Back around new years, the Little Ninja and I decided we were going to go to the ATA Nationals Taekwondo tournament in Vegas. This would be her first “real tournament” (not counting local intra-school), and her first trip to Vegas. It promised to be fun and it was! There was too much that happened this past weekend to cover it in one blog post. I probably need three, so here is the first installment.
We skipped work/school and Friday and headed to Vegas on Southwest first thing. We checked into our hotel and headed direct to the Convention Center. Her first events were the XMA Weapons and Creative Weapons categories. These are both non-traditional forms categories that focus on intensity and showmanship. She loves this stuff — and she gets to wear a cool black uniform for the events. Here’s a picture of the Little Ninja (far left) looking sassy (with her deadly looking Kamas) while lining up with the rest of her ring (all 7-8 year old girls).
The competition in the ring was fierce. Some of these girls clearly practice night and day. However, she wasn’t intimidated (even though several of the girls were sporting State Champ or even World Champ patches on the back of their uniforms. She went out and did here thing. Here are a few snapshots (click to enlarge).
She didn’t place top 3 in this event, but all the girls got “awesome competitor” awards that were well deserved. She was happy to wear her medal. She watched one of my events after hers (another post on that later). We then declared victory and headed out on the town! Of course, out on the town with a 7 year old doesn’t mean the casinos, it means ice cream!
The next day, it was time for the traditional competition. She has never like to do traditional forms. It’s her lead favorite part of Taekwondo. However, she set a goal to completely learn her black belt form. The ATA 1st degree black belt form is called Shim Jun and contains 81 precisely proscribed moves. She worked hard on it for weeks and just recently has reached the point where she can do the entire form herself without help. Of course she’d only done it at the school and in our living room before the tournament. It was still to be seen if she could do it under pressure. While there were a couple of shaky parts, especially towards the end, she did the whole thing! She didn’t place Top 3 here either, but I couldn’t have been prouder. Here’s her form.
Here are the competitors from her ring. Have you ever seen a scarier looking bunch?
After my events (more on that later) it was time to party like rock stars. We tooking in a the Cirque Beatles show and then headed home on Sunday. It was a super weekend with my Little Ninja!