Leading up to the fight
We got to Montreal around 4 in the afternoon. After we settled into our rooms, we went to weigh in. I was up to 178, which is 5 pounds heavier than at the dojo. That made me disappointed. I haven't been overeating. But then I thought that maybe all the coffee and sitting around for 4 hours might have added some water weight.
We waited to eat until after weigh-in because kenny had to be sure to be in light weight and it was awful close. Dinner was a very nice Indian Buffett. I never had indian food before and I have to say that even though the flavors were foreign to me, I really liked about half of the things they offered. I didn't over eat, which is usually hard for me at a buffett. I guess it is hard for everyone because as I sat, my tummy warm and full, everyone kept getting more food. I started to get picked on (freindly) that I could eat something, until Sensei K told them to leave me be. I think it is hard for people who don't struggle with weight to understand.
The next morning after breakfast we went to the arenas. This is where the enormousness of this being a world tourney really hit home. I went down to the area we were going to fight and saw a stage. Not mats on the floor, but a raised stage with new mats. A jumbo screen so everyone in the place could see the fight. Tables full of trophys, more than I have ever seen in one place. Tons of chairs were being strung together by red shirted volunteers. I think that uplifted stage was the scariest thing I had even seen.
I had been in a bit of a battle with myself before the I saw the stage. One voice in my head would say that I didn't deserve to be there, I hadn't put in enough work. I was going to get pwned. Then another voice would say, get over yourself, you are here because you are a good fighter. They wouldn't bring you here if they thought you couldn't do it. After I saw the stage, the reasonable voice was silenced.
We arrived at the arena at 6. The march on to the stage was to happen at 7. I looked around. There was a sea of black belts. There were two men who were yellow belts with green strips, they were from a different organization, and then there was me, a yellow belt. I was the lowest ranked woman there. Every girl wrapped a black belt around their waist, some with stripes.
Then men and women of the place came alive. Wearing sweatshirts either over or under their dogis, they stretched, shadow boxed, kicked pads and jumped rope. I had absolutely no urge to do any of that. I stretched because I knew I needed to. I wanted to be limber. I jumped rope for maybe a minute. I was too distracted. I held the bag for Sensei to kick and when she asked if I wanted to, I really, truly, didn't. I am glad she didn't make me.
Fighters meeting started at 6:30. The fights were to be 3 minutes rounds, with a 2 minute extension and then a 1 minute extension, if needed. You could briefly push as long as it was followed with a technique (new rule for me). Then all the other rules I knew about. I tried to scope out who I was fighting. I looked at the brackets and I had never fought or heard of any of these people except for one. Kirsty from canada, but all I really knew of her was that Sensei trained bo staff with her a few months ago in Halifax. She was a very nice person, I liked her a lot.
I had a bye. Shihan Ray said it was because I was the under-belt. So my first fight was going to be number 16, and lucky for me, Sensei K's fight was number 15. We were to get to the mats three fights ahead, so that meant that I would see Sensei's fight. The march of the fighters was to begin promptly at 7. We marched down in our divisions. I could hardly believe it when I marched onto the stage, Sensei K's place was right next to me. It was awesome that we could stand side by side. The big screen showed video of a few different angles and the were a half dozen professional photographers. They were as scary as the stage itself.
The fighters went back to the warm-up room, and waited. Kirsty lost her fight, and I was to fight her victor. I am not sure of the woman's name but she was 25 pounds heavier than I was. I was a bit nervous. Sensei saw her fight and told me that Kirsty had worked the inside leg and I should attack it too. Sampai Harry said that I needed to work her chest, that she didn't like it.
All too soon, Sensei was called down starirs and I followed. Sensei lost her fight but it was a good fight regardless. Then it was my turn.
I walked to the stage. No time to turn back. I bowed to the front, bowed to the ref, and then my opponent. Fighting stance, GO! I felt her land a couple of punches, but they didn't hurt. Adrelaline was pumping. I diamond stepped past her lead leg and got her with a good shot to the inside of her back leg, just as my Shihan had taught me. I few more punches. I could hear Sempai Harry yelling for me to hit her chest and I would, but the ref kept telling me to keep the punches lower. I don't think I was anywhere near her face. I few short punches into her ribs and I side dtepped again and this time when I got that leg, she went down. I got a 1/2 point. My first 1/2 point ever.
Now she had nothing to lose. She kept going for my head and I put her down again. Her foot would go up but she wasn't really connecting. There was just weight and no power. I allowed one slow kick up and when it got to my shoulder I pushed forward and kicked and she went down again. This time though, I got a warning. I guess I had two hands on her leg when I am supposed to have one. Round was over and all the red flags went up for me.
Was I excited? Not really. I don't know why but all I could think of is that my cardio was doing so much better. My chest wasn't hurting. I was proud of my stamina. As I did the bows and left the stage and people started to tell me I was so great, that is when the win came in.
I hung about to see the next match. The Canadian and a woman from Conntecut were fighting. The Candanian was an awesome fighter. She had legs coming from everywhere and when they hit, they hit seriously hard. She easily won that fight and before it was over, I could feel the pain.
My lower leg was screaming. When I tried a lead leg kick to the inner thigh, she had turned her knee and I kicked it with my shin. Usually the person who hits the shin says 'ow', but when it happened, she said 'ow' and I was amazed that it didn't hurt me. Now it did. I tried my best to walk up the ramp to the warm-up room without limping. I couldn't do it. My lower leg was swelling up and I couldn't feel my feet. Fighting back tears, I told Shiahn, I didn't think I could fight again. Sensei got me ice and told me to to give it time.
The fights went on and as time passed my leg got better. Not great but I could start to walk on it. Soon enough I could kick with it. I went down to my match. I was told not to be a hero. I was told that if something hurt too bad, that I was to put a knee down. That kind of shocked me. I never heard anyone say that before. The thought was so far away from my mind, and I said I couldn't do that. I am going to fight till I dropped.
This woman was fierce. She is the first fighter in a tournament that has ever hurt me with punches. She was very skilled at placing them in the exact right spot for maximum damage. Still I was the stronger fighter. We exchanged blowes and I was dominating the mat, pushing her back. Then I was out.
54 Seconds into the fight, she threw a kick at me that I never saw coming. I was told it hit the back of my head and I rolled forward. All I know is I was punching her, then some dude was standing over me. He wouldn't let me bow out. They took me to go lay down in the corner behind a partition.
The unreasonable voice in my head started to scream at me. How foolish was I to get knocked out? I knew I was supposed to have my hands up, why didn't I listen? I saw Shihan standing over me and told him that I was so sorry. I think it took 10 - 15 minutes before I stopped feeling embarrassed. I know it was silly of me to feel that way. The feeling of embarrassment and shame at the time was overwhelming.
I am proud I fought. I am even proud of the loss. I tried hard and I worked hard. I also had a great weekend. In between matches I was saying how the emotions are so very overwhelming and that I didn't think I could do another match. As soon as it was over however, all I could think of is the next match. I am still silly just in a different way.