Shotokan Karate Academy

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1st Shotokan Karate Academy Championships

Sunday 08 March 2015

The first Shotokan Karate Academy Championships took place this weekend, and was packed to the gills with karateka from all over Manchester. We were please to bring together not only the SKA, but also Manchester University Shotokan Karate Club, Hale Karate Club, Elyse Karate Shotokan of Hathershaw, as well as Manchester alumni that travelled from Torashin Karate Club, York for a great day of Karate. As well as all the competitors, we were extremely privileged to have an extremely experienced cadre of judges and referees on hand to make the day run smoothly, headed by chief instructor Gary Harford, 7th Dan KUGB.

The first events of the day where the Kata eliminations, which saw some great demonstrations of skill and graceful power. When the smoke had cleared and the sun had well risen, the finalists remained standing and would go onto to compete for the championships later in the day.

Then came the Ippon Kumite eliminations, where a sharp eye and quick feet would serve the competitors well as they aspired to reach the finals. Not everyone can be the victor however, but there were some incredible performances, with Phillip Pun (SKA) and Petre Tudor (MUSKC) sharing bronze in the Men’s Ippon Kumite. Amrita Pun (Elyse) shared bronze medal honours with Ghaukhar Zhakhmetova (MUSKC) in the Women’s Ippon Kumite. In the Boys Ippon Kumite (4th Kyu and above), Jakub Boguszewicz took bronze, and for the Girls Ippon Kumite it was Ellen Brabban-Brown and Olivia Shackley of Hale that bagged the bronze medals. The Pee-Wee section showed some great talent in its burgeoning phases, with Hale’s Carloon Kee and Jack Secrette taking bronze medals at sub 8th Kyu Ippon Kumite. In the 7th Kyu and above section, Matthew Pun (SKA) and William Smith (Hale) shared bronze medal honours.

Following on, it was time to put gum shields in and buckle down for the exhilarating thrill of the Jiyu Kumite eliminations. With plenty of spirit and some very gifted fighters on the scene, there was no shortage of excitement in this category, with the cream rising to the top (but not without a couple of close calls!) With the finals as the last event of the day, Matthew Pun (SKA) and William Pun (SKA) showed brotherly love to share bronze in the Pee Wee Jiyu Kumite. For the Boys, Jonah Lee and Paul Bigger (both SKA) had to settle for bronze medals, and in the Girls category Emily Pun (SKA) added to the family collection when she shared bronze with Aoife Bigger (SKA). For the Women’s Jiyu Kumite, bronze medal honours were shared between Lottie Lindsay (MUSKC) and Eva Barta (SKA), and for the Men’s side of the draw, the 7th to 4th Kyu bronze medals went to Phillip Pun, his second of the day, and Adriel Wandag (SKA), whereas the 3rd Kyu and above had Matt Hulme (SKA) and Ian Ingram (Torashin) splitting the bronzes.

With the sun gently descending through the brisk spring air, it was time to put the championships on line as the finalists put it all on the line for a chance to take home the coveted gold medals. First of all, to the Kata, and for the Pee Wee (sub 8th Kyu) section there was a Hale 1-2, with Sami Kishawi and Oliver Hughes taking gold and silver respectively, with Leo Anderson (Elyse) beating out Joe Broster for 3rd place. The Pee Wee kata (7th Kyu and above was closely fought, with Luca Harford (SKA) taking 1st place, followed by Hugo Whitehurst, Qasim Chaudhary and Sophia Abdulnabi (all Hale). The children’s kata ended with Alex Cockx (Hale) taking top honours in the (Hale) taking top honours in the 3rd Kyu and above category with a stupendous rendition of Enpei. Kay Prachunla (Hale) took silver, with Jonah Lee and Aoife Bigger finishing out the medallists. The children’s novice to 4th Kyu section ended in a clean sweep for Hale, with Aarvi Gund in 1st, Oscar Lewis 2nd, Olivia Shackley 3rd and Tori Bannister in 4th place.

In the adult kata section, we had some the closest events of the entire day, with some nail biting finishes. In the adult kata (1st Dan and above) Ross Harford (SKA) pulled out a storming performance to beat Todd Davies (MUSKC) into second place by 0.1 points, with Sam Humphreys (MUSKC) taking 3rd place ahead of Mike Pearce (SKA). In the adult’s novice to 1st Kyu section, Adriel Wandang took 4th place in the great showing for his first competition, with Heather Pearce (Elyse) with a strong showing for the bronze medal. After their first Kata however, John McGough (MUSKC) and Lottie Lindsay (MUSKC) ended tied for 1st place, taking it to an unprecedented tiebreaker. With ice in her veins and nerves of steel, Lottie held on to take the gold medal.

The Ippon Kumite finals gave some great karate, and the vigour of the competitors was never in doubt, and neither was the skill level. At the Pee Wee level, Hale had another clean sweep of the novice to 8th Kyu section, with Tia Secrette taking gold, followed by in second place by Sami Kishawi. In the Pee Wee 7th Jiyu and above Ippon Kumite, Luca Harford showed his drive and determination as he took gold, with Ellie Hulme (SKA) taking silver. In the girls Ippon Kumite section, Aoife Bigger couldn’t manage to hold on as Lucy Mehandjieva (SKA) took the gold medal. For the boy’s novice to 4th Kyu, Ali Khan (Hale) reigned victorious, with the silver medal going to Yahya Farooq (SKA).

For the men’s Ippon Kumite, Vaheeshan Jeganathan (MUSKC) was triumphant in the novice to 4th Kyu section, taking gold ahead of Emil Dimov (SKA). For the women’s novice to 4th Kyu category, there was a MUSKC 1-2, with Jodie Pallagrass taking silver in her first competition. Lottie Lindsay took first place to earn her 3rd medal of the day, and her second gold with this wonderful haul leading to Lottie being named best senior competitor for day as well.

And last but certainly not least we came to the Jiyu Kumite finals, with everyone pumped up and raring to go. In the Pee Wee final, Ellie Hulme defeated Luca Harford to be crowned champion. It wasn’t all bad news for Luca though, as his great efforts throughout the day had not only netted him a plethora of medals, but also earned him the award for Most Promising Male Under 16, and trophy almost as big as he was.

Lucy Mehandjieva fought hard in the girls Jiyu Kumite to end up with gold the medal, relegating Aoife Bigger to the silver medal position. Lucy’s great skill and tenacious attitude earned her the Most Promising Female Under 16 award, to go alongside her medal haul.

The boys Jiyu Kumite event was a match for the ages, as Jakub Boguszewicz (SKA) took on Alex Cockx (SKA) for the championship. They both went at it hammer and tongs, and the match could have gone either way but end result saw Jakub wearing the gold medal. Alex, who was recently selected for the KUGB England squad, was rewarded for his sterling performances in all three categories with the Best Junior Competitor trophy.

For the women’s Jiyu kumite finals was a Manchester derby, as MUSKC alumnus Victoria Ogunseitan went head to head with an SKA veteran, Chui-Yi (Rosie) Lau to decide who would have the right to wear gold. Rosie had proven to be a wily opponent throughout the day, but Victoria rose to the occasion, with her speed and powerful attitude seeing her through to a hard earned gold medal.

The men’s Jiyu Kumite events where amongst the most hotly anticipated events of the entire day, and drew a crowd who were kept entranced by the action. In the 7th to 4th Kyu draw, it was an all SKA affair as Marc Fuzellier face off against Eric Owusu, who made the step up to the men’s category despite being only 15 years old. Neither left anything out as they battled to a score draw in the regulation time. Marc managed to come back from the brink of defeat in the overtime to earn himself a hard fought gold medal, and Eric’s courage and exemplary attitude saw him be the inaugural awardee of the Nigel Farquhar Memorial Shield for Best Attitude.

Lastly came the granddaddy of the them all – the men’s Jiyu Kumite (3rd Kyu and above), where the rich crop of talent had been whittled down to two: Sam Humphreys (MUSKC) and Baptiste Mary (SKA). Sam’s fast counter punching had him off to an early lead, but Baptiste fought back with a combination of scything leg sweeps and front hand punches to level the score. After a tense back and forth the decisive blow came from Sam – a lightning fast mawashi geri kick to head earning him the championship.

Report by John McGough (MUSKC)

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