Sunday, June 8, 2008

40th Saitama Prefecture Karate Championships 2008

May 24 & 35 was the All Saitama Prefecture Karate Championships held on May 24 and 25 at the Saitama Budokan. This tournament is important because it serves as a qualifier to become prefecture representatives for different national tournaments.

As with nearly every tournament in and around the dojo's region, Shiramizu sent quite a few competitors. However, this being a prefecture-wide all-styles tournament competition was fierce.

Despite that, a fair share of Shiramizu students made Best 8 or higher, with the following competitors placing 4th or better:

Masatoshi Arakawa (age 7), kata, 2nd place
Taiki Yoshiba (age 9), kata, 1st place
Rei Ogino (age 9), kata, 4th place
Shuhei Yoshida (age 11), kumite, 3rd place
Kazuki Iwano (age 17), kata, 1st place
Takamasa Arakawa (age 40), master's 40-45 kumite, 1st place
Here are Sensei's posts in Japanese plus pictures.
Feel free to copy them into Yahoo's Babel Fish for a funny-not-correct translation.

Above is Arakawa Sensei holding his 1st place medal from the master's 40-45 individual kumite division. Due to his win, he will get to represent Saitama in the All Japan Master's Championships in September, which is being held in Kochi Prefecture.

An interesting story is Sensei's older brother who lives in Kyushu told him he would compete in Masters kata 40-45 in his prefecture's eliminations, so Sensei decided to enter kumite only. BUt for some reason, his brother changed his mind and entered the regular men's kata division for a shot at the main national team, but didn't tell Sensei, which would have meant he could have tried for kata as well. Anyway, being Mr. Positive, he laughed it off.
The Master's tournament is divided in ages groups of 5 years apart from 40 until over 70. Wadokai Senior instructor Hakoishi Sensei has competed in the groups over 65 in both kata and kumite until recently when I think he entered some over 70 group (he placed in the top 3 a few times!).

He did say in the finals he fought another pro instructor much bigger than him who was a full-contact fighter until recently switching to the JKF system. He switched because the parents of his dojo's students asked him to change the dojo to the JKF so that the students could participate in more tournaments, do more kata and have a shot at the official Japanese national team. So this instructor has done just that, and has been entering JKF tournaments to better know the rules himself and set a good example for his students.

Unforunately, I wasn't able to attend the tournament so I can't comment on how the students performed, but results aside, many of the students have been practicing very diligently in the weeks leading up to the tournament, doing their best to perfect their kata, team kata, and kumite performances.
But the hard work doesn't stop there as everyone is looking ahead to July 9th for the Saitama Wadokai Tournament. I'll be competing in that one so check back soon for the results of that.

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