(I’ve gotten away from Legal Disclaimers — see about author if you are insulted by anything I’ve written.)
Nothing shows the inherent differences between boys and girls, and men and women than Karate. They are all learning the exact same skills, but what they do with those skills is vastly different. Oddly, the difference between girl and woman, and boy and man seem nearly the same in execution, but differ in intent by their maturity.
I was scorekeeper in the Ozawa Cup for five events total; the special needs ring, then I was transferred to intermediate boys ages 8-10, then moved to beginner girls ages 12-14, followed by black-belt women over age 46, and lastly, men intermediate belts, ages 35 to 45.
I did not get to watch much of what was going on beyond my ring, but I had been told that more injuries come from beginner belts and brown-belts. Beginners injure each other because they don’t know how to place their kicks and punches, brown-belts because they haven’t mastered the art of pulling their punches. With that said, it was a black-belt man who broke the jaw of another black-belt man with a not-so-nice kick to the face at the Ozawa Cup 2012.
Accidents happen, but the boys division was down-right vicious. When I’d transferred to help that ring, there was one little boy from Mexico beating some ass and taking names. I’d come to help in the middle of kumite (sparring), and along the side-lines, rolling and crying were several young boys who’d had the wind beat out of them.
It was relentless. I’d felt compelled to go to the crying boys, writhing on the floor, and ask them if they wanted to see the medic. Gasping between tears, I heard a couple, “I got punched (or kicked) in the stomach!” Most boys are far too proud to ask for help. Boys this young wouldn’t know a thing about internal hemorrhaging, and of course, most boys would rather suffer than be perceived as a weakling.
So I let them all suffer. I am a boy after all. I’d have expected them to do the same for me.
After watching, painfully watching these boys pound on each other, I was transferred to help with beginner girls division. Here was the polar opposite. The katas were their true performance. The beginner girls we so exact in their moves, I wondered if they were intentionally being held back from ranking to higher belts by their teachers. I’ve seen C-Jane’s katas and she isn’t bad, but these young girls were almost as good as masters themselves.
Kumite was next. Opposite to the boys, the girls made weak and easy-to-block attacks. One girl didn’t, she wore a helmet and mouth-guard even though at her rank there is no contact to be made to the head. Better safe than sorry – not a trait of the boys. But back to that girl, she pulled her long black hair out through the top of her headgear like a Spartan’s helmet plume, and then she stepped into the ring to beat some girly ass! And she did – she took home the gold for her division.
The black-belt women were fun to watch too. Again, their katas were phenomenal – of course they were, these were black-belts. Kumite was not about beating ass, but about points. Most of the black-belt women threw few punches unless they thought they were going to score. I had to call time on several rounds because they wouldn’t attack. Each round should take 2 minutes, and after time is called, they get one-minute of sudden death. One point, one win. Sometimes, the judges had to call the winner after all the time was used up.
The men on the other hand –– out of a division of only four men, two men were disqualified for being overly aggressive. Hitting three times in the face was worth disqualification. Boys will be boys.
Speaking of overly aggressive, C-Jane took the bronze-medal in her division. She took it from last year’s bronze-medal recipient. One thing is for certain, I’ve become a lot nicer to her over the last week. If you see me doubled over on the side of the road, please call a medic for me, C-Jane does not hit like a girl.