HDKI Nationals - 13th of October 2018. I took a break from yesterdays competition to visit the cafe area and grab a cup of tea. As I walked through the corridor a young lad who had been swimming asked his Dad what was happening in the Sports Hall. The man replied: “it’s a competition son, but it’s not real martial arts like I do”. Like most Karate-ka I am passionate about our Art and extremely defensive of it’s credentials and even more so of our students and their efforts. But strangely I wasn’t annoyed by this comment, instead I was fascinated by the concept of what is a ‘Real Martial Art’.
For me the Art is embodied by its participants. They should demonstrate technical prowess and embody a Budo (Warrior) spirit when under pressure and duress. They must conduct themselves with dignity and be focused on their goals and in the context of a competition perform whilst maintaining their integrity.
As a squad our day began at 5.30am when Sensei Keith and Sensei Emma arrived in the Minibus from our meeting point. When it comes to team bonding you can’t beat a road-trip! The squad were then presented their new Adidas Squad jackets, a gift from the Association to recognise their commitment to squad training. I then managed the playlist (in between power naps).
We arrived around 9.30am and quickly filtered in to the venue, greeted by familiar faces such as Paul and Laura Uren and the dedicated referee Eden Burrell. Testament to Scott Langley and his association the event began on time and was soon under way with two areas running smoothly. We had taken the decision to take a squad of Cadets and Adults so we watched as Sensei Williams refereed the Junior events.
Once Junior kata was complete we were soon in the medals with, Regan Evans collecting Bronze, Casper Newman reaching the female Black Belt kata final and Jess (The) Cheong winning the female Kyu Grade kata. In Team kata Bethany, Regan and Seren achieved bronze with a solid Empi and we awaited the kumite events with anticipation.
In the Cadet event Oscar Hughes was off to a flying start with an immediate Mawashi-Geri Ippon in his first round and Jack Arnold was moving extremely well and won his first fight with conviction. Frustratingly the Boys met in the next round with Oscar prevailing with a well timed Jodan punch combination. Oscar secured second place against a sharp HDKI opponent and Jack placed joint third.
The Three Amigos From South Downs dojo were at it again and dominated the young ladies kumite. Seren set the tone in the first round with a composed victory over a talented Irish opponent. We completed this event with Regan Evans in third, Bethany Arnold in Silver and Seren Evans the Kumite champion. A fantastic result!
Perhaps the most rewarding consequence of competition is to witness students exceed their own expectations. Nicky Porter fought with conviction against much more experienced ladies to secure third, whilst to her own chock and surprise Jess Cheong came second in the ladies kumite in only her second competition.
As a coaching team we applaud the effort of our team and appreciate the sacrifices and effort that all of the students put in. Jess and Nicky’s performance prove that our squad sessions are beneficial for everyone, so regardless of age or experience if you fancy trying something new you will be very welcome. (Keep an eye on our calendar and Facebook posts for updates).
If only the gentleman I overheard and his son had taken the time to step inside the Sports Hall they could have witnessed people from various clubs throughout the UK risking failure and growing as individuals. Putting themselves on the-line developing timing, distance, courage and awareness. I struggle to comprehend what could be more ‘Real’ than that!
Well Done to all involved.... OSU.