Submitted by: Go Ray June
It was the 7th of July 2013 and the 13th Powersport Championship! There were about 350 enthusiastic fighters and some less enthusiastic helpers from various schools in the Klang valley and made this day a very promising day of showing all that you have in poomsae and in sparring.
It was less talk and more action as two fiery girls started off the day at Ring B kicking and not caring where they hit—successfully earning numerous “kyongo” for kicking below the belt. At the back, the rest of the fighters were warming up on fighting techniques before going into the ring. The atmosphere was high with tension as we meet two fighters battling ferociously in ring A at round 9. This was a classic street fight as they do not aim for accuracy but hope to outnumber each other with kicks lashed out at high frequency. While entertaining to watch, these numerous yet inaccurate kicks will not earn the fighters points but will spend their energy very quickly.
I switched my focus to Ring B and witnessed a quite helpless primary boy being chased around by a braver opponent. The fight was ended prematurely after the boy complained of a minor leg injury and was too afraid to finish the fight. I observed that this scene replayed itself in the primary girls’ ring. It was quite a pity that some of the younger fighters were not prepared emotionally or physically and did not expect injuries before falling headfirst into the fight. However, the kids should learn something today and come back a braver person with more effective skills on sparring.
From round 14 at ring B, I observed that some fighters have predictable, repetitive and consistent steps in sparring. One went kick-kick-slideback, kick-kick-slideback while the other went slideback-stand-kick, slideback-stand-kick. Well we obviously saw the winner if the fight became a monotonous practice—standing still and acting a scarecrow when you know the exact time the crows were pecking the corn is not going to win you a fight.
Quite suddenly, the crowds were attracted by the sparring between two bulky fighters at ring A, mainly because they let out a terrific roar at each other at every kick and showed such an amount of spirit at sparring—now this was spirited sparring! However, their weight became somewhat of a disadvantage because they could not move quickly, and so they resorted to using sheer force to push their opponent out of the ring. We cheered on them as they tried to dock their opponent’s points by the mistake of stepping outside the ring when kicking proved inconvenient. At the end of the day, this was an interesting fight, and it told me that roaring and pushing might be the way in wrestling, but was simply not enough in sparring.
The next fight was a great contrast to the last one. The “chong” fighter surprised everyone by shooting 7 solid kicks successfully into his opponent’s chest while circling the ring. The 7 “thud” rang out loud and clear and earned general applause. Backing out was not an option, so the opponent tried to resist using punches to return these unrelenting attacks. A coach standing beside me told me that this move can only stop “chong” from scoring, but will not help the opponent to score. All in all, this was a very promising fighter and a very strong round.
Coming up next was a break from sparring as the taekwondo demonstration team—demonstrates! I must say that today’s demo was an unexpected surprise. I expected the usual fire ring, stack-ups, kicking planks 7-in-a-row and nothing out of the ordinary ones, but they brought sparks in their performance. The brief yet attracting taekwondo version of Gangnam Style and Gentleman made its appearance a few times between various kicks, providing the audience time a fresh change from a series of high-kicks. Then the demo team switched neatly and swiftly into their kicks: step-step jumping front kicks which is performed 8 feet in the air, kicking while blindfolded, a side kick over six people laying side by side, scissors kicks and backflips in the air. The self-defence item was worth a mention because our senior played out the plot very smoothly with a serious of impressive combination kicks: turning, chopping, backswing, 360 turning, double turning and wrapped everything up without inconsistencies. My biased assumption that the demo team played repetitive tricks evaporated into the air because this performance was exactly like a surprise birthday present.
A team member of the demo team, Chua Yi Hui, 17, said, “Our commitment and level of training got us where we are today. We are prepared to suffer all kinds of injuries from training for demonstrations, and I think that this is the main reason why we pulled it off.”
Back to sparring, I watched all of my friends’ fights and rooted for them. There was a fight between Hangen and Alex from my school, and it was a hard time deciding who we should root for. Hangen who was a head taller than Alex seemed to have an advantage before Alex. I asked a coach about it, and the opinion was that if the short one kept inside, the tall one’s kicks will overshoot, and if the tall one kept his distance, the short one will have to go inside and kick. However, Hangen with the long legs won the fight.
Then I sought out fighters and parents to ask them their thoughts on the championship. Sabrina Dreyer, 9, from Convent school who won 3 gold medals for sparring for the past two years and including this year. She let on some useful tips she used in sparring: “I just keep on kicking and try to scare off my opponent. If she’s tall I’ll stay close and if she’s small I’ll kick far…not too many slide backs, and we must definitely train harder.” Why join taekwondo, though? “Then I’ll know what to do when someone tries to kidnap me.” She replied.
Ian Phang,16, from High School was not satisfied with his bronze medal but he had some useful discoveries on his weaknesses. “I found that I have not enough stamina, so when my skills are equal with my opponent, I will be at a disadvantage. I made a lot of mistakes this time, pushing and kicking below the vest—it was a bit disappointing.”
Lim Wan Shin, 15 from Kwang Hua was one of the referees today. I was curious at how the day will go for a referee, and she replied, “ I have to be alert all the time and even though I made some mistakes occasionally, it was corrected by the head of court. It was chaotic and “kelam-kabut” at first, but I quickly got used to it. We were a bit more relaxed before the semi-finals, but we were asked to be stricter after that and issue “kyongo” without mercy.
Mr Phang, 46, was a parent who was “just fulfilling parents’ responsibility by showing up”, in his own words. He gave his opinion on youngsters training in taekwondo and entering Power Sport championship: “It is about discipline, health and self-protection, that’s why I encourage my son to involve in it. This event is actually more organized compared to the other championships.” Mr Phang also thinks that this was a fine opportunity for his son to find real opponents from the other schools. “It tests his real level”.
The championship ended at 430p.m. and I will not bother the readers about names and even more tiring names of the winners. Let’s just say that they earned their victories none too easily, using sweat, bruises, some blood and bones broken to achieve what they came here for. The rest of them who were named helpers were also greatly appreciated for showing volunteering spirits!
Bravo to the winners, and thumbs up for those who learnt things unlooked for in this championship.
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