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Event report: Shinergy[battle] Winter 2012, 2012-12-15

The event
Last saturday (2012-12-15), the Shinergy[battle] winter 2012 was held in Amstetten, Lower Austria. The event was also something of an opening ceremony for [Dietmar's] [new dojo]. First, the children (-10 years) competed in contests that relied on agility, speed and technical skill. Then, the youngsters (+10 years) had some semi-contact sparring.

From my school, there was only one competitor, David. This was David's fighting debut and he dealt with the situation just fine. You see, the fight was scheduled as a "best-of-5" match, meaning that it takes three won rounds for victory. In a best case scenario, the fight is over after three rounds, worst case is five. The latter was the case with David's match. Each of the boys took two rounds, so the fight was decided in the fifth - by just a couple of points. Seems like the match-up was nearly perfect in this case. Now the thing with David is that he always shows up for training, always pays full attention to what is taught and always displays a certain seriousity during class. Nothing wrong with a little fun, but in the end, hard work and discipline just pay off. I'm really looking forward to seeing David compete at the next Shinergy[battle], which is due in the middle of january. Given some time, the boy's probably going to be a force to be reckoned with.

As for the adults division, there were competitors from four Shinergy schools: [Shinergy[zone vienna]], [Shinergy[amstetten]], [Shinergy[schoenbrunn]] and of course [Shinergy[stadlau]]. I'm both proud and sad to say that with three fighters, my school was represented by the biggest team. Obviously, I'm proud because I see Shinergy as a martial art first and foremost, with any philosophical attachments coming second. Implementing the principles of a warrior philosophy just makes less sense for someone who's not, well, a warrior. Now don't get me wrong - I'm not implying that non-fighters can't benefit from martial arts practice. The benefits that can be reaped from practicing a martial art are many and quite diversified. Not going to cover that ground here, though - after all, if you're reading this you're probably involved in the martial arts anyhow and therefore well aware of what they can do for you. All I'm saying is that certain aspects - especially everything linked to Zen, i.e. the idea of Mushin, the empty mind - are easier to comprehend in the right context. Preaching an inner calm in times of highest stress is one thing, actually entering a fight and staying focussed right on the task despite being anxious and nervous is a whole 'nother animal. I digress, though...

Back to the topic at hand, I mentioned the fact that my school had the biggest team makes me sad. The reason herefore should be pretty obvious, I guess. Three fighters ain't enough, even for a Dojo as small as mine. Two certainly too little for the bigger schools. We absolutely need to grease the groove on the Shinergy[battle] and get a lot more athletes to compete. Already worked out some changes in the rules to make the event more attractive. I'll really put my heart into this matter in 2013.

So my team this time consisted of Alex in the Gray/Blue-belt division (i.e. semi-contact sparring) and Andreas and Michael in the Red/Black-belt division (i.e. full-contactn sparring). The guys did a great job, especially considering the strong competition.

The fighters

Alex was by far the lightest guy in his division, being about 20kg lighter the the other two guys. Also, with just three months of training under his belt, he was the one with the least experience. For a good finish, he was also the youngest. Still, despite all those odds, he did a great job and lost against [Thomas], the founder of [Shinergy[schoenbrunn]], by golden point decision. The "golden point" rule is another term for "sudden death". It's applied when two fighters score a draw in a semi-contact match and basically indicates that the first point scored after the regular time decides the match. Naturally, a "golden point" is an indication of a nearly perfect match-up, as the fight is won by but a single point. For a novice (guess three months of experience justify that term), forcing an instructor to such a sudden death decision ain't bad in my book.

Andreas definitely set the standards when it came to toughness. His fight with Dietmar's man, Paul, was a battle of wills. Both fighters slugged at each other and put everything they had in every single shot. Not too much tactics here, just a good, honest, old-fashioned brawl. The fight had "survival of the toughest" written all over it in bold, blood-red letters. Andy did a great job getting into the clinch and hammering Paul with savage knee strikes. Lacked the power to knock the man out, though. Unfortunately, most of those knee strikes weren't scored, despite clearly connecting to Paul's torso. Again, this is where knockout power come in handy. Regardless of that judging error (a clear one, from my point of view), Andy still won the first round on points, albeit close. Somewhere along that round, though, he got hammered with a backkick to the groin. Now Andy is definitely not made of glass, the boy can take quite a beating. Still, this (illegal) shot put him in obvious agony. If you've ever been hit in the crotch you probably know the feeling. Most fighters would have stopped the bout at this point. Not so Andy. He insisted on at least finishing the round. As you might remember, Andy is the guy who [finished his fight with a broken rib last year] and won. That's what I call a strong will to win. Over the first half of the second round, Andy went on to dominate the fight. Still, at some point it became apparent that the pain was taking overhand, and when he wasn't able to defend himself anymore, the fight was stopped. Paul was declared the winner by means of technical knockout, which is a decision I'm not entirely happy with. Obviously, the kick to the groin wasn't purposeful, but still, it was an illegal technique and should be punished rather than awarded. We need some clear rules on that issue.

Michael, being the most experienced fighter on the team, faced Tino, who is a part of the Shinergy[supreme team] in his first fight. Now those guys know each other pretty well - it was their fourth fight and they match up pretty well. On that day, before the fights, Michael told me he was pretty sick and really had a hard time warming up properly. This became apparent during the fight, too. Tino just scored better points and won. Since we did a [double elimination tournament], things weren't over for Michael, though. Since Andreas couldn't go on and fight another match, we put Frank, who's also a member of the Shinergy[supreme team], into the loser bracket to fight Michael. Now this bout was an organisatorical desaster, as the judges just scored plain wrong - they awarded Frank a point whenever Michael scored and vice versa. So although Frank clearly took the first round, it was given to Michael. This triggered some serious discussion amongst the officials (and coaches), so the fighters had a longer break. After that break, Michael clearly dominated the second round and won by points. To make good on the judge's mistakes, Frank was offered another round, one that would ultimately decide the bout. However, since he was hit in the groin somewhere along the second round, he refused and chose to accept defeat. This took Michael to the finals where he was to face... Tino. At that point, both fighters were pretty beat up and neither was really ready to fight another match. Hence, they decided to decide the finals in a semi-contact bout: the fighter who first scores five points would be declared the winner. Since the whole event had already taken quite a lot of time, everyone decided on that mode and the boys went to work. After a while, Michael led three to one, but in the end, Tino won five to three. Quite frankly, I'm not entirely ok with that result, but I'll post a more detailled comment on the fight as soon as I get some video footage.

In any case, Shinergy[stadlau] was represented by four fighters on that day (1 youngster, 3 adults) and won three medals (Gold, Silver and Bronze). Not too shabby in my book, what do you think? Of course, I'll upload any video I can get ASAP, so stay tuned.

So long,

take care


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