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Combat 4

Combat 4

This weekend has been pretty emotional.

Friday afternoon, Iona attended a regional cross country running competition with the school. This event was an hour’s coach ride away and was attended by 20 schools. She ran well and finished about in the middle.

Yesterday, she attended her first Judo competition.
We arrived at the Martial Arts Centre at Ploermel at 12.45.
We entered the long building: mats covered two thirds of the floor area. Tiered seating covered the other third.
There were five ‘competition’ mats, with a table at the top of each mat with four suited officials / judges with yellow ties sitting behind the table and three referees all dressed in black on each mat. Very serious.

Soon Iona and her friend, Louisa, were called to get ‘weighed in’. Was this boxing or Judo?
They were then called to the ‘warm up’ hall.

Yesterday, the competition was only for children born in 2000 and 2001, and the building was absolutely packed.
Iona’s slot was for girls between 38 – 40kg.
At 2.15pm, she appeared with five other girls and they were led out to competition mat 1.
Microphones announced each combat. Stop watches, flags, computerised scoring systems and seven referees scrutinised every move.

She lost the first three combats.
Her fourth and final combat was a draw. In this scenario, the three referees on the ‘mat’ have to decide who fought the best, technique, etc…

Two of the three referees voted for Iona. She had won. However, this decision was then overruled by the judges at the table.
What a disappointment.

All the girls were presented with a certificate for taking part, and medals were given to those girls who won a combat.

As she left the ‘mat’, the waiting, the anticipation, the stress and the seriousness of it all took over and she burst into tears.
Just as she reached me, Louisa joined us with her mother, Lisette. Louisa was also in tears. She hadn’t won a combat either.
I looked at Lisette, we also were both close to tears.

I once had a boss who said to me: “I can’t tolerate emotional women, I hope you don’t fall into that category?”
Good job that was a long time ago and he couldn’t see me yesterday!!

Before we could say anything, their judo instructor arrived. He was incredibly kind and supportive, saying the first competition is always the hardest.

I guess Iona and Louisa have just experienced one of those very hard lessons in life: that it is important to fail to advance in life.

A very hard lesson, but they will be stronger for it.

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