Oh tournament. The event was more or less like I expected, however the experience was not.
My day, started pretty well. I was actually excited to go, even though I had been secretly dreading it all week.
My first event was sparring. Sparring. Dead last place. Yep. There is no good way to put it. I choked. Not in the sense that I didn't do my best, but in the sense that I let the situation overwhelm me and I held back. Having never been to a tournament before, and having no idea what to do, and being up to spar first, I listened to the judge. He said to just relax and take it easy, he just wanted to see what we knew, little to light contact, he didn't want to see anything overly aggressive at all. Well.... I'm a very aggressive fighter. After that I was completely freaked out and worried that I was going to get in trouble for excessive contact or being overly aggressive.
I'm not making excuses. I have a lot of thoughts about what to do differently if I do go to tournament again. Because tournament sparring is a completely different beast from combat. Its a whole different type of objective and tactic. I get that a little better now, I think. Even though Nick has told me on many occasions that tournament sparring is like playing tag, you don't really understand how much so until you go do it. The judges can also only call what they see, so if they are on the far side of where your hits land, they cannot call a hit, etc. Watching the way people in my division were sparring after I was out, it was pretty ridiculous.
I was discussing it with a friend of mine, and he said that point/sport/tournament sparring, or really any sport fighting (he mentioned fencing) is pretty lame in the fact that you have to do unrealistic things to win. Things that would probably not work in real life, at all. So I have decided to work on practicing some pretty ridiculous tactics in order to freak my opponent out and secure a victory. However, I do this full well understanding that this is NOTHING like real violence. (Normally my one issue with sparring, the fact that it really doesn't prepare you for real violence.)
Anyway, so sparring was a learning experience. Not one I really liked, but I did come away with some ideas.
After sparring, I was a little upset, I was VERY disappointed in myself. I don't know if it was nerves, or what, but I felt pretty sick. And after I bit, I went to the bathroom and barfed. : /
After that, I went to my kata ring, and competed in kata. I placed second! Which was pretty good. Then I threw up again.
And again in the car on the way home.
I cannot tell if it was nerves that had me so worked up all day, or what. But I'm not eager to go to tournament again. I probably will, just to see if I can get over my fear a little more. And probably learn something else. But it was an experience.