|Posted by Cherry Collins on January 1, 2012 at 7:45 PM|
8th August 2011
About a month ago I decided to prolong my stay in China by a month so that I could take some time off of training to visit Wudangshan (see next blog entry) and so that i could participate in a Chinese Martial Arts competition which the Tai Chi master was keen for me to enter.
After returning from my Wudangshan trip I began training in earnest for the competition. I was being entered in two sections - Chen Taijiquan empty hand form section and the Chen weapons section (performing the Dao /Broadsword routine). Training was stepped up and some extra1:1 evening training sessions were added.
The annual competiton, held in Yantai City - about 2 hours drive from the school, started at 8.30am and wrapped up around 4pm with participants coming form all over the Province, young and old. Some of the competitiors were phenominal martial artists with skills I imagine they have been honing from a very young age. The competition was held in a large sports centre and it was an experience to perform in front of a panel of about 20 judges and a crowd of about a thousand people who had come along to watch. All in all about 30 teams totalling about 300 people from around the Province had entered with ages ranging from about 7 to 70. In every spare corner there were marial artists stretching out, running through forms or getting a last minute lecture from their coach.
My nerves kicked in a little as I walked out to the 'x' to start my form. My teacher had told me that he had high expectations for me and I was worried about letting him down, especially as many of his friends were there. An unexpected surprise was that my form had to be cut down to fit within the 3 minute time limit, something i found out about a minute before my turn. Unfortunately there was no clock and the only form of timekeeping was an announcement in Mandarin but whether that was time left or time expired I had no idea! Unfortunately I let this get to me a little and rushed my form,. Master Cui had his fierce face on when I walked off, trying to keep my head held high but knowing I hadn't done my best. He asked me - Do you think you did well? I answered in the negative and I just got 'The Look' which i'd seen so much of during my previous stay in 2009 and once again i felt like a 5 year old kid and my heart was pounding in my ears and a lump rose in my throat.
After our performances we had to wait several hours until the prize giving ceremony to discover our scores. For the Hand Form I scored 8.65 (from 10) and for the Dao form I did a little better, getting 8.85. Luckily, both scores were good enough to gain a gold medal meaning that Master Cui went home happy He also won a personal achievement award which he seemed very pleased about and one of the school's directors, a Mantis Fist master, won the 'Best Team' award for his team of Chinese students and their individual medal winning performances.
Categories: Martial Arts Competition