That time came and went again. The US Open championships the Kyokushin Karate. What a great tournament it turned out to be.
This year Maine Kyokushin Karate decided to have a little ninjas division. I was recruited to judge the Kata and fights for these little guys. Let me tell you there is nothing cuter than a 4 year old doing Kata. Then they fought. There rules were a bit different than mine. They wore chest protectors and were only allowed to hit and kick the protectors. First time I think I saw fighter smile while they were getting hit, so adorable.
I told Shihan that I was only comfortable doing the ninja judging but somehow got recruited to judge Kata for the older kids. That is a rough job. Especially when we have so many styles represented. Basically I judged on their emotional commitment, stances and confidence. So much pressure...
Adult semi and full contact was to be the main event that night. So i got to be around all the fighters, watching the kids and teens do their thing. Scoping out who my competition was going to be. In the morning, I read the bracket papers and I had one competitor. By the afternoon, I had three. However as the lights turned on for the main event, I had just 2. Lots of conversations went on about how the bracket was going to play out, who was going to have the bye.
I really do believe that from 8 am, when I arrived, that there was some kind of time shift. It caused the day to last forever. That night, it shifted to the other way and everything was way too fast. Seemed like the fights before mine, lasted for only seconds before it was my turn.
I am happy to report that i won my first fight, moving on to the next fight. I had a break long enough to recover fully, but again it was way too soon. The next girl was a very tough fight. At 19, she is 22 years younger than me. She was the queen of the ax kick but only caught me once. Lucky for me that one kick was probably the weakest that she threw that night, or i would have gone down.
One round wasn't good enough for the judges. We had one extension and then another. I thought I lost, but i could see one judge in front of me raise the red flag. The blood was pumping so hard that I barely recognized the center referees voice saying that I won. Only later did I find out that all the judges decided in my favor. Very close fight.
Everyone that decided to show up and step on that mat is a champ. It takes so much courage to get out there in front of everyone.