Sunday, August 07, 2011

The Details

Okay, so here's our story from D.C. this weekend.

We arrived Friday afternoon. Checked into the tournament, checked into the hotel. Two teammates were competing in the XMA (Extreme Martial Arts) portion of the tournament - both dropped their weapons and were disqualified. It happens.

We went out to dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant in National Harbor, down the street from the hotel. Had gourmet personal pizzas and good fun together with the other 18 parents and kids who were there.

Back to the hotel, where Middle and Little had goofy fun in the hotel room until Much Too Late. Little made himself a nest in the closet, Middle and I took the two beds. Middle woke me up at about 4 a.m. saying he was having a hard time sleeping. Thanks, Middle.

Got up Super Extra Early for a run and some laps in the pool, which we had to ourselves. Then we headed for the tournament.

Middle started with weapons - and again, he's been working so hard on this nunchakau form, he really had high hopes for it. And he looked spectacular - until he dropped one of his 'chucks - then hit himself in the eye, then did his release but couldn't catch it because he no longer had binocular vision... all in all, it didn't go well.

Open hand forms didn't go so well either. He was pretty discouraged.

I got him an energy drink. 130 mg of caffeine seemed to perk him up quite a bit. He geared up for sparring.

Sparring in a NASKA tournament is different than any sparring he's ever done before. It's full contact, meaning you can hit the person anywhere and as hard as you want. Because of this, you have to wear a chest protector and face guard in addition to the helmet, gloves, boots and mouthguard he already wears. Also, instead of 1st person to get 3 points wins, these rounds go 2 minutes. Kicks are 2 points, punches 1 point. If you have at least 7 points and are up by at least 5, they will end the match before the two minutes are up.

This actually seemed to work well for Middle, who is often hesitant because he knows he can't hit the head or crotch. Here, he could just go full-force without worrying about pulling his kicks and punches. He won his first round.

His teammate, and one of his best friends, won his first 2 rounds. They now had to fight each other. Considering how quickly he had won those rounds (well before the 2 minutes were up), I was expecting him to do the same with Middle. They're usually a pretty equal match when they spar in the dojang. Much to my surprise, it was Middle who won in probably under a minute.

Now he had to fight the other undefeated guy for 1st place. He fought really hard for the full two minutes and lost 7-4. So he finished in 2nd place.

The best part? Their ring had a large group so it was taking a long time to get through their events. By the time they were starting these sparring matches, the rest of the team were done with their events so everyone was there to cheer for Middle and their other teammate. Every time either of them scored a point during their combined 5 matches, there was a huge erruption of noise as about 25 people cheered and celebrated. (It was a little more subdued during their match against each other, for obvious reasons.) What a thrill to have some of his closest friends and mentors standing by to cheer him on and encourage him to "Be! Aggressive! Be-Be Aggressive!" and to hug and high-five him when it was over.

It was time to go for Mexican food. Rosa Mexicana has the best guacamole ever. We ate a lot, went back to the hotel, the gang of kids took off together while the grown-ups had some down time, and then we got back together for the Big Show where all the cool XMA people did their amazing stuff on stage. Video below.

We got home at about 1:30 a.m., tired and happy. So proud of Middle and all his teammates. What a great experience overall!

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