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Chapter 3 – The Tournament

After the huge victory of the grading of Yellow belt the second quest to me came in terms of the tournament. The quest for the tournament was tougher than I expected. After the day of the grading I was taken to a new dojo for the tournament practice. Till that I was not allowed or given chance for a real fight. After the grading award I felt like I am the king of the world and I can win tournaments easily. This idea was there until I met a guy, who was shorter than me, leaner than me. His name was Chandru, the fight which was called at that as SHAI (then kumite or Sparing, which I really had no idea on the terms what the hell it is). When the referee first started the fight the third second I got a punch on the chest and I just fell down. It took me for a while to realize where I am. Second time my Sensei (Teacher) asked to fight with the same guy and this time I was more confident on getting him away. The second time I lasted for whopping ten seconds. The third I also tried to become a hero and yes it gave victory too, I punched on his face and he fell down. Later I came to know that it is not allowed to punch in the face and I am disqualified in the fight. This was all at practice sessions, and in there I learnt another term called Skin touch. The term meant that what we are doing is sport and hence the aim should be in scoring rather than hitting the opponent. I was aggressive than I am now (Young blood, please don’t ask if I am too old). At that time the only aim is hit, just like the answer of Stark the Plan is attack. Also in the tournaments there was this KATA section, which I had a special interest. You might remember that the first award I got in my grading is for my performance of Katas in a proper manner. So I was confident on winning the tournament as I had one hand strong over the other.

The day before the tournament in a practice session which was rigorous I got hurt. But my ego didn’t let me stop there and I attended the tournament next day. The tournament was not I imagined, after the inaugural function we were asked to stand according to the weight category. Weight is one of weakest point. I am overweight according to the karate norms or so called categories. I was in 30-35 Kg weight category. Others in my category were at least a year senior and I am only one wearing Yellow belt whereas no one else seemed yellow. The bout was about to start fortunately or unfortunately it was not mine. The first bout was between two blue belts. Only black belts form another category. The fight was awesome to me, as no one was ready to hit other one. They played as if it is a feather fight. The way the dealt with points was something which I have imagined only in my dreams. The fight showcased the sheer brilliance and expertise of the sport. Every fight is for 3 minutes and the points are awarded right away by stopping the fight which gave the participants a break. Slap kick in the face gives 3 points, slap in chest and back gives 2 points. The punches are awarded with 1 point. In that fight I found out a technique which is called Uraken-Uchi (Back fist strike) and Haito-Uchi (Ridge hand strike). I was amazed by the technique and fall in love with both. I wanted to use it my first fight and show people that I am an expert in the sport (come on you might have guessed I am show man by this chapter). The second bout was ordinary; I was not satisfied with the second fighting pair. The third bout is mine. I entered as if I am a rock star. When I heard the claps I felt like I was being welcomed to fight and the appreciation is for me. I was unaware of the opponent who had brown belt in his hip. I noticed it when the fight begun, it made my hand tremble in fear literally. But the opponent thought the trembling is due to excessive power and thought me as an aggressive fighter who wore yellow belt deliberately to fool the opponent. I am able to sense his fear in his eyes ( I was able to deduce that because the same thing was going on my mind too). My Sensei was clearly instructed me one thing, “you must be the first one to strike”. Just when the referee started the fight the second he removed the hand between us, i took the first move and gave a perfect middle punch in his stomach with full power. That is all I know, when I opened my eyes I heard some count down and I realized I am grounded literally. I just forgot to block the slap kick that was coming and within seconds I was down and he was awarded 3 points. Now I know I have to block the attacks, so change my posture to block the attacks and took safe passage to enter into him. Now I got the Uraken-Uchi and Haito-Uchi and used it on him. He was blocking it just like beating a mosquito and I was just a mosquito in front of him. Two minutes passed by and I have no intention of giving up so easily to him, so I started using my leg and gave a slap kick (Mawashi-Geri). I got three points too. Now it is just 45 seconds more to complete the fight and in aggression I attacked with Mae-Geri (front kick) and I was disqualified and the opponent won the match. So I was damn irritated on losing the match more than felt humiliated on disqualification.

Now I need to prove myself in winning at least in Kata. On seeing the crowd for the kata I lost that hope too. But still I don’t want to leave the place with bare hands. At that time I was aware of four Katas, still I want to use only two or at maximum three. I was sure that by using an advanced kata at the initial stage gives me an upper hand over the others. So I used the order in reverse, first I used the most advanced kata I knew then in the further rounds the basic levels. This made me easy way to enter into the finals. In finals, I was asked the kata I am going to perform. I told deliberately that I am going to perform the most basic one, but the other one is going to perform Basathai (Black belt Kata). I was sure that I lost that match as I had no other choice. Another constraint I had is I cannot perform a same kata consecutively which left a bit advanced kata in the semifinal. I performed the kata to the core even though I was aware of the situation, I wanted people to say that with just Junino (Basic kata name) he gave a tough competition to the person who performed Basathai. And miracle happened, I won the match. The point I forgot to notice is that he performed certain steps wrong. I don’t even know that he performed it wrong and I won. That was my first major victory in karate which established me as a super hero in my school (in those days I love to called as so).

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