All American Open 2014
Back in early May, at the Canadian Championships, Sensei Brad told me I should go to New York for the All American Open. My thoughts were: I’ve had a good year in terms of tournaments, I need a challenge, so why not? It’s time for me to broaden my horizons! J And I knew two advanced katas that I had been working on all year. Surely I can use one of them, right? So I felt ready and I registered.
It turned out I had to learn a new kata!!! Gekisai sho is the mandatory kata for this tournament. It didn’t take me too long to learn the techniques, but I had about 4 weeks left to get this kata “ tournament ready “. Sensei Brad, Sempai Richard and Sempai Lisa made me practice every chance we had. A few days before leaving, I had some doubts, but I received tons of support from my friends in the Kyokushin community and my family. Thank you for your words of encouragement, they really helped!
And so I left early Friday the 20th of June for New York City. I had never been to NYC so it was exciting! Unfortunately my journey didn’t go as smoothly as planned. I missed my connection flight in Toronto, and most of the other flights were overbooked. I ended up getting to NYC just in time for the check-in.
Note to self: don’t transit through Toronto, take a direct flight next time! J
I met Sensei Brad at the dojo for the check-in, and then I dropped my bag at the hotel and we went out for dinner. We were planning on eating with the Montreal team, but they were done by the time we got to the restaurant. We chit chatted a little, and then Sensei and I headed out on our own to wine and dine. We walked a lot that evening, touring the city. It was great after a day of sitting in a plane and stressing about getting to my destination on time! J
Saturday morning, I was surprisingly not too nervous. There were 16 participants in the adult kata division. One of them being Gergana Kostova from Bulgaria! Her katas are amazing and she won the tournament with a precise and powerful Sushiho.
As for me, I was happy with my Gekisai sho. I felt calm and focused, and most importantly for me, I wasn’t out of breath at the end, so my last ibuki sounded okay! J For my first International experience I was pleased. I still have lots to work on, but it was fun and I can’t wait to train some more and do it again! It was inspiring to see all the other competitors and I’m looking forward to my next big tournament!
Thank you to Sensei Brad, Sempai Richard, Sempai Lisa and my fellow students at Bowness and McKenzie dojo for helping me getting ready. Hopefully next time, many of you will join me. Attending truly was a great experience. Most importantly, thank you to Shihan Stuart and Sensei Brad for giving me the opportunity to compete at the All American Open 2014.