As Omari and I had recently been accepted onto the Higashi National Squad we thought it would be a good idea to attend a competition or two to try and gain more experience with competition style fighting and prepare ourselves for the long road ahead as we attempt to become champions of our art.
The first competition up was the United Styles Association Open. This was the first competition where I would be competing against people from different associations and styles and I quite quickly noticed how out of my depth I was.
After a bit of a wait Omari’s category was called, he stood there confidently waiting for the call of ‘Hajime’ eyeing up his opponent. The fight began and Omari put up a valiant fight catching his opponent with his long reach. This also proved to be a double-edged sword, however, as his opponent managed to narrowly snatch victory away by just moving inside of his reach on what was a beauty of a hook kick. Omari came back from this defeat undeterred and was disappointed to find that there was no bronze match fight between him and the other defeated competitor. He would not have to wait long, however, as shortly after he would be attending the Four Nations British up in Glasgow. As the awards were called my fellow karate-ka brimmed with pride as he collected his bronze medal.
Next came my category and it couldn’t have come sooner. After 6 hours of waiting I had lost most of my adrenaline and nerves and was just ready to fight. All of this came flooding back though as I was called to the mats and stood opposite my opponent. As the match got underway I tried to remain calm by focusing on my goal of scoring a point. This, however, was in vain. As the fight continued I could do nothing but try my hardest to not give my opponent an easy fight. Roughly a minute and fifteen seconds after the start Yame was called and I stood there defeated, not being able to score a point on my opponent, but undeterred for there is always next time. I also received a bronze medal, my first of many medal and trophies I hope to collect as I aim ever higher in my journey of being a world class competitor.
– Aaron Holdsworth