Last Saturday as class was starting, Sit walked over to where I was stretching and says, "Holly. You going to compete at Legends of Kung Fu?" (That's the new name of the same tournament we've been to every year of the last many.)
I blinked. "Well, sure. I had figured I would."
"Ok. You need to send a email to [the organizers of the tournament] and ask them what are the qualifications for Grand Champion in Internal styles."
"Ok," I said, around the terror and exhilaration in my throat.
"That way it give you something to work for. It don't matter if you win. You have something to train for and you learn more."
"Sure," I agreed.
"So next spring I need you to house-sit for me again. I give you some free lesson."
"Ok," I said. Arguing, even if I had been inclined to do so, is futile. It's like telling Yoda the ship's too big.
"And you need to work on your sword form, too," Sit said to the SP.
The tournament, I may remind you, is next July. And I'm stoked. Partly I'm eager to be looking at something beyond October, and sewing. Also I've learned a lot in the last year and a half--a lot of awareness of what I am doing and what I could/should be doing differently--and I'd like to put it to use. Also, I watched some YouTube videos this week of the winner from two years ago and frankly I'm no longer that impressed.
Also, it makes me feel good to have the master encouraging me like that. I know he wants his students to do well because it reflects well on him, but he's not the kind to push. In his way, he's asking for a favor, but doing it in a way that makes me feel capable and challenged.
Maybe it's time to really put some effort into this baby.
In order to qualify to compete for Grand Champion you must win first place in three events:
• 1 of the 5 major Taiji Barehand events (Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu, Sun)
• 1 Internal Barehand (different Taiji or other internal form--for me this would mean Chen style or, more likely, Tai Hui form as an "other" style)
• 1 Internal Weapon (sword or other weapon; I plan to do sword and fan both, anyway)
I understand now why so many of the advanced-level students do the same form in different categories; they're stacking the deck. Also they're hoping to win more medals. I personally feel it's a bit dishonest to do the same form in three different rings, but the rules permit it--and anyway, who has time to police that?
The really difficult one to win is sword form, because all the 5 styles get lumped into a single event. Last time I think there were close to forty competitors. It was awful; it went on for hours. The SP and I didn't even stay to watch all of it, but if we compete next year I guess we'll have to. I can't imagine being a judge and trying to weigh all the infinitismal scores to come up with a clear winner.
Actually I don't feel too nervous about competing this time. I have a better idea of what to expect and I have an attitude of I'm just going to go in there and do what I do every Saturday. Also I like the sword form and I think doing it has made a big difference in my understanding of body movement.
It's expensive, though. Registration is $65, which includes one form, and I will probably do at least four more, at $20 apiece. That's quite an increase from last time. I'm not complaining, mind you, because Jimmy Wong runs a great tournament and they deserve all the support they can get. I'll just have to sew more, I guess.
Speaking of sewing, I wonder if I'll have time to make a new uniform...?