Friday, May 29, 2009

opening ceremonies and the team

this morning we got our breakfast at the dining hall at 8 and proceeded to begin the most uninteresting tournament day ever. while coming back to the dorms, we were told to go attend a seminar, where some taekwondo professors and ph.Ds gave presentations on such things as the psychological effects of taekwondo. that's the only one we sat through, and it was basically a combination of bad powerpoint skills (writing all the text on each slide and reading it word for word) and stating the obvious (taekwondo was found to increase self confidence and motivation.) our coach gave us the signal for a rapid exit, but only after about 45 minutes of the talk.

for the rest of the morning, we had a brief team workout, with just a warmup session lead by sparky (coach park) and then kicking and open workout. the forms team did about a 4 hour session again. alicia and her team, having only worked for two days so far, made a ton of progress already and are looking really sharp. then we worked on the pairs forms through lunch, grabbing some boxes of the best food yet at uc berkley and eating bites between sets until 2 pm.

after the practice, we walked around berkeley for a while. i remembered being here years ago for a collegiate nationals competition. then it was warm - now it is cloudy and chilly and i did not feel like buying another souvenir puka shell necklace because it just didn't feel like west coast. except for the fact that all the stores were full of hippies. there were lots of graphic tshirt stores, smoke shops, antique clothing stores, incense shops, record shops.

at 4 pm, we took team pictures in our USA uniforms. i am quite happy to own a USA uniform, even though it is the "sparring" one and isn't great for our forms competitions, but i like sparring uniforms. they're long and loose and comfy.

but here begins the three hour long opening ceremonies that was a huge embarrassment. first, i don't know who organized it but it was probably no one because it took forever to get the teams lined up, then we waited for who knows what in the hallways. when we finally marched in for the procession of nations, it was basically the 7 member canadian team, the 22 member US team, and the refs. and we didn't know where to stand or whether to bow at the 40 spectators that were in the stands while strange dance rave music played over the speakers.

after the whole ceremony finally ended, we did get to watch a big extensive demo - korean dance, korean drums, kendo (with real swords cutting batches of straw) and then the UCMAP demo which included taekwondo, wushu, and judo. they were all actually really good despite being colorbelts, students, and judoists, who you don't think would have a very showy demo team. but again, we had to catch dinner before it closed at 8, so once again the huge US team got up and left in the middle of something. i hope we don't start getting a bad reputation.

it's only 11:30 and i've been tired for the last 3 hours. i will be going to bed, but i've learned that being on your feet all day, and away from the computer, makes each hour in the day more worthwhile and pass slower. as soon as i got back to my room and turned on my computer, three hours disappeared, and i am still tired but unrested. maybe it'll be good to go to taekwondo training camp sometime. it definitely changes your mental and physical shape. i just hope there's no more pitifully run ceremonies anymore.

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