Not normally the time for a 12 year old girl to get up on a Saturday morning but it was only for that specific morning. It was cold and I was tired. After checking I had my gear (mouth guard, wrist guards, groin guard, shin guards and a drink bottle), my dad and I left to go to the Hutt City open for Tae Kwon Do.
As I hopped out of the car, the cold air slapped me in the face. The air was freezing and gave me the chills. It was really annoying because we waited about half an hour in the cold wind before we could go into the hall. Other members from my club slowly turned up and then finally, we went inside for the tournament. It was still freezing inside the hall and I was shaking from the cold air and my nerves.
Poomsae was first. I was put into the green belt, 11 and over division and I waited on the side, eager to go up and perform my patterns (Patterns are also called Taeguk's which are a group of blocks, punches and kicks). Finally, I was up. My nerves and cold air shook me and made me feel like I wasn't going to win this. I bowed after performing my patterns and sat back down. My division was made up of me and five other people so I thought 'I have no chance at winning this'. The judge asked us to stand in a line, facing the audience. The judge called out third and second. At that stage, I realised 'I am definitely not going to win this'. Then the judge said:
"In first place, Ryley Bridges."
I stepped forward, grinning like an idiot as my club cheered really loud for me. I was completely shocked.
Erren, one of the black belts for my club, called me down for warm up. My fight was one of the first for the day and I was getting extremely nervous. I kept getting told at trainings that I need to be angry so I can win a fight but I'm just so relaxed, it's hard to. The gear was put on me and I practiced my many kicks. After quite a few fights, I was up to fight. Nerves shock over me as I saw my competitor: the same girl I fought last year at the Hutt City open. She's at least a head taller than me.
My dad told me, "Imagine that's Teagan (my sister) because she always makes you angry." I went onto the mat, bowed to my opponent and got ready to fight. After quite a few kicks, she started getting tired and said that I kicked her in the head (which I didn't because I'm not allowed to and because I can't even reach her head). The referee believed her accusation as she cried and I was pulled for head shots. Round one finished a little bit after that and the fight was at a draw.
Round two started and she was still tired. She kept crying and I was pulled for stuff I didn't do. After she cried for a bit longer, she got angry. It was 12-8 and I was winning. She threw a very hard kick at me and I fell to the ground, spraining my ankle. I was crying in pain. As I stood up, my ankle was in so much pain that it was so hard to walk. The referee start counting down and Erren (my coach for the fight) asked me if I could fight anymore. I said no and the fight was cut short with my opponent winning by default.
I was is so much tears as I limped over to a seat. A medic arrived and asked if I could hear a snapping noise which I didn't. He put some ice on my ankle. I sat there for at least half an hour. Finally, the medic returned and strapped my ankle up. I hobbled up the stairs and sat down to rest my ankle. My friend, Jasmine, who just had her first fight, sprained her wrist so we called ourselves the cripple club due to our injuries.
More and more fights passed with me sitting on the seats in boredom. Sometimes I would grab the ipad my dad brought with him and play some games like a golfing game (it was actually quite fun) or Grand Theft Auto. A couple of hours passed and the announcer said that there was a WTF (World Tae Kwon Do Federation) vs. ITF (International Tae Kwon Do Federation) fight going to be taking place followed by the medal ceremony. The difference between WTF and ITF is that in ITF they use boxing gloves and use a lot of punching. It was a pretty violent battle cause one guy got punched in the nose which started to bleed. It was pretty gross.
The medal ceremony started and I recieved a gold for poomsae and a bronze for fighting. The girl I fought got smashed in her next fight so she only got silver. So in the end I went home with two medals and a sprained ankle.