On the 9th December 2018, Ichiban Leeds hosted its first Karate Kumite (fighting) competition. The competition run by Zetsurin Karate Leeds, was designed to be a grassroots competition providing a stepping stone for students to have a taste of competition within a smaller local environment.
With approximately 60 competitors from 4 local clubs, Zetsurin Otley, Zetsurin Leeds, Makenki Karate (Sheffield) and Seishinkai Karate (Gipton), the day was well attended and competition was fierce - but friendly.
The days started with the Open Male Kumite, which was first in the line-up to provide the younger competitors with a bit of a show and insight into what higher grade kumite looks like.
Sensei Kieron from Zetsurin Leeds and Seishinkai and Sensei Lewis and Paul from Zetsurin Karate Otley were amongst those to take part. The fights were of a high standard and did not fail to provide a bit of drama with a few over-exuberant kicks and shots to the head.
The final was between Sensei Kieron and Lewis, where due to the double elimination structure of the tournament, and the fact that Sensei Lewis reached the final unbeaten, Kieron had to win twice to take gold. Spurred on by his home crowd advantage Kieron narrowly won the 1st fight leading to a showdown. Both competitors rather tired and carrying a few niggles from the 1st rounds showed shines of fatigue but still put on a good show. With the score extremely close throughout the fight, Kieron managed to score in the dying seconds to narrowly secure 1st place. Well done to all the Open Male competitors for fighting so well and putting on a good demonstration for the juniors.
From the rough and tough to the super cute, the competition moved into the under 6yrs kickmaster! Kickmaster provides a non-contact option for students to demonstrate their techniques and movement. Some of the competitors in this division were only 4 years old and showed great spirit and courage to get up in front of so many people and perform to their best!
The 8-9 years Kickmaster and Kumite divisions were the biggest events of the day, with approximately 17 competitors in each division, making it a very competitive day for those youngsters.
Many of the competitors that entered, have never done karate outside of their own club before, let alone enter a competition. Furthermore, the majority of competitors have probably only been training under 18 months. So, it was fantastic to see so many young karateka get up on the mat in front of their family and friends and give it a go!
Throughout the day we were really pleased to see students using the techniques and skills that they have been working on so diligently in the build up to this competition. As coaches, watching our students perform under pressure is a real test of the effectiveness of the training we’ve been doing and helps us really assess the development students have made, as well as identify areas of further improvement.
The day would not have been possible without the fantastic support and help of Sensei’s Dave, Ruth, Paul, Lewis, Jack, Liz and Astrid and all the other helpers, who gave up much of their Sunday to ref, and work the tables to make the day a success- Thank you so much !!
I wish I could say ‘And that’s All Folks..’ for 2018, but we are hoping to take a small group of competitors to the EKF 2019 Kyu Grade National Championships on the 13th January, so all those aiming to be selected will be putting in the extra sessions in between Christmas and New Year. It’ll be the first time we’ve attended the Kyu Grade Nationals and it will be by far the biggest and most prestigious competition our squad have seen, we look forward to working with them in their preparation and seeing them compete!
Watch this space!
Many thanks to Vlada for being photographer on the day! To see more pictures of the day please check out our Facebook page.