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2nd Ichiban Karate Kata Competition

On the 24 March 2019, the dojo hosted its second karate kata competition. Organised by Kylie and Kieron of Ichiban Karate Leeds, the competition set out to provide an introduction to competitions for karateka. The competition was open to karateka of all ages and grades, from Zetsurin Karate Otley, Ichiban Karate (Leeds and Gipton) and Leeds University Karate Club. Now in its second year, the competition attracted enough entries to demand the use of both areas at the dojo throughout the day.

The day started off with the Open men’s kata category. Whilst most competitions will start off with the junior age categories, it was hoped that the men’s category would serve as a bit of a showcase for the younger students, and also made sense practically as many of the entrants were also needed to help with the refereeing.

The men did not disappoint with their performances, the rule of no repeats for dan grades meant that the audience was able to enjoy a wide variety of high grade katas, complete with many impressive jumps, spins and one legged manoeuvres. A special congratulations must go to Marion, who at only age 11 and 2nd kyu brown belt, entered the men’s open grade category and performed extremely well, placing joint 3rd at the end of the division!

After the men the competition moved swiftly to the youngest competitors of the day the 7 year olds and the under 7 categories. Many of these competitors have only been training a matter of months, some even just weeks, but were brave enough to stand up in front of a dojo full of people and do their best. Well done to each and every one of them, particularly our youngest competitor of the day, Lila who is just 5.

We were really pleased with the number of students that turned out to support the tournament. It was fantastic to see so many young karateka turn up and give it their all in the hope of winning some nice shiny medals and trophies.

In addition to Marion’s standout performance in the mens category, special mention should also go to Layjah, Narjis and Salma. Layjah and Narjis, both age 12 entered the Open ladies category and performed well enough to take 1st and 3rd places respectively. Salma, having entered what I think was the most categories of any one competitor on the day, went home with placings in each category. Having entered Senior pairs, junior pairs, 10-11yrs and 12-15 years kata, Salma went home with gold in Junior pairs and 10-11yrs kata and silver in the 12-15 yrs kata and bronze in Senior pairs.

The standard of the kata performances across the board was very good, with many students who have some competition experience, using it as an opportunity to try out new katas under pressure. It’s been a pleasure to coach these students and watch them improve week after week.

The spirit in which students performed their katas, the friendship that they showed one another and the passion for karate that they showed on the day, made it one of the most enjoyable competitions we’ve ever attended.

A day like this would not have been possible without the help of all the volunteers and referees that worked tirelessly (without break) to ensure that the competition ran smoothly and according to time, managing to finish all 11 categories within 5 hours! Thank you to Ruth, Paul, Jack and Lewis from Zetsurin Otley and Oliver, Amber and Dario from Leeds Uni Karate for your help and support on the day, it’s greatly appreciated.

We are already looking forward to next year’s event which has already been tentatively set for the 15 March 2020. The next karate competition to be hosted at the dojo however, will be the kumite competition on the 17 November 2019!

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