Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Arakawa Sensei, Japan Master's Kumite Champion

Carl here;

Arakawa Sensei recently came back from Kochi City in Kochi Prefecture where he was competing in the All Japan Sports Masters Championships, which is a multi-sport event. Sensei competed in the JKF Japan Master's Karate Competition (日本スポーツマスターズ2008空手道競技会). This national event is open to the over 40’s and is an all-style event, with athletes having won their prefectural divisions for their age groups in kata and kumite

Naturally, this is a prestigious event, so competitors have to qualify for it by beating stiff competition from their own prefecture. Arakawa Sensei had previously won his qualifying event so he was going to be representing the Saitama Prefecture. Sensei was representing the Saitama region along with another guy, who just so happens to have won 3rd place in a full contact world championship years ago (sorry, I don’t know which world championship).

The main event
The tournament was held at the Kochi Prefecture Citizen's Arena in Kochi City on Shikoku Island. There were hundreds of competitors across all divisions. Arakawa Sensei’ division had a massive 65 fighters in.

The result
Arakawa Sensei battled his way through 5 rounds to to make the event finals and he came away as champion of his division. He did however pick up an injury to the throat which has led to a trip to the hospital, but he told me that it was nothing too serious.

This is how Arakawa sensei won his event:

Round 1,
The fight went to extra time with Sensei eventually winning 4 points to 3.

Round 2,
Arakawa sensei comfortably won with 8 points to 0. In typical Japanese fashion, the contest was run to six points clear, rather than the WKF eight points. Arakawa sensei was leading the fight 5 – 0 and then finished the match with a good head kick.

Round 3,
Another fight that went to extra time, Sensei won this bout with 6 points to 5.

Round 4,
Again, the match was won by Sensei in extra time, this time with 5 points to 4.

Round 5,
Despite being the semi final round, Arakawa sensei won with 4 points to 0 to gain a place in the final.

Round 6 – final,
Arakawa Sensei faced the famous Shinichi Hasegawa (a former member of Japan's National Men's Kata Team he is a multiple WKF Team Kata champion and he won the 2nd World Games 60kg kumite division) but Sensei managed to win with 4 points to his opponents 3. (Hasegawa Sensei also came 2nd in the 40-44 men's kata.)

I personally wasn’t at the tournament, as Arakawa Sensei flew there from Tokyo's Haneda Domestic Airport, but this tournament was a big deal. The standard was also very good, with many former national team fighters competing. The fact that Arakawa Sensei entered this competition is a great way to show his many students how it should be done. It’s great that he’s still an active competitor at an age when a lot of competitors have already hung up their gloves. The fact that he walked away as champion is just the icing on the cake!

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