On Sunday, Mar 13, 2016 (Two days ago), I participated in a martial arts tournament for the first time in fifteen years. Two contests were offered: forms and “breaking.” I participated in breaking, as while I’m nominally 1 Dan, a “black belt” holder, the reality is that between May, 2004 and November, 2015, I did not practice my art, and have not regained the skills which are expected of the Black Belt.
The tournament was sponsored by and open to the Cheezic Tang Soo Do Federation. I helped judge (timekeeping) several of the younger underbelts and black belts, and saw performances ranging from indifferent to excellent. I participated in the Men’s Over-40 Black Belt (Board-) Breaking division, and power-broke at the required three stations, breaking all my boards (four per station, no spacers between the boards), and receiving a respectable (average) score.
Then I went to watch the other contestants in my division. I’m hoping to find that the videos that were taken of most of them are available, and I’ll post them here. It turns out that a “station” can involve multiple breaks (I hadn’t known), as many as you can do without moving your feet. So… the guy who took first place, Brian Murray, a 3 Dan in my club, did a series of breaks which is absolutely in another league from what I did. Incredible, amazing stuff, which he ended with a stomping break of (about) 15 boards (with spacers). Like I say, I hope to be able to post the video here.
Couple of notes — one other contestant, also in my club, essayed a series of breaks which was almost 2/3 as difficult as Brian’s, judging by the total number of boards… but didn’t set himself quite correctly, and failed to break one of the boards. (One, out of about 20-25.) There’s a mandatory half-point deduction on a failure to break… and the standard scoring for this event, for the Black Belt divisions, is about 9.2-10.0 (Brian got one of those 10.0’s). So my friend was taken out of competition for the awards by the miss.
Final scores were tallied (5 judges; drop the high and low scores, unless that creates a tie). Brian was first. I got third; it would have been fourth, had my other friend not missed his break.
I’m definitely going to have to _seriously_ up my game to play in this league. I want to do this again. With more boards 🙂