So it was an experience getting back from Chicago to attend my tournament. But it was worth it.
First the experience:
Flight out was supposed to be at 4:40pm CST. Was delayed a little (airport was hectic), annoyed me a bit, as I had volunteered to help on the tournament setup, and I wound up missing this.
Oh, and I left my ever-present bluetooth headset at the security checkpoint. More on that at the end.
Then they moved the gate, and found a new plane for us. No problem.
Delayed again from 5:15pm to 5:35pm
You see where this is headed. Tournament registration starts at 8:30am Saturday. I won’t cut to the punchline. I will note I was 15 minutes late.
But it gets better. And by better, I mean worse …
We boarded at about 5:40pm. Taxied out, and then parked. Captain came on, he had received new routing, as there were some significant storms in between Chicago and Detroit.
He had checked with his team on the fuel situation, and they came back later, around 7pm, and said, nope, not enough fuel. We taxied back to the gate to take on more fuel.
Curious about the storms, I pulled out my phone, and looked at Weather Underground. Sure enough, a large swath of Michigan was covered in some nasty weather. If we were to wend our way around it, we’d have to take off almost immediately, and go on afterburners. I thought, uh oh, we are likely to get canceled.
Moments later, the captain came on and said that.
Ok. Here I am in Chicago, with 2 options: 1) take a later flight (after the storm passes) or 2) drive.
Its about 240 miles, call it 4-5 hours of driving.
Later flights: standing room only with long waiting lists. American Airlines left a message on my home phone telling me happily that I was now guaranteed a seat on the 7AM flight.
Remember, thats 7AM CST, or 8AM EST. Tournament starts at 8:30AM for registration. Couldn’t imagine that they would get us in before 9:30AM, and I’d be hard pressed to be there by 10AM.
Like hell was I gonna miss the tournament.
So my options were to miss it or drive.
Since I took first place in my weapons division (my daughter shot some stills of me as I was doing the kata, but alas didn’t get to doing a movie of it), it shouldn’t be hard to figure out what I did.
I rented a car from National (my normal Enterprise folks happily informed me that they don’t do one way rentals). I started out around 9pm. Of course, having an iPhone, and not having my charger with me, while my battery was down to 30% …. Needless to say I rigged up a Rube Goldberg to charge it … I had an inverter for charging my laptop, and the laptop cable to the iPhone, so … well, you get the idea.
I drove until I hit Kalamazoo. I felt tired. Who knew that getting up at 4:30am that day, then doing all this stuff, and then driving until 12:30am local time, would tax a person.
Found a hotel with a room, stayed until 5:15am. Then gassed up the car, grabbed some (unfortunate) breakfast and bad coffee, and headed out. Arrived at Detroit Metro Airport at 7:55am, dropped the car off, picked up my car (I thought I was going to be too tired to handle this later on, and was I ever right!), drove home. Got there at 8:20am. Picked up my stuff, though I forgot my obi, and had to run back in to get it.
Got to the event at 8:45am, and started to help out. Competition began around 10:15am, my first event was weapons.
Did the tokomine no kun, and miraculously, did not bobble or drop my bo.
Remember, I had a bad breakfast, and only one cup of coffee, so I was going on fumes.
Somehow … somehow … I placed first.
My daughter, doing the same kata, placed second in her division. I am quite pleased by this.
Then it came time for forms. I was performing Seiuchin kata at the suggestion of my instructors. Many kyu would be doing Seisan (first kata), and I needed to stand out.
I haven’t tested for proficiency in this kata yet, and I think I am still missing a few things, major or otherwise. But that won’t stop me from trying. Call it a character flaw, I do prefer the road less traveled and all that.
Been practicing for a while, I think I had it down pretty well, though a week ago, one of the sensei’s had me change a number of things, which I had been practicing since. I do think I have it down, just need polishing (and after I hit Shodan and the rest, I will still need polishing :) ).
I am not making excuses, I didn’t place in this. Be it the lack of coffee, or the operating on less than 9 hours of sleep over 2 days, or the driving 120 miles right before this … any of these things could have impacted me. I made two mistakes that I am aware of, and hopefully will have learned from.
I had hoped to place, but my competitors were better than I. And I am not displeased for trying it. I’ll do better next time. No business trips the day before :)
But since I placed first in weapons, I had the chance to go for grandmaster on underbelt in forms and weapons.
Why not I thought. Why not.
I think I am pretty good at bo, at least this particular kata.
Watching the competitors, most were ok, some were good, a few really good. I thought, that in order to come in reasonably good chance of winning this, I have to dial the power way up … that is, the thrusts, the speed, the swings have to be wicked hard, and fast.
So here you have this guy, operating on little caffeine and even less sleep, making a critical hard decision, to dial up the power.
Which I shouldn’t have done.
Punchline. I didn’t win. I am not disappointed for trying. I am disappointed that with increased power came … er … a little less control.
I bobbled the bo. Twice. I thwacked my left knee something fierce.
Understand, this is a bit of hard wood. Not the (wimpy, ahem) graphite thin bo used by others, where they can get great speed without much effort, simply due to the fact that their moment of inertia around the rotational axis is so low … this is nearly 2 meters of hard wood.
It takes a huge amount of energy to move this with power and speed.
For a guy thats pretty tired at this point, maybe not so right in the head (remember … not enough coffee), I should have dialed back the power.
The important thing is that I tried. Like Casey at the bat, I stood up, and I tried.
You are guaranteed not to succeed if you never try. I don’t like those odds. So I tried. Without risk, there can be no reward. But there are no guarantees in life. So even if you do take a risk, you aren’t guaranteed a reward.
Its the entrepreneurial spirit to take these risks in a business setting. It is a drive for personal best to do this in a tournament.
Next tournament, I’ll do sparring (kumite), forms, and weapons. Will report then. Hopefully with videos.