Twelve students and Sensei Kieron took part in 2018 Wado UK East Yorkshire Open, held in West Yorkshire on 16 September. This was just the 3rd external competition that our young squad has taken part in, and the first competition 3 competitors (well done Salma, Ahmed and Alex).
Over the last 6 months we’ve started introducing students, who have for the most part only been training a year or less to competition. Many instructors may think this is too early to be sending young, inexperienced students to big competitions, I happen to disagree. I believe that the earlier students are exposed to a high standard of karate competition the better and quicker their development. I’ve seen this happen with other students, and without a doubt, being exposed to a high standard of karate competition as a child was definitely the single most important factor, in improving my level of training and performance.
The standard of the competition was very high across most categories, however the choice to break-down the age categories by sensible grade levels, meant that even beginners could have a chance at seriously competing, which was great.
This was the first time we’ve entered any teams or pairs categories, but Narjis, Layjah and Czareyna have been practicing hard together to put together a very competent team and pairs (Narjis and Layjah), and brother and sister duo Salma and Ahmed have been working hard on their pairs kata.
On the day the girls team needed to make a decision on whether to enter the 15yrs and Under Brown belt above category, as Narjis is a Brown belt (the others are Orange and green), or forgo the team entry this time round. Bravely, knowing that they would be faced with very experienced and polished competition (incl. I believe the junior national team kata champions), chose to give it a go anyway, just for experience. I’m extremely proud of the way they put themselves forward for the challenge and performed very well. Whilst they didn’t make it through the first round, they showed spirit and talent to definitely make it to the final rounds with a bit more practice and experience!
Well done to Salma and Ahmed, for achieving joint 3rd in their pairs category, at their first competition!
Overall everyone gave what we thought were some of their best kata performances to date against some top-class competition and under quite loud and nerve-wracking conditions!
The standard of the kumite categories was also top quality, with a number of England Junior and Senior Team members in attendance. We were pleased with the progress everyone has made in their kumite. In general the movement and avoidance of attacks has improved tremendously since we first started. Watching each and every competitor helps us prepare for future sessions and we have made plenty of notes on points to work on over the next few months.
Well done to Layjah and Emily on taking a silver and bronze respectively from their kumite divisions!
Sensei Kieron and I had attended this competition in previous years when it was held in Hull, and new it would be a well organised competition. Tony Dent and his team did not disappoint, we left the venue after our last competitor finished their kumite at 14:45, I’ve heard that everything was done before 17:00. This is phenomenal organisation for an event of its quality and size.
We’re very proud of the support and encouragement and general camaraderie within the competition squad. It’s great to see everyone gelling as a team and supporting each other and even offering advice.
All in all, a result of 4 Bronze and a silver from a young squad is a good result from this standard of competition.
We hear that the competition will next year be returning to its roots in East Yorkshire, which is a shame, as it was quite nice to have a competition on our doorstep, but we’ll definitely be attending this exceptionally well organised competition again next year!
Layjah – Girls 10-12 yrs 7th Kyu Below Kumite
Salma & Ahmed – u15yrs Below 3rd kyu pairs
Salma – Mixed 10-11yrs 7th Kyu below Kata
O’Neill – Boys 8-9yrs Kickmaster
Emily – Girls 9-10yrs 7th Kyu Below Kumite