On Sunday 24 November 7 members of the luton Higashi Karate club participated in the Seitou open karate championships held in Basildon. Among their numbers were several members on their first outing.
First on the mats was John Hurley who performed a good kata, however progression was not to be as the judges apparently saw something in the opposition kata that nobody else did, including a National Governing Body Kata judge! Eugene Smith also went out to the eventual winner in the first round, trying out a new kata for the first time.
Alexandria, who is becoming an old hand at competitions probably had the worst decision of the day losing 2-1 on flags in the kata to the eventual silver medalist, however she did redeem herself in the kumite (fighting) which upholds her record of medaling in this competitions every time she has entered (3 so far), but with a grading looming next year she will be moving up a section.
Her team mate Allegra, entering for the first time, was a force of nature storming through the opposition with a show of controlled aggression, only falling short at the last hurdle (final), in which perhaps if the rules had been applied correctly might have had a different result, but as with Alexandria Allegra is expected to move up a grade in the new year, and with work on refining her technique will be a force on the mat.
Molly’s entrance into the competition arena was within kata. Molly’s kata performance has increased dramatically over the previous 6 weeks as she has found a focus for her training. A good performance, only marred by a small stumble which was the reason for her not progressing. Once she learns some higher kata her determination and observation of the smallest detail will see Molly become strong performer in this area of karate.
Georgi is a young man who is doing extremely well within karate. With previous experience in fighting Georgi entered kata as well this time. Georgi was unlucky to come up against a performer who had been taught a kata for the sole purpose of competitions, and did not make the second round.
In kumite Alexandria and Allegra fought well showing a good level of skill. The coaches were extremely impressed and are now looking at creating a team within the girls ranks with these two as the core of the team. One of the coaches, who has experience of international level and also a national judge is sure they can hold their own at national level, and there will be more medals in their future for sure.
In the veterans sections John Hurley went down to several front punches, as he seemed to have mis judged his fighting distance, however a head kick that was missed by the judges would have made the last 15 seconds extremely interesting, as it was John that was doing all the attacking throughout the majority of the match. John, since coming out of retirement, has gotten better with each passing competition and it is only a matter of time before it ‘clicks’ into gear.
Dave Gooch, entering after a gap of year in competition settled into his fight quickly and scored several good body punches, however a very heavy punch from his opponent, which led to the disqualification, meant Dave was not allowed to fight on and attained the bronze medal. Not bad for the first competitions in a long time!
Eugene Smith, won his first fight 8-0 without too many issues and then progressed onto the final due to his team mate being with drawn on medical grounds. The fighter he met in the final was one he lost to two years ago. It was evident from the start that the two fighters had a lot of experience and were not going to get scored on easily. The buzzer went for full time with the score on 0-0, with the referee refusing to make a decision. Extra lime loomed and a clash against went unscored, even though video footage does not support that decision. A subsequent clash led to Eugene smith being scored upon for a 1-0 loss and having to do with the silver medal.
Georgi was the pick of the bunch in the kumite as he fought in a round robin, scoring body punches seemingly at will. Good movement around the mat and an aggressive style meant Georgi controlled his fights from start to finish. Georgi is attempting a new grade in a few weeks (December) however the bad news, for his opponents, is that he stays in the same section for kumite. Georgi has a bright future in karate, especially in kumite and it will be interesting to watch him progress in the next few years.
So seven participants and five medals (1 Gold, 2 silver, 2 bronze) was a good day for the squad, and with this the biggest squad so far the club is looking on the up and hopefully more successes in the new year