Special Report to TFW by JP Scarano 02-24-14
This past weekend was a very busy one in the Martial Arts world. In Martial Arts translation that means a great weekend for us Fight Guys (and Girls)! Not only did we have UFC 170 on Saturday night, February 22nd, 2014 we also had the Compete Nationals 27th annual world class martial arts competition in Ontario, CA at the Ontario Convention Center. It was held on Friday February 21st, Saturday, February 22nd and Sunday, February 23rd.
It was an amazing for me to see all the kids, teenagers, and adults who came out to be a part of the Martial Arts world at its very best. This was the first major tournament I participated in when I was a competing martial artist. When I walked into the Ontario Convention Center on Saturday, February 22, the memories of the excitement and anticipation from my past experiences there came flooding back to me. If you are a Martial Artist, Fighter, Teacher, Coach, et cetera, you know the feeling that I am talking about. For those who do not let me try to describe it.
The butterflies in your stomach come out as soon as you step into the building. The enormity of the event is overwhelming at first and then transitions to exhilaration. As you watch countless other students from Martial Arts schools across the region practicing you realize just how tough it’s going to be to earn honor for your respective school and for yourself. Fear and doubt try to creep into your psyche as your prepare to express yourself as an artist representing his school and its style. Every now and then you have to remind yourself that you’re supposed have to fun here, too.
Friday night featured the black belts, teachers, and instructors. They were the first up to display their traditional, musical, and weapons forms. Then you had an opportunity to observe them as they readied themselves for the point combat competition. Now I know a lot of you say, “That’s not real fighting. It’s tip-tap fighting” Yes, that is true but in this type of competition it’s about control and much more. With that said the masters, teachers and instructors were amazing. It was an honor for many of us to be able to watch this group of highly proficient martial artists perform.
Saturday was all about black belts and the younger belts. Many of the participants from this group came to show off their newly acquired skills from the past year. Also on this day I got to meet a few legends of the sport like Ernest “The Cat” Miller whom you might remember from World Championship Wrestling and World Wrestling Entertainment, “The Cat” has been part of this sport for over 27 years and he is one great guy. He was at the event to help out a few of his students and friends for the day.
Also present on Saturday was Chris Casamassa who you might remember from the World Martial Arts Committee Masters as Red Dragon and as Scorpion from the Mortal Kombat movie. He was there to help promote the Compete Nationals but, he too, was there supporting his students and friends.
Sunday was all about giving the kids and under-belts an opportunity to show their stuff. For most of them this was their first tournament and you could see that they were just a bit nervous about performing in front of a large group of people. However, once they got started they forgot about their nerves and were really able to show us what they had.
When you come to one of these events and you see all of the kids who are just starting out in martial arts having fun you can’t help but smile at seeing how happy they are. We like to call them pee-wees because they are so young and small.
I got to be part of the event judging staff on Sunday. It was a real honor and a privilege to be asked to officiate at the Compete National tournament this year. I am already looking forward to next year’s event.