Of Medals and Men (or CB, In This Case)

Yesterday the Cootie family headed a couple hours away from home to watch CB participate in his first Taekwondo team competition with his school. He’s only been doing TKD since early January, and originally did not intend to sign up, but his instructors asked him to participate in the team demo contest at the championship. He said yes, and thus began doing TKD 6 nights a week – four times for his own classes, and 2 times for demo practice. His life has pretty much become school and TKD – and he’s loving every minute of it.

CB won a medalYesterday it all culminated with the day finally arriving for the competition! Our school is part of a group of five schools, all of which had students of all ages participating. Every student was guaranteed a medal, but not just for participation. There was actual scoring and places given for the students. CB’s first event of the morning was doing his yellow belt form, which he successfully tested for last month. He breezed through it, but the scoring was so close it ended in a tie with another boy. We had no idea what place he was breaking a tie for (fourth? first?) but they had CB and the other boy go again. This time, there was a winner. And it was CB! He got a gold first place medal! And these are no cheap medals – these are heavy, solid, “can hurt someone with that thing” medals. CB was so proud – so were we.

CB won two medalsNext up was board breaking. Now, I’ll let you in on a secret – breaking boards is actually quite easy. They aren’t using walnut or mahogany wood. It’s not even pine (which is a very soft wood). However, while the physical act of breaking boards is not hard, the accuracy makes a difference – if you just get the edge of it with your foot or hand, it might not break. And that’s what CB was worried about. However, he need not worry because after getting his two boards in place (one a hand break, one a foot break), he got into position. He had only previously done fist breaks, and they asked him to do an open hand break – that made him nervous, but he got into focus, hit the center of the board with power, and pieces went flying, causing the audience to gasp and cheer (the audience LOVES when the boards are loud as they break and go flying). He then kicked and broke the board, which made another loud noise. He got high scores – in the mid- to high 8s. After everyone had their turn, they called him up – and he had won another first place finish.

With that, we sat and waited for the sparring competition to end for his age group. CB had never done sparring (it’s mainly reserved for higher belts and he was competing as a yellow belt (even though he’s a green stripe now)). Once completed, with us cheering on other students from our school (some of whom did REALLY REALLY well in sparring), they moved all the equipment from the gym floor and announced it was time for the school demo competition. Four of five schools had a team performing a 6-minute routine. The goal was to show a variety of TKD methods – poomse form, board breaking, and self-defense, as well as have a good, creative routine that was in sync AND finished by the 6-minute mark (going over was not allowed).

Our team drew the first spot, and with that we set up. I had been tagged earlier in the week to run music for them, and my heart was racing even though all I was doing was hitting the fast forward button on a phone three times. *lol* But we had some injuries on our school’s team. One girl had hurt her knee earlier in the week, another girl had injured her foot during practice earlier in the week, and three men had injuries from previous practices as well (one of which required a last-minute change to the routine (which resulted in a REALLY FUN moment during the routine that the crowd really liked)). Once the team bowed in respect to the judges, I hit “play” – and for the next six minutes our school’s team was amazing. Regularly in practice they would miss boards during their tricks, but yesterday I only saw one board not get broken (there may have been more, but the ones that I specifically kept an eye out for were successfully broken). Due to the injury of one of the men, we were unable to have him do a back flip board break, so instead, he ACTED like he was going to do the trick, but then he pulled a string on the board and a flag came down that said, “We love the judges.” The whole crowd laughed and started clapping when they saw it, which was awesome. The routine continued to the end (at 5:58 minutes) and the crowd went wild with applause. As for CB’s part in the demo, he did a great job – he broke both his boards (his kicking board went flying and was nice and loud) and was crisp and clean with the choreography, always in the right place at the right time. The team had done it and it was 99% perfect (in practice the best we had done was maybe 80% perfect both on board breaking and timing)! It was so, so well done everyone was beaming with joy (and rightly so).

The other schools then took their turns – one routine was confusing and not choreographed well, another school had mostly black belt adults on the team, which we didn’t think was fair (our team had a wide variety of ages and belt levels from 6 years old to adults, from white belts to black belts), and the other school did a nice job on choreography but missed a lot more boards than we did. We felt confident we had snagged at LEAST second place. The judges tabulated their scores, and the places were announced. Our school was not called out for 4th or 3rd place. Two teams left. Would we win? The announcer said that one school scored 34.8, and the winning school had scored 35.0. A 0.02 difference between 1st and 2nd place! The two schools left were our school and the school that had mainly adult black belts on their team. And the winner is…..the other school. SUCH a disappointment. But you know what? While other school teams were sad and didn’t celebrate as they came back to where their audience sat, our audience went wild and cheered and went crazy when our team came over. We began chanting and dancing in celebration. We had won second place and our team did the best they could have possibly done.

The competition went on with other age groups after that, but we opted to go home since we had already been there six hours. It was a fun, fun day – even CootieGirl, who didn’t want to go at all, had a good time. CB came away with two first place finishes and one second place finish, got to have a fun day with his TKD pals, and it solidified even more his love for TKD.

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