As I grew in height and skill my black belt instructors taught me free sparring. In one class they drilled me on front leg sidekick techniques and how to use them in a sparring situation to keep people away from me. Essentially I was using my height and long legs to my advantage. After a while no one could get near me any more and not long after that I entered my first tournament. What an experience that was!
We travelled down to Churchill in the Latrobe Valley. I had entered into under 16 sparring and I was a blue belt at the time. We got to the stadium and there was a black belt walking around like he owned the place. I watched him and convinced myself that he was over 16 and therefore lucky that I wouldn't have to meet him in the ring. We were called to line up and guess who my first opponent was! Oh well, baptism of fire! We began the match and not having much experience using my hands I started throwing big haymakers! The referee, who was one of my opponent’s instructors, told me off for throwing them but I was so worked up on adrenaline that I didn't listen. At one point he told me that if I threw another haymaker that he would put it where the sun doesn’t shine. That message got through as I didn't throw another all day. The drills using my front leg side kick worked very effectively though. The black belt couldn't get near me! I had won my first bout and proceeded through to the next round. I ended up third in my first tournament which I was very happy with. It proved to me that what I had been learning was effective against other styles of martial arts and that I actually enjoyed sparring.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!