By Katie Minden, 1st danTournaments entice almost every person I know that does Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo to do their best and keep going. To be honest, MSK Taekwondo can be very difficult, especially when I’m pushing through a low spot or a really intense time. However, tournaments just bring everything back into perspective. Truthfully, I had forgotten just how much I missed tournaments. The atmosphere, the community, the competition. It all fuels me for upcoming classes, whether it’s the ones I’m teaching or learning in. All of the preparation leading up to the tournament can be quite fun, but sometimes overwhelming. I’ve practiced so hard until the moment when I’m in front of the judges and everything just stops around me. Everything focuses on my poomse, my break, my one-steps.
This taekwondo tournament, of course, was a huge step back to normality. We were able to compete again at Alameda International Junior/Senior High school, with some different safety precautions, but still back to where tournaments were held before Covid. It was such a surreal moment for me to walk back into the place where so many memories had been made; Winning my first trophy and being absolutely amazed at how large it was, sparring some amazing girls, and recalling the last-minute practice in the hallways. Still, the unavoidable nerves were still there. They get better every tournament I compete in, but they always come around. Usually they dissipate after poomse, but it’s always a bit nerve wracking in the first competition. My division for my competitions was also amazing. I was competing against some great opponents and I enjoyed every competitive second. Koryo is a newer poomse for me, and the first time I had competed with it, so that was incredible. One-steps was a different format this tournament than the last because we, as competitors, were able to present our knowledge of the correct distancing needed when defending against an actual attacker. Finally, breaking was amazing for me in this tournament. It wasn’t even because I won, it was all about my breaks. I wanted to try a jump spinning back kick for the first time as a break, and I broke it. It felt shocking and so wonderful all at the same time.
In addition, I was able to help score keep and even judge almost like I would at a tournament before Covid. Because I tested and received my red belt right after we returned from our quarantine, I never experienced scorekeeping in the hustle and bustle of a tournament at Alameda. It was such an amazing and eye-opening experience in this tournament to have more of an upper-belt’s unique experience besides just competing and leaving. I had score kept at every online tournament, but it is a completely different exposure level when comparing the two. I always felt really comfortable scorekeeping, but when getting pushed into judging, it was a lot more pressure that I felt in giving the right score and really imagining myself in the competitors body to judge to the best of my ability. By the end, I was exhausted due to the extra brain power I used to judge, but it was so incredibly fun at the same time.
All things considered, tournaments really are one of my favorite events in Moo Sul Kwan Taekwondo at the Colorado Taekwondo Institute and I feel so lucky every time I am able to participate in one. This tournament was an especially learning one for me and it provided me with great experience and new goals to train for.