Sunday, April 20, 2008

Much ado about ... well, not very much

People who know me (and yes, there are a few who do) are aware I tend to set a number of rules about myself. Back in the day, when this humble blog netted about 30 or so hits per month (and oddly enough all from the same IP address), I used to detail every thing I was doing, not unlike what Twitter and the like has become these days. I can't recall what event I bragged that I was going to do but whatever it was, it did not come to pass. Instead of explaining the where-to and why-fors of the unattended event, I simply deleted the post and went on my way.

I soon learned it was better to post about what did occur than to explain what didn't. And that became one of my blogging rules.

That I blog at all serves mostly as an exercise in ego stroking. And so when the time comes to post about an event that did little to boost my ego, it makes posting the activity all the harder, with little reward other than the satisfaction of following-through with my previous posts.

Today (er, yesterday) was my first foray into a martial arts tournament. The overall event went smoothly, and while the program tends to schedule the adult competition after the kids, there wasn't much down time to be had.

I mentioned previously I wouldn't compete in board breaking, but several of the kids and teen-agers in our school did, so I was bopping from ring-to-ring, getting into position, and holding firm for them. Three of the 5 kids came home with trophies for their efforts. One judge asked me to deflect the wooden shrapnel from a few speed breaks, so I was certainly kept busy before noon.

After noon, we began with our Poomse (forms); the Senior division (over 35!) for forms was broken down by belts. Of the 5 men in my division (including yours, truly), my form was the only one considered (so I am told) to have been a traditional form, whereas the 4 others did a form that could described as having been choreographed. I did my form well, I believe, but I was outmatched in every way. One competitor's form went on for almost 150 seconds, and he wasn't being that slow.

There was a tie for third place, but I didn't even make that cut.

They then broke us Seniors into two groups: Senior and Super Seniors - those martial art students over 50 years old. The guys in my group (under 50, in case you wondered) all waived their chest protectors. I donned my own, because as I've said before, I have to worry about work on Monday. Strangely, the tournament release form stated all competitors must wear the full gear, but this was clearly not the case.

My first match was against a guy about my height and weight (naturally), but at least 5 years my junior. Defensively, I blocked more than 8 or 10 punches or kicks from me, he blocked pretty much all of mine (on two occasions the 4 judges couldn't agree how cleanly I hit him, so no points were awarded).

One of his round-houses clocked me square in the side of the head, scoring his second point. I went down hard but bounced up fast... even now the hip I landed on is only starting to feel better... bet it won't be nice tomorrow. When the judge asked if I wanted to sit down, I declined, telling him I'll just fight the middle guy of the three in front me.

Not surprisingly, it didn't take long before he landed a good punch to my chest, ending the match and eliminating me from further competition.

Part of me is asking why I spent $50 to attend a tournament 45 miles away, why I spent from 9:00 to 7:00 PM out of the house, why I dropped another $50 on extra gear needed specifically for tournaments (gloves, boots) for which I'll likely use only at another tournament, to accomplish so little overall (sore hip, excluded).

I am sure the experience will one day translate into something positive for me, but that assurance does little to soothe either my wallet or my ego. In time, of course, my ego will get over it... something more important will come down the line, making this day fade away. Don't misunderstand me: this is hardly the worst blow to my ego; trust me, I've had worse. But at this moment in time, its tops on my list. Until, of course, it fades away, like the others.

It won't totally fade away, of course: it will be in my blog when I click the publish post button. I have this other rule about deleting posts, and like the rule about not posting thing I plan to do, I generally keep it, too.

Of course, as the start of this post indicates, I've been known to break a few rules.

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