The JKS Championships were held this year on Sunday 1st November at the Wildcats Arena in Nottingham and a few of us from Ruach karate club took the journey up from Birmingham to take part. I was particularly looking forward to this tournament as it was the first since our Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) days that I had entered using Shobu Ippon rules.
For those that aren’t aware: Shobu Ippon is whereby a competitor must score one full point (ippon) in order to be declared the winner. For less decisive strikes, half a point known as a wazari may be scored and two of these will combine to make ippon.
I don’t know about you, but I love this rule. I personally think it’s much better than the three or four ippons to win that you see predominantly in sport karate. I can’t tell you exactly why this is but I have a few possible ideas.
Maybe because it’s what I was brought up with from the KUGB.
Maybe it’s the extra realism that projects through, the age old vision of one killer blow to finish off your opponent.
Maybe I’m just getting old and going through 3 or 4 ippons for the win will put me in recovery for about 12 months!
The Ruach clan left from Cocksmoor Woods Leisure Centre around 7:15am made up of around 7 of us and headed up to the Wildcats Arena on what turned out to be a very foggy Sunday morning. After arriving at approximately 9am, the juniors got changed and ready to get going whilst took a sneak peak at the venue.
I was pretty impressed with the venue at the Wildcats arena. It boasted a nice modern hall with enough seating on one side to fit all the spectators. The arena consisted of 5 tatamis and boasted electronic scoring systems and time keeping to add an extra quality feel to the event.
What I really enjoyed about this location though was the large room situated adjacent to the competitor area that gave ample space to warm up and prepare. Other events I’ve attended have unfortunately lacked proper warm up space and has put a hindrance on performance. Another added bonus of a segregated training area allows karateka to warm up without impeding the view of spectators watching the event. I remember an event fairly recently and it was a big pity that the facilities made it near impossible to prepare and gave me a sensation of a couped up chicken, definitely not free range!
With a lot of events before taking part myself; I utilised the time taking a look around at some of the kata events and managed to see Lloyd Birt who looked on form with some crisp performances. It was also a time for me to be passing on some advice to the younger participants that had travelled down to make up the Ruach team. It reminded me of times when I was at that age just starting out taking part in KUGB central and National competitions and reminded me of the sense of anticipation before the event. 20 years on and I find myself passing on bits of knowledge that I’ve picked up from my various Sensei and so the teachings are passed down.
Of the Ruach team that participated all did really well with a lot of medals in proportion to the amount of competitors we had. I didn’t manage to catch all the events due to competing myself, but I must give special mention to two of our team that did fantastically well.
Dan Tuohey took gold in his kumite category after a cracking ura mawashi geri in the final for Ippon. He competed last year where he took silver, but managed to better it this year and claim the top spot. What is so special about Dan’s situation he’s extremely new to karate having taken up the art around 18 months ago. Dan is still young though, mid teens so technically in my opinion what I’d classify as a late starter. He has a lot of raw talent, a natural ability that you either have or you don’t and to top it off he works hard in training. To win his final match he needed not only a technical ability, but to use his head and work well under pressure which he managed to deliver and for that kind of mind set on such young shoulders I’m confident he will go very far in the karate world.
My other mention goes to Danny Wild. He’s a young lad who battled through a very large group of competitors to take 3rd place. All in all he fought 4 hard rounds and thoroughly deserved his 3rd place finish with some good combinations. For such a young competitor he also had some moments whereby his mental strength needed to push through beyond his years. He unfortunately had to retire through injury, but there was nothing in my mind that suggested he could not go on to win the competition. You can see one of Dan’s fights below.
For myself I entered the individual and team kumite and found myself getting a bye in the first round before being knocked out (not literally) in the 2nd for the individual kumite. In the team event we had problems from the start. Unfortunately one of our lads was injured a week prior to the competition and Chris stepped in at short notice to make the team of 3 along with myself and Artur. The problems didn’t end there and Artur had an accident on the way up to the event and couldn’t make it either. Thankfully he wasn’t hurt. Our team of three was reduced to two and after some conversations with the referees we were allowed to enter as a 2 man team hoping to win both bouts and to progress with a 2-1 victory.
I decided to put our bye as the 1st man before stepping up to fight coincidentally the same lad I had fought in the individual kumite. I felt as though I fought better in the team event than the individual, but didn’t manage to beat my opponent at the second time of asking missing out on an ippon with a foiled follow up from my ashi sweep. My opponent fought well. He was quick and sharp and proved that with his 3rd place finish in the earlier individual event. The defeat meant that there was no way of progressing and Chris didn’t get to fight. My team kumite fight can be seen below.
All in all I thoroughly enjoyed this event and look forward to taking next year. The event was well run and a good time was had by all from Ruach and from what I could see the spectators.
I continue to test myself against new competitors whilst looking to give back to the younger generation as I was helped so many years previously.
Until next time…