The Hardness of The Tatami | Teen Ink

The Hardness of The Tatami

July 24, 2008
By Anonymous

My legs were cramped and I was staring at the sign while we were sitting at the light. "Baltimore: 10 miles" Ten more miles to my first jujitsu tournament. I couldn't believe it. My stomach started churning. The car started moving and before I knew it we were there. My Mom looked back at me and said, "You'll be fine." She's not the one who might have her head pounded into the tatami (a type of japanese matt). And if they're anything like the ones at the dojo, then they're rock hard.

They called my name over the intercom, and I broke out in a cold sweat. My teacher told me reassuingly, "You've been training for four years, this is your chance to shine. Don't worry, if you win you win if you lose you win."
I walked out on the tatami thinking about it, figuring out how I would win if I lose. But, no time for that now, I'll figure it out later. I looked at my opponet. It was a big, muscular, ten year old girl. I was scared. I'm a scrawny, short, six year old girl. But then I thought of one of my friends back home, he was big and muscular and fourteen and I beat him at randori. (a type of sparring) So, the reff yelled, "Hajame!(start)" And then it began. The crowd was chearing, then I remembered my teachers words, "Block everything out except for the sight of the reff and the sight of your opponet." And that's what I did. All of a sudden the crowd was silent, infact there was no crowd at all. No noise. Just the reff and my opponent. I tried doing my best throw, ogoshi, but it didn't work. So I tried Osotogake, it worked! I hurried up and pinned her with kasagatamae and held her there for the full thirty seconds! I got an ipon. I asked how long the match went and my teacher said a good ten minutes. It seemed like one to me. But I can tell you one thing, I wasn't the only one to a throw in. My opponent smacked me down onto the ground with kosotogake. The dreaded two handed shoulder throw. It hurts like you just broke your ribs if you land the wrong way with this throw. And if I wanted to win this match, that's what I had to do, I landed on my side with a solid thud and got up before she could even pin me. She had alot of other throws she did but none of them worked. She started getting tired and that's when I worked mine in. I can't believe it, my first match and I get a gold medal. Unbelievable. I can't wait to do it again. Hey, the tatamis aren't even that hard. Okay, maybe they are.

The author's comments:
I still get the same feeling everytime I go to a tournement. I've been training for seven years now and I'm a brown belt. I'll be a black belt in December and I'll be twelve. I've been to twenty tournaments and gotten gold in five, silver in four, and bronze in one.

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