Picture by Eldest

Picture by Eldest

Yesterday was the first ever MARA Cup Championships - a special tournament to cap off our year of competition. (It's also a fundraiser for this wonderful charity, Kids Kicking Cancer.) We accumulated points at regular tournaments all year, and the top eight competitors in each division were invited to take part.

Catherine and I both made the cut, in kata and sparring. She placed third in kata yesterday, and fourth in sparring. I got first place in kata and first place in sparring in my regular divisions (black belt women, 35 and over). This gave me the opportunity to compete for grand champion in both disciplines. I did what I could in kata grands, and finished near the bottom. Still a lot of work to do there. In sparring, I was up against a 20-year-old who's much taller and much heavier than I am (also, erm, 27 years younger), with roughly nine feet of hard leg on her. The winner of that fight would win the title of grand champion and a special MARA Champion jacket.

We both wanted it. It was a very tough fight, and a very tight one, too. We went into overtime (in black belt divisions, fights have to be won by two points) and lo, I won. It was my first time winning the grand championship fight, and you bet that felt awesome. Couldn't ask for a better way to end the tournament season.

We're done with competition until the end of January. Back to training we go, to get ready for next season. Special thanks to Master John Douvris for his unparalleled training and coaching, and to Martina Couture and Becky Jackson Foote for yelling at me in all the right ways.