Monday, May 08, 2006

Sucky Saturday

Can you say suck fest?

The filles competed Saturday morning in their first tae kwon do tournament. Now, I have been taking them to lessons for a couple of years now but this is the first time that they have competed against kids in another school.

They have however, competed in basketball and volleyball. So I have an idea of what kind of competitors they are. And the word to describe it is this: FIERCE.

But this tournament has knocked them and me for a loop. Both of the schools that participated in the tournament use jiu jitsu grappling. It appeared ideal. Instead it sucked.

The physical match ups were not good. Our little ones were about the same size as the other school. That worked out fine. Our middle group where my girls were located got split into two groups depending on the size of the participants and this is were some of the problems lay. As height seemed the deciding factor. So the Angel at 80 lbs was matched with kids up to 140lbs. No matter what her skill level she is not going to have the sheer mass to combat someone who is twice her heft.

The big boys in our school got paired with adult men, some of which were black belts. Did these grown men take into account that they were dealing with 14 year old boys? One of them is only an inch or two taller than the Angel! (Granted she is quite tall for her age, but she is 11) It was terrifying to watch and my friend Sydney and I kept gasping and covering our eyes.

Worse yet, the two schools had different approaches towards aggression. It turns out that the kids from the other school had been taught you grab at the neck. Our kids just grabbed the neckline of their uniforms. Turns out that is a HUGE difference. Not only did our kids not know how to break these kinds of choke holds (although the Angel was fairly effective at it) they also panicked at not being able to breathe.

I noticed it first for Imelda. Her first round she won handily. But in the second, when the girl grabbed her neck and she couldn't figure out what to do she tapped out of the event and ran over to me crying. The same things happened to the Angel. After fighting choke holds for a minute and a half she finally quit after the girl that was almost double her weight grabbed her it a tight neck lock. She wept on the side lines and wouldn't come to me. I was miserable. The girl was sweet to her and clearly felt bad but it didn't change what had happened.

The same kinds of things happened during the sparring events, where the wind was knocked out of Imelda even though she was in full pads. We had been told that it wasn't necessary to hit too hard when in pads and that excessive force would get a participant tossed from an event. Of course, this didn't happen for Imelda, who withdrew, when she was stunned by the force to the kick she took to her chest protector.

The very worst part of this experience was for Imelda. Who ended up not taking a single award for her efforts. She was so upset.

All in all it was a terrible experience.

The thing that kills me the most about it, is that the head of the school we were competing against HELPS TEACH MY KIDS.

Which means, he KNEW how his other students would behave in a tournament... AND FAILED to mention it to our kids. He let them go into this scenario UNPREPARED. He let them be terrified by what they were experiencing.

I am still so mad that I could spit.

Imelda STILL has bruising on her NECK. HER NECK!!!

I had to keep calm through this whole experience, to keep it together for the kids to make it easier on them. But I will tell you that I cried the rest of the afternoon. It was horrible, horrible, horrible.

Fun Daddy has told me he will take care of this. But he better do it before I take the kids back to tae kwon do...

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