BC and I got a first hand look at what kind of things I need to do to change my karate.

As an experience, going to Nationals was amazing.  It was a bit rough in the beginning since I didn't know anyone so even the social aspect of meeting new people was great.  The other great part was that I got to be immersed in a community of common interest where everyone speaks the language.  We can talk karate and everyone gets it.  It's nice to be able to do that sometimes.

First off, the tournament was held in St. Hyancinthe which is about an hour east of Montreal.  We all stayed at the hotel which also provided the venue for the tournament.  So really, for a week, we basically stayed inside the hotel.  However, with two friends, we did manage to rent a car and drive into Montreal for a few hours but it really wasn't worth the hassle.  Certainly not for two hours.  But we did see...  some church...

... and the Olympic Stadium hehe...

Anyways, on to the tournament...  Taking place over three days, there were kata and kumite events for a bunch of age groups (starting from 14 yrs) and weight classes.  It actually makes for really long days watching lots of events, but being in the hotel meant that we could go outside for some fresh air or a quick bite and then head back to watch more events and cheer for the team.  At the end of the day, all the final rounds were held and then medal ceremonies.

Of course, with age and weight classes, the kumite division were by far the largest so that means there are fights all day long.  That also means there were a lot of intense moments as people tied or took the lead with seconds remaining.

There were also Team Kata events, which are always fun to watch =P
In terms of the teams themselves, Quebec and Ontario brought the biggest teams and are understandably strong.  Team BC consisted of 55 athletes and we did rather well, if I do say so myself.

A member of Team BC (blue) enroute to his gold medal.
For me personally, the experience was eye opening in that it showed me how much I still have yet to learn about competing.  I came out of the tournament with lots of good feedback from coaches and officials and I really do think that, with some reflection and hard work, I can keep improving to the point where I could win a medal.  The first step, however, is getting onto the team again so I'd have a chance to try haha...  so that's what I'll be doing from now til the next selection- training.

More Team BC - Boys 16 - 17 Kata
Admittedly I still have a lot of catching up to do if I want to be competitive in the next few years, but it's not impossible.  Someone mentioned to me before that "individual" sports like tennis or golf can be difficult because it gets lonely and the burden really falls on the one athlete.  And karate can be like that sometimes in that winning or losing a match depends entirely on the one competitor.  But now there's also more support both from within Wado and from the team itself which really helps.

For the rest of the year, there's quite a few karate things happening as well.  For starters, I got a call from another Wado dojo that wants to put together an instructional video and they wanted me to do some kata for them, which will be very helpful since a lot of our students have been asking for some kind of reference as well.  In June there's going to be a big Wado training camp and we're trying to set up not one but two karate summer camps for July.  So lots of cool stuff happening this year and in the fall, hopefully I can report on some other Pacific Spirit members competing...  not just myself haha...
My favourite shot of the tournament, and Team BC (red) as well!  Men's 18 - 20 Kumite -60kg

Lastly, about the tournament photos.  Unfortunately, f4 on my Beercan wasn't enough in the venue's lighting.  I basically had to salvage what I could from the RAWs and tweaked them to be presentable.  Not all of them turned out but a fair number did so enjoy! =)