At the weekend the EKF held its Kyu Grade National Championship. This is the most prestigious event to karate-ka pre-black belt. 4 of our team was there representing our association CIKA England. 3 doing both kata and Kumite (Lewis, Heidi and George), with Archie just doing Kumite.
With over 52 associations being represented and 1000plus competitors it was certainly a big event. CIKA England only had our 4 guys there this year doing 7 events (set to grow massively this year with the introduction of new squad structures) but we still finished 26th in the medal table which we believe is fantastic considering the average entrants from associations this year was 20+.
The kata was a mixed bag as you would expect from a Kyu Grade Championship. There are some competitors there with plenty of experience on the brink of breaking through into the opens and there are others just starting out and there for the experience as much as anything else. With that being said its inspiring watching both the excellent exponents and the newer students who have that fresh enthusiasm and showing us the potential of tomorrows English competitors.
All 3 of our athletes did very well indeed. Lewis made the quarter finals and Heidi made her pools semi-final. George however went all the way! His match of the day was most certainly the pool final before going onto the division final. That cool, calm George came out and he performed the kata of his life (Suparinpei) before going on to the final to take Gold. Big congratulations George.
The Kumite was as exciting as always. Lewis struggled after being the first kata division up of the day and then the last Kumite division of the day. Being slightly under the weather and the long delay in-between (8hrs or so) took its toll on him and while you could clearly see his talent in the ring he just wasn’t as sharp as normal and didn’t progress as expected. George did really well to but it just wasn’t his day in the Kumite this time. Archie was very aggressive and pressed really well in the ring but fell prey to mirror judging as he got a few points in that due to angles the judges just wouldn’t of seen. That’s always disappointing but from a performance perspective there was many positives to focus on.
Heidi was outstanding though! She knew when to press and when to move. Her front hand was unstoppable on the day! She made it all the way to the pool final and was leading 2-0 after 2 great Yukos. Unfortunately with less than 10secs to go her opponent pulled out a great hook kick and was awarded an ippon. With belief Heidi pressed for that 1 point she needed to make it through to the division final but the clock ran down to fast. A very well deserved bronze medal indeed.
The day itself was very long and it is of testament to all in attendance for the outstanding karate still on display as late as it was. Well done to all for the fantastic attitudes and spirit you brought, we are very proud of you.
We would also like to thank the parents for their support once again. You are all just as much a part of the team as the athletes and we don’t know what we would do without you! Especially all the words of encouragement from Dawn… ;-)