Today i attended Taekwondo Black Belt competition 2007 in Whitlam Leisure Centre, Liverpool (50 minutes by train from central st). I went there along with my Taekwondo instructor, Layegha (she is an australia's national taekwondo athlete), and two of my friends Leesa and Bee (they're taekwondo freaks as me, hahaha..). I wasn't there to compete for sure (it's still too early for me, i'll be ready to compete in next 4 months). I was there coz Layegha asked us to observe and feel how the competition atmosphere looks like, so we can feel "the adrenalin pumping" even we were not playing yet. The main goal of this competition is to determine the Australian's players who will compete in the World Taekwondo Championship 2007 which will be held in Beijing on May'07. There were lots of Taekwondo players there and they're already holding black belt. It's an amazing experience that i ever had, watching these all players who have already experienced so many years and also have won many competitions both national and international events. If i were in Indonesia, I think it might be difficult to experience this since I have to pay my own travel to another province just to see my sensei (instructor) fighting over there.
This time the competition was merely for Kyorugi (free sparring) between two players which categorized differently according to the players' weights. Another one, poomse (fighting pattern) was not held because of particular reasons that i couldn't figure out what it is. Each person must compete in three runs (each run is 2 minutes fighting) followed by a minute break. There is no limited point you have to gain, but the more point you get, the big chance to be the winner. If you reach the 7 points first and your opponent still zero, then you'll automatically be the winner without need to continue the next run. The weapon that the players can use only hands and their feet, so there is no pattern fighting, only kicking and punching to crush down your opponent.
In the early sparring, i was mesmerized by performance of a-wearing-hijab-girl who competed in 51-55Kg. She is very energetic and dauntless. I guessed she is still under 20 years old coz she has a teenager looks. Her opponent is taller and has the loudest Ki Ap (a screaming to scary the opponent) which i predicted earlier would win the competition. But i was wrong, the-wearing-hijab-girl only needed two runs to crush down her opponent with 9-2 scores. She is very good to read her opponent's tactics. I wish i could compete as her one day, without showing any fear and merely focusing to the opponent's strengths and weaknesses, so you will know how to deal with it.
Oh ya, maybe some of you will ask, how about the players' safety? Wouldn't they get hurt and injured? It's not scary to have part of your bodies or even face bruised or the worst, maybe fractured? You're a girl, can't you find another sport that lil bit girly and won't injure you?
Well....lemme tell you the truth. Every sport has its own risk, and for me taekwondo is a challenging sport that have more advantages than it drawbacks. You get healtier, more confident, and a skill to defend yourself.
I remember my sensei ever told me to give me courage on my first Kempo competition. "When you never feel the pain, then you wouldn't gain anything in your life, so when you're facing the pain, then you're already on the right track Aya" (Doozo arigato gozaimasu, sensei^_^).
It's very normal thing after competing and you got pain & bruises on your bodies (i've experienced that when i competed a year ago for Kempo/a japanese martial art, big bruises on my feet and legs, hiks....naaaah;). Those bruises will recover in a couple days, after all that's the process you have to going through to be the real winner. I'm not talking here about the person who get the first position in the competition......naaaaah, that's the other thing, the point that i was talking about is... when you can conquer you fear and handle your emotion while confronting your opponent, it will be the big achievement in your long life lesson. Even if you were lost, you wouldn't feel as you lost though, trusted me.
In a competition, for the safety reason each player is well equipped with body protectors. They must wear Nang Shim Bohodae (Groin cup/front body's protectors) which consists of Dobok (uniform), Hogoo (chest protector), Jung Kang Yi Bohodae (shin guard), Eep Bohodae (mouth guard) and Muh Ree Bohodae (head gear). If you're well prepared and doing all the techniques well during the competition, it would be guaranteed 90% you won't get injured.
So, girls...are you ready for the next taekwondo challenge?
(Leesa, Bee & Me will represent UTS on Australia's Universities Championship on July 2007, fingers crossed for us, go girls!!!!!!!!!)^_^
Kahm sa hamnida (Korean; Thank You)