In this year tournament, Houston A team won 3rd place. Houston B team couldn't get thru the first round.
Our first opponent is team New York currently holding the championship from last year. My first opponent is Umemura sensei, 5th dan. Hard to believe but I was pushed around by this little 5'3 woman. She scored one point by splitting my head in half and the other one by letting me went out of bounds twice. My second opponent was a guy from UT team B. I won the match by cutting two kote (wrist cut). I lost the last match to Laredo team and had a mild shoulder dislocation after the match.
Comparing to last year, every team has improved a lot, specially southern California team with all of team members are from Japan. The reason why Japanese's opponents are fearful is because, in my opinion, they've already been practicing Kendo when they were in diapers!
I believe in kendo winning is not important. My sensei always says if you always win, you can't learn. You learn and gain experience when you loose. I emailed Keiko Umemura thanking her for the match and she also advises the same thing:
"I am always thinking that the greatest part of kendo is not winning but meeting people. At this tournament, I met many nice people..."