Archive | March, 2013

Elkai National Championships Report

31 Mar

On Saturday 23rd March we took 26 of our students to the Elkai National Championships in Greenford. This is the first time we have taken a significant group of students to a tournament outside of our own club which is a great step forwards for us to take in building a reputation for ourselves within the karate community.

We would like to thank the following students for participating in this event: Thomas Leask, Harry O’Brien, Ruben Ward, Robert Bright, Seb Lear, Nyah Lear, Shaurya Hemrajani, Jacob Kessler, Raphael Beaulieu, Nicolas Castedo, Sebastian Castedo, Oscar Barrell, Hector Barrell, Anna De Rosa, Francesca Wigington, Alexis Girves-Aber, Thomas Norman, Harry Law, Matteo Howell, Sonny D’Souza, Ian Lucy, Ryan Linn, George Holmes, Sam Mercer and Joe Larvin.

From before the events began we could tell we would be against some very strong competition, from clubs that were well seasoned in tournament events. However, it was great to see that this did not intimidate our students as they could be seen making new friends and comparing styles in the warm up room within minutes of arrival.

First up was the kata competition. With different karate styles on show and our club being the only one representing Shotokan Karate, this made for a very interesting event. The majority of our students made it through the 1st round but were halted there by some very well drilled kata’s from EKK and Elkai, the club behind the tournament. The children put in a lot of hard work and this is the best show of katas I have seen from our students, so congratulations to all of those who worked hard and performed in front of a very large audience.

After the kata came the kumite (sparring). This is where our club started to make a name for ourselves. None more so than in the boys under eight category, especially pool B. With 5 of our boys all making short work of their opponents in the first round, it meant that we had 5 competitors in the last 8. Unfortunately, this meant that we had to knock some of our own teammates out of the competition, but were still left with 3 boys in the semi finals guaranteeing us a spot in the final. Our first finalist of the day Sam Mercer; put up a very impressive fight against a very tough Elkai student to earn himself a silver medal. Bronze medals went to Mateo from Chiswick dojo and Ryan from East Sheen.

The next medal of the day came from Francesca in the girls under eights. Before the final Francesca was slightly nervous, but with good reason. This was because as well as hurting her opponents, Francesca’s opposite had also dispatched everyone who faced her before the time limit was up by racking up 8 point leads. However after the fight, which went the full distance, nobody could say Francesca didn’t deserve to be in the final, as she put on a great display of movement to counteract her opponent’s continuous drives forward and came very close but ended up losing by just two points.

Congratulations to the four mentioned above, a podium finish in your first major championships is quite an achievement. However, all of our students who came along can be extremely proud of their performances. For some it was a first time doing any kind of competitive sparring let alone tournaments. Other students, who have done well at club level before, had their eyes opened to a new level of competition. The main part of a tournament isn’t the medals or the wins, but the learning experience. If you only ever compete against people at your level, it is very difficult to progress. Tournaments are a great opportunity to really challenge our abilities by competing against new people. Even if you turn up and lose in the first round without even scoring a point, you are still learning something which you can practice and put to use the next time. What you can also do, is watch the others competing, in both the kata and kumite, and see how the winners win and see if you can do the same. On this note, I would like to give a special mention to Anna, Francesca, Sam and Robert. All of whom stayed to the end and supported their teammates until the medal presentations finished. They were able to witness some extremely good bouts in the senior kumite and even discussed with other competitors about katas, sparring and why they do things differently, which was great to see.

The same tournament will be running again in September, So don’t be lazy over the summer and keep practicing! We would also like to put forward a kumite team for this tournament. Teams are made up of three students and run on more of a league format, rather than a knockout. This would mean that students would get more ring time and give them the opportunity to compete in more events. We would very much appreciate if everyone could stay to support our competitors throughout the whole tournament next time, as the students work especially hard to prepare for these events and some extra encouragement and team spirit can help to make that hard work pay off. Congratulations to everyone once again, and we hope you all enjoy your Easter break.

 

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Elkai National Championships

25 Mar

Elkai National Championships

Congratulations to all who competed in the Elkai National Championships on 23rd March. We had over 20 competitors at the tournament. The standard was incredibly high and everyone did fantastically well. We had two silver and two bronze medal winners in sparring and one bronze in kata. This picture is of Francesca on the podium claiming her silver medal in sparring.