The Road to Competition - My First Experience

By Kim Chan

Preface by Tony Bujas

This past tournament - the 27th Annual West Coast Can-Am Championships held Saturday June 3, 2006 - was Kim Chan's very first competition event. The category listing she entered was Optional Forms (non-changchuen and nanchuan, i.e., Eagle, Mantis, Fan-Zhi, etc.) - Male and Female 18+ Novice. She won bronze (third place) for her demonstation of San Shou Dao Longfist form. In this, her first article for our website, she shares her experience.

The Road to Competition - My First Experience

Kim Chan's Bronze Medal

What triggered the decision to compete? Surprisingly enough, the thought of competing began a year ago. I had been a student at the Shou-Yu Liang Wushu Taiji Qigong Institute for approximately three months when I first heard about the West Coast Can-Am Martial Arts Competition. I thought to myself, "Wouldn't it be cool to compete - I'd like to try that one day." Well that was the end of that thought. Another year had gone by and up came the competition again. In passing, an instructor had suggested that I enter, which got the wheels in my brain turning again. Do I - Don't I? They say that you should always try something in your lifetime that you have never tried before. After a week of debating with myself, I'd decided to take the plunge. Once the application form was sent the deed was done - I was committed!

I had two months before the competition to practice and clean up my form. It was going to be a long haul - there was a lot of cleaning up to do. Every Friday night at class I would practice - windmills, fan you, slap kicks, crescent kicks 10 to 20 times in a row! I would also practice an additional once or twice a week, or if I couldn't commit the time to physical practice, I would visualize. I truly believe that the amount of effort you put in something will equate to the amount of reward that you reap.

Game day - what an experience! The day of the competition began early. I had to be at the venue by 8am. I had a quick breakfast, packed up my things and off I went, first to pick up my groupie (you know who you are :D), then to the competition. First things first - I had to register. I was listed under category 38 - what the heck was that I thought, that wasn't the category that I registered for. Oh my god - Three Point Sparring Black Belt Male 34+! I don't think that's me! That was straightened out pretty quickly and I was on my way.

Waiting to compete was an emotional roller coaster - fear, nervousness and excitement all taking their toll on me. I was competing against approximately six or seven other men. What did I get myself into! I was the last one to compete in my category and after watching all the others perform I thought my chances of placing were slim - not in a negative sense but more to do with admiration of the other competitors. I tried to focus more on the experience.

It was my turn now - all my emotions to be channeled into this next minute. I stepped up to the mat, bowed, and then began. At that moment everything around me faded - I tuned out all the noises and erased the images of all the people around me. Funny how I can't really remember the feeling while performing except for that one moment I touched the ground - the feeling of disappointment. I had to forget and carry on. I had been told that if you make a mistake don't stop and to continue as if nothing had happened. Finally, I was done. I bowed and moved off to the side to wait for my scores. As each judge held up their score I was in shock as I had scored better than I thought. It took a while for the head judge to announce my overall score. Unfortunately, I had a deduction for time.

It took a long time to get the final results as there were many categories and competitors within this grouping. It was amazing to watch all the competitors as there was definitely a lot of talent out there. Finally it was time to line up in preparation for the handing out of the medals. To be truly honest, I didn't think that I was in medal contention. Overall, I felt some of the others had done better and I had [made a mistake in touching the ground] and a time deduction. What a shock when my name was announced for the bronze medal. What a great feeling! I had reaped the reward that I worked so hard for!

I would like to congratulate all of you who participated - great job! I also would like to express my appreciation to all the instructors at the Shou-Yu Liang Wushu Taiji Qigong Institute for your tutelage and support and to the students for your encouragement and well wishes. Each and every one of you had contributed to my success in this competition. You had all made this a wonderful and fulfilling experience!

I was asked if I would do it again. Hmmm... Never say never!