Bohemia Manor High School, Chesapeake City, MD: Mr. Foard wrote the following…
A Shiai is a time when Karate-ka of the O.I. come together and have a chance to show the results of the hard work we do week after week in our dojos. It is a time when we meet new members as well as revisit with those we have known for quite some time.
As we compete, it is not all about winning or losing; it is more about participation. However, we all have the drive to win since we possess that competitive nature we have within.
By participating, we gain confidence in performing our Kata and when we spar with other Karate-ka. There is something that happens to us (at least it happens to me) when we perform in front of spectators and we sense all eyes are on us. We can lose focus (kime) on the task ahead. We either perform our kata poorly or fall back into bad habits we strive to correct when we spar during Kumite. The more we participate, the more we gain confidence and are able to focus on performing without flaws.
What inspired me the most during our last Shiai this past Sunday Oct. 9th 2012, was when Master Cooling spontaneously asked Master Ewing if he could perform a Kata before the next scheduled demonstration. Of course, Master Ewing obliged and Master Cooling stepped out onto the empty gym floor, with all eyes of Karate-ka and spectators on him and not a sound could be heard. Master Cooling performed Chinto Kata (as stated in the O.I. manual: “One of the most difficult to perform while maintaining good balance”) with grace as he flowed smoothly through the kata completing all the techniques as if he were in a closed private room with no one watching.
We all know Master Cooling is not in the best of health and if we had to deal with the physical and emotional stress he has been under lately, most of us would not have shown up at the Shiai, let alone perform a Kata. If you ask Master Cooling how old he is, he will tell you three years shy of 70. What an inspiration! At my young age of 57, I know I have at least 20 to 30 years of karate ahead of me to look forward to.