Sunday, October 12, 2014

First karate tourney

When the judge yells, “Go,” I use my 11 inch height advantage to sting Gary with a left jab. Yes, that’s correct, 11 inches. The tale of the tape puts Gary at 5 foot 2 and 180 pounds. I am 6 foot 1 and have a bit more than 100 pounds on him. But, he does have a very long beard.

I walk back to my line feeling a bit ashamed that I used my huge reach advantage to score that point. Well, I thought it was a point until the judge indicated he didn’t see my gloved fist pop Gary in the forehead - the score is still tied at zero.

On our second clash, Gary kicks me in the groin (generally not legal nor encouraged) right before I punch him in the ribs. The judges debate whether to give Gary one point or two before deciding on one. 1-0 Gary.

I hesitate a bit on the next clash, not sure what I have to do to score a point on Gary while at the same time protecting the family jewels. He uses this opportunity to throw a short kick - I move out of the way and tag him with a short jab to the jaw. 1-1.

On the next clash, I chase into the corner Gary, and he catches me with a kick as he is falling away from me. 3-1 Gary.

Gary kicks me in the groin again. As I am chasing him down, the judge decides there should be a break, right as I am popping Gary with a short right hand which sends him to the canvas. No point. Still 3-1 Gary.

On the next clash, I back Gary up with a thrust kick before my second thrust kick sends him to the canvas. Point Gary. 4-1

Seemingly able to kick Gary at will, I tag Gary with an ugly combo roundhouse kick. As Gary does not get within 3 feet of me, the judges decide I may have earned these two points. 4-3 Gary.

Feeling confident, I attempt a spinning wheel kick which missed by a few inches but leaves me in perfect position to drill Gary with a left jab, knocking his helmet nearly completely off and sending him wobbling. No point.

On the next point, I decide to go back to the basics and just stick Gary in the face with a left jab. Gary goes down hard and some piece of his equipment falls off, which he angrily tosses aside. The judge tells me that because Gary chose to wear a helmet without a facemask, I cannot hit him in the face. But, as I am wearing a facemask, he can hit me in the face. No point, but that blow got Gary ticked off.

At this point, I was pretty perplexed about what move to attempt. As I don’t have very good balance my kicking arsenal is limited, so my attack is usually focused around left jabs to the face, which are now illegal. So, I go at Gary with a weak thrust kick - he blocks it and counters with a nice right hand toward my chest. I largely block his punch so no point is given. I would have given Gary the point - it was a great counter attack.

On the final clash of the match, Gary stays aggressive and comes at me with a low kick, which I block. As he loads up to throw a haymaker to the outside of my shoulder, I swat him in the side of the helmet, carrying my blow into his face. He wobbles away holding his eye. No point.

2 minutes is up and the match is over. Gary wins 4-3.

A couple hours later, I am catching some of the other action at the tournament and see Gary in the distance. I walk over to him and congratulate him on his victory. It turns out that he is from Missouri. He has been whooping up on his competition down there, so he joined some members from his gym on a 10 hour bus ride to Minnesota for this tournament. I ask if he brought any family with him, and he shook his head, saying he could not afford it. We shake hands again, snap a quick picture, and then  go our separate ways.

As I reflect back, I’m certainly not satisfied with how the fight was judged. From an obviously biased perspective I felt like I should have won somewhere between 7-3 and 11-3. However, I take two lessons away from the experience. First, I have a lot of improving to do when it comes to clean technique and striking. If my form was better, I probably would have received more points.

Also, I can’t help but be happy for Gary. I’ve had plenty of moments in the sun, but something tells me Gary has not. He can go home with his head held high and tell him family and friends how he whooped up on a big boy from Minnesota. So, good for you, Gary. I look forward to a rematch next year - any chance you could wear a helmet that has a facemask?

Here is the video (the left jab that put Gary down and got me the warning was not taped):

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff Boz! I appreciate your take on how things turned out--good sportsmanship.