This year’s Kyu Grade Championship was held at the Guildford Spectrum Leisure Complex. With this being the regular venue for the annual JKA England special courses in spring and summer, it was familiar territory. A few of us met bright and early at what is becoming our usual table in the Costa coffee bar before grabbing some seats in the main arena. We then took time to affix competitor labels, try out the mats together and settle a few nerves.
The Shiranamikai representatives were Sheila, Rupert, Peter, Parth, Danny, Mo, Connor and Jeremy. All made us proud, through giving their best efforts on the day and through the dedication they had put into training for the event. For most of the group this was a first experience of taking part in karate competition. It was also nice to have a few supporters in attendance.
Adult purple belts Sheila, Rupert and Peter were in a difficult field, with some very experienced karateka being positioned in this category. Our bunch distinguished themselves with clean technique and excellent posture. With the benefit of experience and knowledge of what to expect, I am sure we will see this group go from strength to strength in future events.
Parth (green to purple belt age 9-11 category) performed a solid Heian Nidan in the first round of kata but unfortunately missed a kiai which may well have cost him the match. In kumite he reached best 8 and narrowly missed out on a place in the finals. Well done Parth – a big improvement on last year.
Yellow belt Danny (orange to yellow belt age 13-15 category) made his way through the kata elimination rounds in style with a powerful Heian Shodan, earning a place in the finals. However, a missed kiai point in an otherwise strong Heian Sandan unfortunately cost vital points leaving him in fourth place. In kumite, Danny came away with a Bronze medal. Bravo Danny!
Red belt Mo (adult orange to yellow belt category) gave spirited performances in both kata and kumite, making his way through a couple of rounds in each. “That bloke’s actually quite good!” said an onlooker watching Mo perform. Yes, we know! But unfortunately the decision did not go Mo’s way.
Our orange belts Jeremy (also competing in the adult orange to yellow belt category) and Connor (orange to yellow belt age 13-15 years category) should feel proud of how they performed. Connor’s nice long stances and Jeremy’s much improved posture were a pleasure to see.
We had a feeling that we might pick-up a little bit more metalware this year, with a number of competitors looking sharp and strong in the elimination stages. But despite the team displaying technique and spirit in abundance, it wasn’t to be. Nevertheless, everyone came away with something valuable: an improvement to be proud of and the ambition to do even better in the future. We look forward to seeing everyone continue to develop. Well done to all!