What an amazing day of highs and lows from yesterdays WUMA competition, it was quite an emotional one if I’m honest. So many students stepped onto the arena for the first time in what was one of the toughest competitions I have been to for a while. The standard of fighting was top notch and I was so proud of everyone that entered, whether they brought home a medal or not. It was a long day as there was over 500 participants so this review will be hard to cut short and everyone deserves a mention from the 13 students that entered to the parents and members that came to support.
It was due to start at 11.50 but like most Competitions it was running slightly late, to be fair, unless you have organised something like this, then you can’t moan. I think it got underway by 12.15 and the form/kata categories were first. Myself, Tomas, Chloe and David had entered the forms category. Apart from David, no one else had ever entered the forms so we did not really know what to expect.
It started off with the Chinese Forms where due to the low numbers, Tomas was moved into my mine so we were competing together and Tomas being the first time at a competition was on first and also the first competitor of the day. He did great and held his nerves really well and got some good scores off the judges. I was on 2nd, as I don’t compete in the sparring anymore, I thought I would put myself to the test this way and I must admit, it was scary performing alone in front of so many people. At least when you fight, you have to focus on your partner and I suppose there are less distractions.
I was happy with my scores from the judges and even more happy to get the gold trophy.
However I was really chuffed to see Tomas getting 2nd place!
Chloe was up next, unfortunately, there was not enough entries for the under 16’s in the Chinese forms so she was moved into the Japanese form category where there was quite a few entries and she was up against some really experienced martial artist. Saying that I thought she did brilliantly performing Charp Choi under pressure and got some good results for her first time.
David was up next who entered the Men’s Japanese Kata division. Before joining our club, David had gained a 2nd dan in Karate, without making excuses for David as he performed brilliantly but he has not competed or trained in Karate for over 20 years and was up against some really high level black belt karate players so fair play to him for giving it such a good shot.
It was also great to watch the creative and weapons forms do their bit and showed some of our students what other things they could be working on.
After the forms, the fighting got underway, now before I go on, like I have said above, the quality of the fighters was outstanding and nearly all my students were new to competing and this was another level to what they had experienced. This is the reason why I encourage students to take part or watch to see what they need to work on.
It would be really hard to train at that rate in our classes as there would be too many injuries and it would also put new students off. Its not for everyone and there are so many different levels of sparring but if you want to compete and win trophies, you have to know how to lift your game and experience it. Saying all that, everyone handled it brilliantly.
Our first person up for the fighting was our youngest SWAT member Chloe, as well as the forms, she fully emerged herself in her first competition and entered the points and light continuous category’s. She was also against some amazing kickers and a lot more experienced than her. It was fabulous seeing her come away with a Bronze medal.
After Chloe we had our newest member of our Kung Fu Kids fighting Layton, who also entered the Points and Continuous. Layton was so close to securing a medal in the points and was winning right up to the last minute until his opponent got him with a good turning kick to the head.
In his continuous fight, he fought like a true warrior as he took some good knocksand continued on after having a little break.
We the had our little star Emma competing, Emma was very keen and was ready to get in the action way before she was called onto the mat’s. I was really impressed by the way she was taking it all in.
She didn’t get the win she wanted but her attitude through the competition made me so proud that she was my student and she seemed to make a few friends along the way too. A great effort and again was up against a very skilled fighter.
Owen, one of our newer SWAT members and Oscar were in the same category’s for points and Continuous. They both totally took to the competing side of things like ducks to water. Owen was up first and just lost out in the points, again he was in front for most of the fight but lost at the last minute. He came rushing out right from the bell though and went on the attack. In his Continuous, he was up against a much stronger opponent that kept driving Owen back, he took it in his stride and it was a great learning experience.
Then it was Oscar’s turn who did fantastic, he dominated his first points fight and got through to the Bronze only to lose to a much more experienced fighter, he then was straight back on the mats for his continuous and got a silver medal which was amazing for his first time competing. Needless to say, he went home smiling from ear to ear and also battered and bruised.
We then had our 2 cadets fighting, Vaughan who was doing the points and continuous and Sam who opted for the light con. Now because I believe in being honest and think its important for the reputation of the club, the category’s that you had to enter were either below 2 years martial art experience or above. In hindsight, maybe they should of opted for below 2 years experience as this was Sam’s first experience in competing and Vaughan has entered twice before but a long time ago. The fighters in the divisions were very experienced and talented, I don’t make excuses as there is a lot of luck in these competitions, I look at it like a driving test, you never know what you are up against until the day. Sometimes things go your way, sometimes they don’t. Both these lads had their hands full with their opponents.
Vaughan went out the first round in the points but did give it a great shot but his opponent seemed to have amazing legs and was obviously a very experienced fighter. He also lost his continuous fight but deserved a medal for his attitude and warrior spirit, coming away with a bloody nose but loving every minute of it.
Sam also gave a gallivant effort in his continuous but his opponent was great and so much bigger and powerful than Sam. Sam had an impressive guard throughout and at one point managed to force his opponent back and was looking at turning it around. In my opinion, both Vaughan and Sam probably took away the most experience from the day.
At last, the adults started their fighting, at this time it was about 7 pm and normally every one would normally be on their way home by now, however we expected a late one and now the children had finished, the adults are normally a lot quicker to go through.
First up was Jack, one of our instructors who entered both the points and continuous, again up against some strong opposition, and also was in a higher weight category than he should of been, unfortunately it didn’t go his way this time due to his partners leg reach, just an awesome kicker. He also had an issue of his helmet in his continuous bout so until we could find a spare, he was not just fighting a very strong opponent but was also fighting to keep his helmet from flying off! Giving Jack credit, he really did fight well under extreme conditions and his sparring skills have improved so much in the last few years.
David was also fighting at the same time as Jack so unfortunately I missed him fighting in his points division because I was still at Jack’s corner but Bryony, Xav and Ian were at ringside. David lost his bout but was again up against an experienced fighter, with all due respect to our David, he’s been out of action for 20 years and stepped up and was fighting somebody over half his age and also went onto to win that category with ease so full respect for David.
Our Last 2 fighters of the day was Hugh and Xav, unfortunately for Hugh, the only other competitor in his division had already gone home, (must of either got bored waiting or scared!) He did have the option of fighting against the over 2 years experience but as he has only done a few sessions sparring in our classes and he was probably pretty drained from waiting around all day, he choose to take the gold trophy and run. I can’t blame him there if I’m honest!
So our last man standing was Xav, who was actually nearly last out of all the fighters at the event. Xav chose to do the light con, I’m not really sure why its called light con anymore, especially with the heavy weights. Again this was a first experience with Xav and competitions and has only done a minimum amount of sparring in the club. I was quite shocked thou at his opponents reach considering I am always saying how long a reach Xav has, he made it very hard for Xav to get near him. He also had long legs with it too. Xav gave a great fight but unfortunately didn’t get the win but did manage to take home a bronze medal for his efforts which he thoroughly deserved. To be fair everyone deserved to take a medal home for just stepping on those mats.
The competition finished around 9 pm so it certainly was a long but great day. I would just like to give a big shout out to everyone that came to support the students, it was great to spend the day with everyone and it was a great experience for all the fighters. Now back to the drawing board and focus on the next one.