Ever since I joined the adult (women’s) division in 2015, the winners of the CMX (creative, musical, extreme) divisions and the winners of the traditional division have competed head-to-head. To give a little bit of background, all the “CMX” divisions are high intensity, fast paced, and depending on the specific division won, could be done to music as well as incorporating acrobatic type movements. The traditionalist either showcase a wushu, Korean, Japanese, or kenpo styled routine. In the traditional forms the movements are generally performed slower (but with equal power) and have a specific set pace and moments for yells (kias).
It’s safe to say that the two categories are extremely different and deserve their own sperate grand champion division and spotlight. In fact, in the men’s division (for both forms and weapons) the categories are separated. This also gives the male competitors who chose to do both CMX and traditional forms (and weapons) more of an opportunity to earn more prize money. This doesn’t seem too fair to me.
Besides the points mentioned, another reason they should be separated is because they don’t get the respect they individually deserve. From a CMX competitors’ perspective it is very difficult to execute an “extreme” type form- you have to worry about stumbling out of tricks, making sure the cleanliness of your lines are on point, pointing toes on tricks, and keeping the intense pace for over a minute. Not to mention staying on beat with the music if the competitors choose to use music. If you have a weapon in your hand, you must worry about not dropping the weapon during a release, roll, or manipulation or else you will be automatically disqualified. In my younger junior days, I used to compete in traditional forms but not to the level like they are performed now. When executing a traditional form however, the competitor needs to make sure they are following the proper pacing the routine is designed to performed. They also need to make sure that they are sticking their stances for long periods of time (a real leg workout). The traditional forms showcase both grace and intensity.
This leads me to my next point, separating the two negates the thought of “it’s a traditional night versus and extreme night.” What I mean by this is that given the panel of judges for the night time grand champion divisions, sometimes a judge may favor a traditional form over a CMX form and vice versa. If it becomes a trend throughout the course of the night show that the judges are picking a certain type of competitor over the other, then it becomes either a “traditional night” or a “CMX night.” If NASKA separated the categories, it would give the competitors a fair chance and like mentioned earlier be appreciated for the elements each bring. A quick comparison would be judging a hip hop dancer against a ballet dancer. The two are totally different but ironically do a good job of symbolizing what I am trying to convey.
With the help of sharing this article with your friends, family, and fellow competitors, I hope it brings light to the situation. As a competitor myself, this is one of the changes I wish to see. This article in no way states that one is harder than the other, nor should be reflected in that case. This article is simply written from an adult female competitors perspective who is a martial arts competition lover that wants to help make the sport grow.
Karate, Traditional martial arts, Sport karate
Black Belt Magazine
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