Sunday, May 31, 2009

North Carolina State Tang Soo Do Championships

On May 9, the children competed in a Tang Soo Do tournament in Fayetteville. It was Sadie's first tournament and Benny's second. Sadie was the littlest little warrior there, with a pink mani-pedi, pink sparkle gel in her hair, and a sparkly butterfly hair tie holding her braids together. She was astonishingly cute, I confess.

The tournament was not well organized. It started (late) at 10:30 and then the children in Benny's ring (the biggest age group) were told to sit around the edge of the ring while all belt levels performed first for and then sparring. Benny is a child who sits still as easily as an elephant flies. He was sitting on the floor with nothing to do but keep quiet and watch for about three hours, I kid you not. There was absolutely no reason for this madness -- there could have been a schedule with certain belt levels at certain times, so that the rest of the kids could have gotten up to eat lunch, go to the bathroom, play DS, see the sunshine, etc. But whatever! Benny was remarkably well behaved, given the circumstances, and even though he got shouted at by a black belt at one point, I was proud of his patience and self-control in that ridiculous situation. I would have died if I'd had to sit there for that long. The adults planning the tournament should have considered if *they* would like to participate in such a thing. The other NKA moms and I were speculating if any moms had been involved in the planning. Our guess: No.

Here's Sadie's form:

And Benny's form:

In the background of that one you can see the other kids sitting around the sidelines, wishing they could go out in the lobby and get pizza, or still feel sensation in their feet.

Neither of our kids placed well in the form. The good news is that in the sparring Benny pulled out a surprise success -- second place. He was very happy!

I could spew some more bitterness and discontentment, but instead I'll just post some more pictures.

Sadie and her friend Keric getting some advice from Master Odom:

One of Benny's teachers, who has been very patient with him and really helped him clean up his form and in general get his karate more fierce and awesome. She got second place in the black belt division for grown-ups:

Benny made a friend while sitting on the sidelines. He was at the last Fayetteville tournament too, so they recognized each other.

The kids had fun, and the experience was great for them, if irritating for us. The next week, Sadie got her first yellow tip on her white belt! Karate is awesome.

For more pictures, some of them very grainy but definitely cute, check out my Flickr set.


  1. Your kids are so confident performing in front of a group! Awesome!

  2. Your experience is one of the reasons I never tried to have my kids do one of the Tae Kwon Do tournaments. They also hate competing. :o)

    I've actually been down on martial arts lately because the warm up calisthenics is starting to show its wear on my son. I've always felt they focused too much on quantity (50-100 push-ups, jumping jacks, stomach crunches) and not enough on quality and proper form. My son (now a black belt) has terrible push up form, but he tries to do what he's told to please the instructors. Then he aches for a week.

    Does your karate school do better in this respect? Because I've heard this complaint for other Tae Kwon Do schools, I wondered if it were simply a martial arts issue.

    Sorry for the rant!

    Peace and Laughter,

  3. Our karate school is AWESOME. We love the school. Our teachers actually are not big on competition, and have no time for all the showboating and craziness that goes on at tournaments. They let the kids do a couple a year, because in some ways it's good for them -- seeing other kids doing karate, making friends, getting feedback from other masters, etc.

  4. Three hours of sitting quietly! Wow! Could I knit do you think? I could just about manage it if I could knit. Otherwise, no chance.