Cornell Tournament (and stories lol)

So the Cornell Tournament ended. We set off around 5: 30 p.m. on Friday, with 40ish people and 12 Tuff students who were also going to the tournament.

MIT sport Tae Kwon Do is strong, but I was not.

I packed my two Tae Kwon Do uniforms and a black belt before leaving Taiwan, telling myself that I would continue practicing Tae Kwon Do in MIT with ultimate passion. Nevertheless, I struggled a little bit in the first few weeks and hid Tae Kwon Do in the bottom of my mind. 3 days a week, with 2 hours each —  I can’t do it. How can I do it? Right now I’m on track with schoolwork so I feel chill all the time, while in those days, in those days bombarding by English and isolation, I felt nothing but loneliness.

So it was a Monday day I went to practice, three weeks after the school started. I saw Michelle, Laura, Charlotte (while she probably dropped Sport TKD?), Shelly, and a lot of people. It is hard to describe how I felt after the first practice. I was happy, as I usually was after working out (especially TKD and dancing), and, on the other hand, sad about my bad skills.


So, I really don’t like sparring. I really don’t. I like kicking paddles and doing forms; I just don’t like sparring. Reason? Because I cannot make instant reaction at all, and my muscle endurance is really bad.

I was basically avoiding facing my weakness.

“It should not be like that, Angela.”
“It is always possible that you just simply don’t join any tournament or be a bystander for the rest of your life. You know you can simply do that.”

“Face the challenge.”

Finally with multiple factors I signed up for both cornell and princeton tournament.(part of which were from Sophia) (oh yeah, also MIT tournament) Different from an “alternate” in MIT tournament, I was in A4 , WHICH MEANS I PROBABLY HAD TO SPAR. I told myself it was just an A4, the easiest beginning, not even fancy. I tried to be (and indeed I was) busy videoing all the poomses at the beginning of the tournament and forget about the truth that I had to spar.

And there the announcement came, “Women A team sparring in 15 minutes.”

(And I almost believed when Master Chaung told me that “Bye” is a competitive school…….)

I was then totally wanting to go home …… “crab, I am going to spar. THIS IS TRUTH.” I kept thinking about all the unpleasant sparring experience and how inexperienced I was AS A BLACK BELT, and nothing stopped me from being more and more nervous. I’ve already feel bad about myself all the time when watching people in sport Tae Kwon Do being way too awesome with color belts (C team really kick ass); watching people with great confidence (and black mouth guards, they always frighten me.) and ambition, I felt terrible.

It was time: MIT A4 v.s. Columbia A1.

(As I just said, frightened by the black mouth guard first 😦 )
I actually felt really excited (neutral, neither exhilarated nor scared) when I stepped on the ring, but that feeling quickly disappeared after the game started. SHE WAS POWERFUL. I quickly got a head kick and the game stopped. Precisely speaking, I felt like DAMNIT. First, I got shot. Second, I was crying because she kicked my left eye. Even worse, I couldn’t stop crying. “I don’t mean it! I’m not defeated!” but the tears didn’t stop. I cannot quite remember the rest of the first round, all I can recall was that every time I was attacked (being attacked here means being pushed back or being blocked) every time I wanted to go forward. During the short break, Alicia told me that she was tired and I should avoid the head shots. “True, ” I thought, “she is tired.” But (I know it was a little funny) I actually didn’t feel like she was even less aggressive in the second round. I still got head shots and a punch (crab, that really hurt), and most of my “strategies” failed when she pushed me away. (sad face) I could hear people cheering behind me, either shouting my name or cheering for MIT, and every thing I should do was to go forward. Finally the game ended. I lost, not surprised but still sad (Um ……  I blanked my mind for about several minutes and then I started to feel something.). Sad about losing, sad about people telling me that “it was tough”, “great job Angela.”

All I received were positive responses, but I know there were definitely reasons for my failure (or losing the game, if it sounds better). There were moments that I retreated (either physically or mentally); there were moments that I did not make a full kick because I was tired. There were moments I could actually do better.

I think MIT Sport Tae Kwon Do, or most of the sport teams, adopts positive attitude more. I understand that it is always better to encourage than to criticize in order to keep the excitement, but somehow we should remember to learn the lessons after rest. In high school I seemed to face more criticism (more from myself) than encouragement. Encouragement in the meantime served as (more like) a social skill and an alleviator, while criticism or wrap-up were the main parts of “learning.” Hummm …… probably because Sport Tae Kwon Do people are more self-disciplined? (Anyway, after I sort out the videos …… we can then do some wrap-up lol)

BTW, Shelly was awesome in A4 mid.

After my nagging, the tournament kept on. I was still busy dealing with my semi virus-attacked dear mac and dead batteries. My perfect structure of videoing finally corrupted lol. Thanks for everyone who helped me videoing all the sparrings (and tolerating my franticness)!!! Since I had to focus on the camera screen every time when filmed the sparring, I generally had no idea of  winning/losing (awkward!).

It’s really different to watch sparring after you sparred.
You have a better idea of how tired they are, why they don’t react instantly, and how badly a hard punch may hurt (Men’s hvy, for example). You also then realize that how influential the cheering is, so you screamed like crazy or spontaneously shouted “MIT” and “huh.” (More often it would come up with a nice kick.) You want to make people on the ring know that there are a group of people who “understand” them (or what they are doing) ,support them, and ask for better without demanding. You want to leave the big game to the competitors, but give the most you can give.

MIT finally got overall second place in the Tournament (not surprised). We really kicked ass in all the poomses and Women’s B & C. (Just to point out, Laura you were awesome.) I’m a little lazy now in terms of detailing and wrapping up but I believe in every tournament people make progress and move on.

Again thanks for every one. The coordinators, the captains, corner judges, coaches, and last but not least, all the competitors. I will see you in Princeton tournament!!!!



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