Getting back to the swing of things properly for 2018 we attended the Yorkshire Open. Our team Captain (Poppy) wasn’t with us this time (that’s got to be a first!) as she was away with the school Skiing in Austria. However we had a few FaceTime calls with her during the day… we think she secretly missed us ;-) although she looked like she was having a great time there.
George was first up for kata and as per smashed it! He took gold with his best Suparenpai to date in the final! Lewis was yup next and this was the first time he had competed in the 14-15yr old division after his birthday in January. With a bye in the first round this gave Lewis the chance to see his opponent perform and he knew he had to bring his A’ game. Up against one of the strongest in the division (and the eventual division winner) Lewis decided to perform Gankaku. With pose and focus he attacked the kata. Absolutely nailing all the difficult sections of the kata you would expect all flags to go to Lewis… however a wobble on one of the simpler moves meant his opponent got 2 of the 3 flags and progressed. A good lesson in not forgetting the basic aspects of a kata, all be-it not how you would like the lesson to be acquired.
George was up first again for the Kumite. We had the luxury of seeing his opponent fight in a different division before facing George and noticed how close he liked to get before launching his attack. So coach Pete said to George to remain cool, hold your ground and let him cross the line and as soon as he does launch that front hand out instantly… BOOM Georges first point of the day was a distancing and timing masterclass! He executed it to perfection and left his opponent in shock! The rest of Georges day went exactly to plan to. Coach Pete explained how far George has come in his Kumite and he is really starting to relax and use all the energy he has in the right way.
“This time last year George was quite erratic and wasted lots of energy in the ring through sheer enthusiasm… today he looked cool, collected, smarter and in charge of each bout. We are very proud of his progress!” said Coach Pete
An in form George went on to win the gold, his first in Kumite J well done George!
Next up was Heidi. She was on fire too! Heidi has really found her groove lately and is gaining in confidence every time she competes. New techniques are being used and when opportunities arise more and more are being capitalised on… it’s that confidence to attack and all our ‘triggering’ training has really paid off for her. Every event there is less and less hesitation and more and more oomph in everything she does! It was great to see her make the final and to see her opponent really up her game for the bout too. Tt was an excellent match but in the final seconds Heidi (who was leading at the time) didn’t even see her opponents kick come… it was a very good kick and the ippon was rightly awarded. As gutting as that was for her we hope she was very proud of what was an excellent day for her and a very well deserved silver medal. Well done Heidi!
Archie’s division was called next and after a long wait (last bout in the second round after a bye in the first) Archie stepped up and was clearly in the zone. After a lighting fast gyaku tsuki he took senshu before going on to score two excellent wazari’s. At 5-0 Archie was cruising on the scoreboard and only needed 1 more point for the bout to be stopped early. However the bout itself was actually quite different to how it sounded in the previous description. Archie’s opponent was an ‘aggressive’ fighter which in itself is fine, we all need to learn to deal with that type of opponent but unfortunately this opponent had little to no control and only got worse throughout the match as he became more and more emotionally charged after each point Archie scored. We was very proud with the way Archie stood up and hit back where it hurt (on the score board) and didn’t get drawn into a ‘scrap’. The very disappointing thing though was that after 3 warnings Archie’s opponent made heavy contact yet again and the medics ruled that Archie was unable to continue even though there was only 6seconds left on the clock and Archie really wanted to continue. If the medics had only allowed Archie to continue the other lad would have had his final warning and been disqualified. We would like to thank all the other parents ringside who asked how Archie was after the match and complemented his bout, while he was sore after those comments certainly helped and we think the biggest disappointment was being unable to carry on. We would also like to thank the event organiser Paul who dealt with the situation excellently, he also spoke to Archie and expressed disappointment he wasn’t allowed to continue but also explained how he has to trust his medics and cant overrule them.
Unlucky this time Archie, you’ll get ‘em next time ;-)
Last on for Kumite was Lewis, this was his first time in a new age division for him and it was the land of the giants. After what was a very successful year for Lewis last year (national medals and even a world title) the challenge of facing opponents with a much longer reach was something that proved difficult for Lewis and something we need to work on with him from a tactical perspective a little more.
Lewis’ first round was very impressive. His movement in the ring was sublime before springing out a excellently timed, deep gyaku tsuki which earned Lewis a yuko and senshu. That was enough to take Lewis into the second round where he faced an opponent with at about a 10” reach advantage on him… Lewis did an excellent job of making it very difficult for his opponent to score on him but in hesitating to launch an attack a few times his opponent did manage to score meaning Lewis didn’t progress to the 3rd round this time. We have absolute confidence though that with some more tactical training Lewis will be back on the podium in no time in this new age category. Well done Lewis, you still performed like a pro.
Overall we had a great day. This event was very much about trying new things and development rather than results but it was great to see that development produce some results too. We came back with 3 medals (2 gold and a silver) from 4 competitors and extremely proud of all our athletes for many reasons.