What a great weekend away with ISK
It started with a long 8 hour drive so I must put a thanks out to Master James for providing a lift, Mr Richards for his pick and mix, and Lara, for commentary – it was and enjoyable trip up. Arriving at our usual haunt, the Priory Marina Premier Inn, I was glad to lie down on a bed but with a need to eat before long I was sat down to a nice meal at the restaurant next door to finish the day.
Entering three categories I wasn’t sure what to expect and pre competition butterflies crept in early morning the next day. I had no hunger and little thirst, just the day ahead mulling over in my mind. Following the traditional bow they started with Gup grades; unusual as they’ve normally begun with Dan grades and Masters to free them for judging so it wasn’t long before I was called, which caught me slightly of guard as I hadn’t fully warmed up.
I felt confident with the form Pyung Ahn Oh Dan having practiced it more than anything else, but with my name last in the group all I felt like doing was closing my eyes and hoping for it to be over. I just had to sit still and try and relax. Once I started it felt good, my confidence grew I managed to get decent height on the jump and not wobble too much landing in a low kyo cha rip jaseh. I finished happy, but there was and always is room for improvement.
Although still feeling the excitement I was more nervous and less confident in the following Chil Sung category and made the silliest and probably the most avoidable error by not just forgetting the form half way through but instantly giving up to start again. My mind went blank and I hung my head. Thinking back if I held for a second I might have remembered, but we live and learn.
Sparring starting and as time went on I was getting more and more anxious as to when I would be up. Hearing a mumbled sound over the tannoy I thought I had been called, though not seeing much movement from any red belts I continued pacing around. All day I was pretty certain that I would be grouped with Dan and Chris being a similar age, size and belt to them so when their names were called I listened intently for a name that never came. I was so sure I should have been in that group I ran over and questioned the referee if I ought to be there to which he sent me to the main table and I got my name added. Phew. We stepped on the mat, and after the rules were read I was put down to be in the first fight against a forth red belt from another club. We bowed then to my shock I heard my name called; I was in the wrong ring and only seconds from starting. All I could do was shove my hand in the air and apologise then run to correct ring feeling a bit of an idiot.
The category was the same size but the opposition looked bigger so I wasn’t sure how well I would fair. With nerves starting to kick in the first fight got off to a bad start, loosing the initial point with a hit to the stomach whilst I was trying to blitz. Not to back off I soon got into a rhythm by thinking back to all the Viper Squad sessions that without a doubt have been the most helpful aid to my sparring, and made it through. The final came and I was determined to win this particular fight, mainly because I didn’t want to let my club down but they were also watching; and I was very glad to have to the support.
I saw many good performances by our club throughout the day from not only the Dan grades whose categories from what I remember looked particularly challenging but the lower Gup grades which for most were at their first competition; showing an eagerness and determination to perform to a high standard, I think they did ISK proud. My highlight of the day was watching the Masters sparring as when everyone gathers round the central ring you know something good is going to happen and I could feel the tension building. The fights were quick and some of the techniques shown are something to aspire to.
It is interesting at such events being able to see how other clubs perform, especially with hyungs and trying to pick out variations compared to how we are taught. Another bonus after you’ve been to one is seeing familiar faces and catching up with students from other clubs. One exchange of which ended with me attempting a butterfly kick along with Dan.
The evening came and with a late finish to the day, I know I wasn’t the only one with a rumbling stomach looking forward to the night’s revelry. It itself didn’t not get off to a smooth start with taxi problems getting such a large group to our regular all you can eat Chinese but I’m happy to say we kept to etiquette (6).
After gorging myself on a heaped plate of food I felt reluctant to make my way back to the buffet not wanting to finish after only one helping (and trying to keep up with everyone else). Mr Leonard’s birthday cake I thought brought a joyous end to the meal though it nearly finished me off, as nice as it was I had no more room to spare. Now past 11pm it had been a very long day and the decision against our usual excursion to a nightclub came as a relief (however tempted I was) and retiring to the hotel to put our feet up with a few drinks turned out to be a better option.
It has been well over week now since this memorable trip away, time seems to be skipping forwards and it’s hard to keep up sometimes. Before we know it the trip to Florida will have come and gone and I do not doubt that we will have a good time there win or lose as I always like to think its not what you do or where you go its who your with.