Countdown to First Tournament - 9 days

With just over a week to go until I compete in my first tournament, the nervousness has finally set in and I think it's here to stay.

In other news, my instructors advised me to buy cloth hand pads for the semi-knockdown portion of the tournament. Yesterday, I also found out that I'm required to have cloth shin/instep guards for semi-knockdown. I've been looking around for a good deal online, but shipping is expensive at most websites. I didn't want to pay 9+ dollars for it if I could avoid it. I found a pair of shin/instep pads at Academy Sports and Outdoors, but they're very limited in the martial arts gear department - other than MMA gear which they have plenty of - and they didn't stock the hands pads I need. Well, they did, but it was a hand pad/forearm pad combo that felt strange when I put it on. I'm just not used to having anything on my forearm and it just felt wrong. If I had it my way, I wouldn't require the shin guards, but it's not my tournament, so I don't have a say in the matter. Anyway, here are the shin/instep pads I bought.

Finally, I caved in and ordered a pair of hand pads from Century. Early birthday present!

In class, we've been doing some point sparring and going over the rules and etiquette in the tournament. Last Tuesday, Mr. G and I talked about the semi-knockdown sparring. I think it's 2 minute continuous rounds, no stopping for points. If the refs don't decide on a clear winner, they make you spar a one minute round, and if needed, another one minute round. Endurance is key! Mr. G put me doing rounds on the heavy bag for part of class, then we sparred.

There's not really any way around the constant clashing of forearms and knuckles hitting forearm and upper arm. Semi-knockdown is an up close and personal kind of spar, and I've heard that most of the competitors like to spar head on, just trading punch after punch, so bruises are quite common. The lesson I learned from this was: utilizing angles is important!

Over the weeks, I've had my head filled with tip after tip for both kinds of sparring, what to do to condition, and been given ideas of what techniques work well, which ones don't, thoughts on strategy, and I've been told I need to have game plans. I'm still working on these. In fact, I have an email sitting in front of me with advice of what I need to be doing this last week before the tournament. Some of these are:

1. Run every day. (Bleck)

2. Attack a heavy bag for 2 minutes solid. (3 rounds)

3. Condition thighs and shins.

4. Stop all workouts after Wednesday night. (Tournament is on Saturday)

5. Run Thursday morning, then rest all day and Friday.

6. Load up on carbs for Saturday morning. Whole grain is good.

7. Pack bag with snacks for the day.

Other advice from those who have been in and around the tournament scene would be very much appreciated!


Felicia said...

How exciting! I certainly wish you the best!

Tournament days can be really LONG days that start early. Not sure if others from your school that you'd like to cheer on are going as well, but be conscious of the time schedule so you have enough time to warm up/stretch and get ready to compete. Finding a spot to be able to stretch out and/or nap isn't a bad idea either. Snacks are good and so is staying hydrated.

Once your division starts, pay attention to the rounds before and after you fight because you may be seeing those competitor standing on the other side of the ring from you. Check out what they do (only jab from one side? favors rear leg kicks? etc) so you know what's coming. Then trust your training and have fun :-)

You'll be great, Ariel, I'm sure of it...

Ariel said...

Thanks for the advice and support, Felicia!

I'm not sure if any others from my school are going. There's one, but he may have to work. I hope he can make it, because I'd like to see our class represented more.

Your advice sounds so familiar! I've been getting similar advice all week from my instructors. I'll definitely find that spot to stretch.

The womens' division is usually so small at this tournament. I hope that I won't be the first one competing so I can assess the other competitors.

Nicola Avery said...

Good luck, your attitude is inspiring and I hope will serve you well on the mat.