First Kick Boxing Competition

January 29, 2007

On Sunday I entered my first kick boxing competition. Having traveled the 35 or so miles to the event location, I parked up and walked on in. The competition was the national for the martial art club I attend, and I can honestly say I was shocked at how many people were there. I met quite a few new people and they were all really cool, most of which seemed as nervous about the comp’ as I was! Through out the say there was kick boxing sparring, kung-fu and tai chi along with some cool live music. One of the highlights for me was the tai chi demo, done by at a guess 200 people – This was quite a something to see!

I entered the kick boxing semi-contact continuous. I expected the fights to be 2 x 2 minute rounds, this was changed without notice to 1 x 1.5 minute round per fight. I guess this was due to the large number of entrants. There was a lot of waiting around following registration, during which I took the opportunity to watch some other fights going on, and have a chat with people from my class and to our instructor who gave me some last minute tips.

My name was called and before I knew it I was padded up and waiting in line, this is when the nerves really hit me – This is the only time in my life when I have felt physically sick due to nerves, which I luckily was able to bring under control with some breathing and concentration. I tried to keep warm by bouncing around and shadow boxing – Not sure if this just gave away the fact that I was rather nervous!

When I was actually called to the mat, I realized the guy I was fighting was one of the people I was talking to in the registration line – A yellow belt with 3 months experience. I am not going to detail my grade or experience, but lets just say its a little more than that.

The fight started with us bowing, followed by the referee’s call to ‘FIGHT!’ and off we went. I jumped in and threw a double jab followed by a straight, at which point I heard ‘STOP!’. Being semi-contact, you are not allowed any direct strikes to the face (They must ‘glance off’ the side of the face – Basically, aim for the head guard, not the unprotected area!). I was warned, and the fight restarted, from which point on it was dominated by low turn kicks and hooks – from both myself and my opponent.

I was quite surprised that I didn’t remain calmer – I’ve done some sparring in class, and found that much more easy going, but as my instructor told me, its very different in a competition, due to the need to win, and the crowds watching. The main pressure I felt was being watched by people who know and do the same sport, so there is a defiant pressure to perform. A friend told me that the nerves actually help performance. Whilst I do agree with this to a point, there must also be a level when the nervous energy turns you into an adrenalin soaked mess, unable to function beyond a basic level! I am not saying that I was any where near that point, just that I felt some what sluggish and uncoordinated during the fight, even though recently I had been sleeping, eating and training well.

Unfortunately I lost the fight on points. Being a knock out tournament, that was that – My 90 seconds of glory over and done with. Although I was very disappointed with this, I still walked away satisfied with my efforts. I had entered a martial arts competition, lost, and enjoyed every minute of it!


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