Monday, November 7, 2011

My First Competition

A few weeks ago I had my first Naginata competition.  It was for Saga prefecture and included all ages, which were broken up into elementary school students, junior high school students, high school students[1], adults under 30[2], adults 30-60, and adults over 60.  Everyone who participated was female, except for two of my male high school students and a couple of young boys (maybe kindergarten students?) who were part of a demonstration.

All of the elementary school and younger students were so cute!  For shiai (sparring), they didn't wear bogu (armor), but instead performed engi(forms)-style uchikaeshi (a sequence of strikes) against an adult wearing bogu -- i.e. two performed at the same time and the judges decided which was better.

I competed in engi; it was over so fast!  I was sitting down expecting to compete after lunch[3], and then suddenly I was beckoned to line up.  I wasn't nervous at all.  I went into autopilot, which worked out okay.  My partner and I were eliminated right away, which isn't all that surprising considering we've been studying Naginata for far shorter than the people we were competing against.  A club member's daughter videotaped us; it was my first time seeing myself doing engi on video so it was really interesting and I could see why the pair we were up against won (my movements weren't entirely clean & precise at times, and I'm sure my partner made mistakes too[4]).

In any case, my partner and I were one of only three teams in our age group, so we got 3rd-place certificates, which was nice.  And it's really good to have experience competing!


[1] I'm glad my high school students were in a different category because I wouldn't want to compete against them!

[2] Of which there weren't any.

[3] Partly because I had misread the schedule (it was in Japanese) and partly because things were going well ahead of schedule -- the competition finished an hour early.

[4] I focused on myself when watching the video and didn't see what she did.