On the 21 November 7 members of the Higashi Karate club travelled to Essex for a karate tournament. This meant a very early start for waking up at 6 AM.
This was the first competition the club had entered for 2 years due to Covid and the team was mostly made up for young students who were having their first taste of sport karate.
The first event was the slam man which is a popular event for younger students where they throw punches and kicks against a target mannequin and the judges use criteria to decide who was best. Alexandria was the pick of the bunch in this case attaining a bronze medal, although Isaac and Ti both out in strong showing with their first time on the mats.
The kumite events or sparring is where the team had entered the most people with al 7 participants competing in at least 1 fighting event.
Xander and Isaac were in the under 4’3 section and according to their coach who is also a national referee had done enough to secure passage into the next round, however the judges on the day saw it differently, with both losing on a judge’s decision. Both can hold their heads high as they showed they could hold their own against other slightly more experienced competitors and with a bit more experience they will both do well. Ti was the pick of the bunch as he was giving away over 6 inches in height to most of the competitors winning his first fight with a kick to the body and narrowly losing the second. A tenacious fighter Ti fought on the front foot for the entire duration of his fights.
Jaden was next up fighting in the novice to orange belt section over 4’10 attaining a very credible draw, scoring 2 points, however lack of experience meant Jaden allowed his opponent to show more techniques which won the judges over, however a very solid performance and one he should be proud of.
Alexandria fought in the intermediate section however could not find the form that has led her to win medals in most of her previous competitions. She has recently been spending a lot of time training in basketball due to the lack of karate events, and this has had an impact on her. However, with the start of competitions again the club is hopeful she can refind her form
Zara who has only recently restarted karate entered the adult novice section, even though only 17. An excellent display of counter punching saw Zara take the gold medal against a larger fighter. This bodes well for the future.
The final two competitors were the two experienced participants on the over 40’s section. First out was Eugene smith who won 6-0 against a 4th Dan blackbelt, however on Medical advice he was withdrawn from the event. However, Higashi karate would not be denied and Sensei John Hurley, who runs the club fought his way to the final. In the final a masterclass in counter punching led him to a 4-0 win and the second Gold medal of the day for Luton Higashi.
Overall a good showing considering the club does not solely focus on competition karate unlike some of the associations that were present. The club insists on teaching traditional karate (wado ryu style). With more competitions in the New year it looks like it could be a busy 12 months for coaches and fighters alike.