Competition, Website Launch, 5th Dan Presentation and Christmas Party, Saturday 17th of December was a big day for the Applied Karate Association, its members, friends and family.
Whilst preparations for this day had taken place over several months, the day itself started with the referees and table officials briefing at 8:45 then competitors registration at 9 followed by a 9:30 sharp start for those stepping out on the mat. The fundamental success of every event that the AKA organise is a result of the attitude and efforts of its participants and volunteers and today was absolute testament to that. A huge thank you to every competitior, spectator, referee, time keeper and coach for such passion. Rich Welch was on hand capturing the competitions events with some outstanding photography. Karen Williams, as always, led the prizes for the spectators by putting together a great raffle which was supported by prize donations from each AKA club. Gill and Colin Galloway were the welcoming front of house registration team and also headed up the free refreshments available for all, not that the mince pies lasted long!
In order to grow and develop it is important to surround ourselves with those that support through feedback and constructively push and test our ability. So this year we were thrilled when our long term friend and karateka Colin Parker from Mo-ichido Martial Arts accepted our invite to bring a squad of his students down to compete. The standard of Sensei Parker's students were an absolute credit to him and they performed to a very high standard through-out the day. This standard helped to drive the members of the AKA to find another level that they could go to. Victories and losses were experienced by all but as Sensei Parker himself expressed 'win, lose or draw is irrelevant, it's your performance that matters'.
Several of the referees and table officials where stepping up to take on a lead roles in officiating and the guidance and experience held by Sensei Chris Carr and Sensei Colin Parker who are both international referees was just the support required.
As the trophies were given out to those who had progressed to the finals, the final award of the day went to a person who has dedicated over 3/4 of his lifetime to studying Shotokan Karate. This person was instrumental in bringing the five AKA leading instructors together from three different clubs more than 15 years ago as part of a competative squad that achieved huge success both at home and abroad for over a decade. The friendships born then, have since evolved and become a family. One that our members are all a part of. With a genuine passion for the martial arts, he has proven himself many times in dojos as far afield as Brazil and Japan. Always wanting to know when we are training next, he is still as eager a student as he is a teacher, and it is because of these qualities Sensei Smith was deeply honoured to, on behalf of the AKA instructors panel invite Sensei Keith Williams to accept his fifth degree black belt.
And then came the evening and what a night it was. As predicted with it's sold out ticket capacity within two weeks of being advertised, the AKA adults Christmas party was a huge success and a merry old time was had by all. This was solely down to the hard work of Kath Clay and Sharon Watson who organised everything. From the ordering of the meals through to the personalised invites, drinks on arrival, photo booth and blackout raffle, thank you ladies on behalf of the AKA and all it's party people that created a fantastic evening.
Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. x