Sunday, February 17, 2008

LA Tournaments

In 1996, Konigun Ninjutsu participated in the Hollywood Classic. A group of 13 students drove out to LA, so that they could compete in this international tournament. As some of the students had never left their home state before, Shidoshi Dallas wanted the trip to be a learning experience. The Konigun members got to see the Grand Canyon on the way out to California and for some crossing Arizona and Texas was the first time to see the desert. There were competitors from around the world that came to compete and have a chance at meeting the many movie stars brought in to present the awards. The different categories covered sparring, kata, and weapons. Out of the 34 events entered, Konigun students won 30. See the picture of some of the students posing with their trophies after they returned to Mississippi.

In 1997 Konigun members again participated in The Hollywood Classic. In preparation for the event they held fundraisers and carwashes to raise money and thus were able to send more of the members to this year's competition. Russ Folks and Tim Baker, the producers of the Hollywood Classic had invited Shidoshi Dallas and his students to return and compete, because they had enjoyed meeting them the previous year. In order to make the tournament, the Gathering was scheduled so that all the students who could make the camp would then leave to compete in the tournament. The Gathering brought students from Mississippi and South Carolina to the Tennessee dojo. They trained and prepped for the tournament as planned, but as a surprise from Shidoshi Dallas they got to participate in a local movie production. The students were asked to play the "bad ninjas" in a made for blockbuster movie called "Fighting Chance". These pictures depict the shooting that took place at a local waterfall called Cumming's Falls. You can see the many scenes setting up the escape by the good guys from the "evil" ninjas. One of the other pictures is of the cast in the lower room of the Cookeville dojo, where they staged a group fight scene.

After the Gathering and the movie shoot, everyone piled into the cars and convoyed out to LA. Once again Shidoshi Dallas used the trip as a training tool for those that had never left their state. There were many stops, so that the students could see landmarks along the way. A popular favorite were the Indian shops that dot the highway. Even though we were enjoying the ride, everyone focused on the techniques they would need during the upcoming competition and practiced every time they stopped and got the chance. All of this practice did pay off though, because of the 53 events entered, Konigun students were awarded 50 trophies. Most notable during the event was that the winning students gave up their trophies, when Shidoshi Dallas told them that all the children's trophies (the last to compete) got destroyed while being delivered. The Konigun students volunteered their trophies in replacement of the ones that were destroyed, so the kids would not go home empty handed. Our members then drove home without their trophies. Tim baker and Russ Folks did ship replacement trophies later.

The trip home was exciting because the students got to see a western Ghost town and Calico mines, the Hoover Dam, and the Amusement Park of Vegas, as well as the lights of Las Vegas.