Although entering the competition this year, the commitment of teaching in Swiss Cottage at 2pm meant that there was little chance of my competing before having to leave at midday latest – adult categories don’t normally start until around this time. As it happened, events seemed to be underway quicker than usual this year and I could see that it wouldn’t be long before the men’s kata would start.
After getting my dogi out of the car and throwing it on, I still had 10 minutes to warm up and stretch before the Men’s Kata category came up. I saw from the order sheet that initially, I had a ‘bye’* before being up against last year’s winner.
I managed to push through the nerves and clear my mind before being called. Unfortunately, I cleared it a bit too much and whilst drawing back for the hammer fist in Heian Shodan, realised that Wayne Maliszewski, my fellow competitor, was performing Heian Sandan (the correct kata, as called by the judge)!
Now, at this point there were a number of options that flashed through my mind:
1. Continue with Heian Shodan and at the end apologise, saying I thought they had called Shodan.
2. Pull back, re-announce and perform Sandan.
3. Pull back and bow, allowing my fellow competitor to continue without any further disturbance.
At the time, option 3 seemed the most appropriate and we did have a laugh about it afterwards. So congratulations to Sensei Wayne, who went on to win gold!
Before dashing off, I did get to see Sasha through several rounds of kata. She did well; placing 5th overall, just missing a place in the Final by 0.1 of a point.
So, no medals this time for our club but we still have the kyu Nationals to look forward to in October.
Austin*A ‘bye’ occurs when there is an amount of entries at any round, that are not divisible by four. In order to make up the numbers so that ultimately, the final has two competitors, blanks are entered into the draw along with names. If your name is randomly drawn against one of these blanks, you automatically go through to the next round.