Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The 5th Annual Tobu Taikai

Lawrence back again and here to talk a bit about the Tobu Taikai that took place this past Monday, Sept 15th.

The Tobu tournament is essentially for the eastern region of the Saitama prefecture and is open to any style. Last year it was held in a huge gym in the nearby city of Kuki while this year, it was held at the Satte city Asukaru (aka ATHCUL, for Athletic Culture) Sports Centre. This is the same place that Shiramizu holds a branch class at every monday night and is often used for other events, like the Shiramizu year end training and July's All-Saitama Wadokai Championships.

Monday we were in Asukaru's main arena (gym) and it all went according to standard Japanese tournament plan. Doors opened at 8:30, bow in at 9, and the first matches kicked off just after 9:30. And, like my standard Japanese tournament plan, I entered in both kata and kumite.

Kata was really interesting in that there were only three people entered. And one of them didn't show up. So seeing as my only other competitor in the adult men's black belt kata division was Carl, it became a sort of "International Shiramizu Intern Showdown". I won, but if I'm honest, I won with a kata I wasn't completely happy with. So it's more training for me I guess!

I also felt the same kind of feeling I got from the team kata division in Canada. I mean, last year there were 6 or 7 people in the division and none this year. I wonder.....

The kumite division faired a bit better (relatively speaking) with 6 registered competitors, although the mysterious missing man from the kata division dropped that down to 5. It also meant I got a bye since he was my first opponent. My first match (a semi-final round) was against the very tall Mr. Ueno, also from Shiramizu. I lost 2-1 so it's even more training!

In addition to some very good kumite from some very strong high school teams, the day ended off with two great team kata demos, one of Unsu from a Shotokan club and the other being the World Championship-winning Japanese female kata team from Shiramizu, with Wanshu.

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