The Fighting Spirit

Tournament Reflections:

I always get extremely nervous when entering any type of competition, or performance. So naturally, the support of friends mean the world to me. Before we get into the deets of the tournament, I just wanted to say that I am SO thankful for those we made the trip to Merced with me, and some who drove alone just to watch me compete. Its those types of gestures that I’ll remember.

I competed in Individual Traditional Kata, Team Kata, and Sparring. I placed 1st in Ind. Kata, 2nd in sparring, and our team placed 1st in our division. I was runner up for Adult Grand Champion for Tradtional Kata. We tied, and we both decided to do show of hands for the winner. I lost to a Gentleman who trained in Shotokan…he had SO MUCH POWER. I would love to learn how to generate more power in my hips! Great person, with a lot of knowledge to share in such a short amount of time.

So…where to start? Overall it was a very humbling experience. Competing with beasts of martial artists tends to have that effect.

Here’s the video for my Ind. Kata and Team Kata. Enjoy! Critiques and feedback are always welcome and appreciated! πŸ™‚

After performing our Team Kata, I was tightening my ankle brace when a mom and a little boy came up to me. His mom congratulated me and said I kicked butt (Aww), and then proceeded to take her seat. The little boy stayed though, and asked what was on my foot. I told him “Ohh, I hurt my ankle a few years ago, its is to help prevent further injury! Be careful when you train, okay?” He responded with an exasperated “OoOoh…” Then, trying to spark some conversation I asked what he trained in, and what he was eating. He said “RICE KRISPY!…be right back, stay here!” He then ran to where is equipment was, and grabbed a bag of Doritos! LOL…and offered it to me! I told him “Oh no no no, its okay! That’s for you to keep your energy up!” The boy insisted I take it. And oh my gosh. He gave me the BIGGEST puppy dog eyes EVER. So…I took his Doritos and he ran off hella happy. Gosh I love kids. They’re so pure in their intentions. πŸ™‚ I always speak about small things that people can do to make someone happy…this was one of those moments. πŸ™‚

“To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have livedβ€”this is to have succeeded.”

-Ralph Waldo Emmerson

A little off topic: It makes me proud that I could overcome different obstacles in my path. One of my friends laughed at me the other day when I jammed my finger playing bball. I told her that I don’t get injured, and when I get hurt, I see them as mere inconveniences. πŸ˜‰ And like any inconvenience, you have to move on, because there’s nothing you can do about it, anyway!

The feedback from this weekend was positive, so I think that its safe to say, I am improving. πŸ™‚ Its one thing when you put your heart and soul into training, but when others notice it as well, you feel that you’re invincible, and on top of the world! But now, its time to train even harder than before. Can’t wait until the next Tournament. Until then, FIGHT ON! πŸ™‚

I know you guys were waiting for it…pictures! Enjoy πŸ˜‰

Photographs by Scotty Asai & Stephanie Louie

Pre-Tournament Pep Talk and Thoughts

AHHH! Tomorrow will the the first tournament that I’ve trained for in 3 years. The past few months of training have been a lot of fun…and filled with buckets of sweat, and lots of scrapes and bruises.

When I injured my ankle a few years ago, I wasn’t the same fearless little asian girl from before. Though I still trained hard, and told others I was fine, in the back of my mind, I was afraid of getting hurt again. That mental barrier crippled me. But after a a few months of laying low, I knew I had to get back into action. Real action. A few torn ligaments aren’t going to stop me, are you kidding? The first steps towards rehab were NOT fun. But I told myself no excuses. If you want to get back, you’ve got to push! I knew it wasn’t going to pretty, and it was going to be a long journey. Train without equipment, train on concrete, but move forward.

When people ask if I’ll be the same as before, I tell them no, I’m better than before. And tomorrow, I’ll have to do more than tell them, I’ll have to show them.

Here are just some thoughts that go through my mind:

Forms

You’ve done this before
Make the judges and audience feel your passion
Slow down, breathe, focus
Keep the intensity, stay grounded
A good martial artist can see their opponent, a great one is able to portray the opponent to the audience, too

Sparring

Practice control, but don’t hold back
Stay light on your feet
Hands up, eyes up
React
Dash forward, retreat back
The floor is yours, take control

Overall, I believe I’ve trained hard. I’m one that believes that if you go through pain today, you will feel less pain tomorrow. Though I’m nervous as hell, I keep reminding myself to control that feeling to perform better. I have high personal expectations, and though I’m not looking to win anything; I am looking to better improve myself as a martial artist.

The time is now. LETS GO!!

GTFO … of Your Comfort Zone

For the most part, I try my best to improve in something everyday.Β But lately I’ve been struggling a lot with being content in my personal life.Β I don’t necessarily like it, yet I still try my best to embrace and ignite change. Because a spark can easily turn into a flame.

Something I’ve been trying to level up on for the past year is sparring. I’ve always been more comfortable in performing Katas. A few weeks ago, I was asked by members from UC Merced to help judge their tournament. When the time came for the sparring division, they were short on competitors. Now, I definitely wasn’t in the best shape for sparring, since I haven’t practiced in a few weeks. However this was a perfect opportunity to get some more experience with different fighters. I was extremely nervous, but kept telling myself that this was the only way to improve. I needed to step out of my comfort zone.

So…I jumped in, did my best, and lost 2-3. I’m glad I found the courage to compete (thanks to my friends who comforted me & pushed me), since I wasn’t expecting to win (otherwise I wouldn’t have done it) but to face a fear, and ultimately step out of my comfort zone. Here are a couple pics. Oh boy do I need to train harder than ever! 2 more months until the next tournament. I’ll be more prepared, and hopefully, it will show! πŸ™‚

Fight on, everyone!

 

Edit: Teehee I look like a vampiyaa with that mouth guard! :p

Extract of a Strength (Bassai Dai)

I participated in a Shotokan workshop a few weekends ago hosted by The Martial Arts Club at UC Merced and instructed by Maivian Le. It was humbling, insightful, and ultimately, fun! Makes me want to train in a dojo again (which I will once I’m finished saving up).

“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.”

“I fear not the man who has practice 10,000 kicks once, but fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

When I train, I usually take my time learning about each movement. Every strike has a purpose, and once you understand what that purpose is, continue to practice it over, and over again.

More importantly, I’ve learned to move and strike with your core. I take this in a literal sense, as well as a philosophical sense.

Power comes from the core. When you drive your strikes from the center, you generate more energy, and more power. This is similar to your spirit. When you drive your actions from the heart, it has meaning, and a personal purpose from you; making your purpose in life something tangable. Building character is one in the same.

Train both the mind and the body, and always strive to improve.

Maivian Le performing Bassai Dai

Practicing stances. In Shotokan, the back leg is slightly bent in a forward stance!

Bassai Dai – Arm Lock

I’m looking forward to the next one πŸ˜‰ Until then, train hard, friends!