Sunday, December 28, 2008

36th Japan Karate-do Cup (Japan Karate National Championships)

Carl here...

Lawrence (Intern V3) kindly gave us some free tickets (via Richard) to the 36th Japan Karate-do-Cup (this is the name for the Japan National Karate Championships) which was held on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th December. This was the same weekend as the Shiramizu end of year training.

It was decided that Amy and I would watch the team kumite divisions on the Saturday and attend the Shiramizu training on the Sunday. The only downside to this is that I would miss all the individual kumite bouts.

The Komazawa Olympic Parl sports arena was the venue for Saturday’s events. This complex was used for the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

We met up with Richard Sensei on the way, with him managing to get on exactly the same train carriage as Amy and I!

(Richard here - former Shiramizu student Rie Hirai was competing on the Tochigi Prefecture Women's Kumite Team as the 4th member - 3 fight and one is the spare. This Tochigi team placed 3rd (!) although Rie still only a 2nd year high school student at Utsunomiya Bunsei Girl's School, so she was the youngest member of the team, which is a great experience for her.

Here are the final results:

Women's Individual Kata (joshi kata kojin sen)
Winner: Nao Morooka, Corporate Karate Association (yuushou : morooka nao, jitsugyou dan)

Men's Individual Kata Division (danshi kata kojin sen)
Winner: Takahashi Katada, Kanto Chiku Association (yuushou : katada takashi, kantou chiku )

Women's Individual Kumite Division (joshi kumite kojin sen)
Winner: Ayaka Arai, Gunma Prefecture Association (yuushou : arai aya ka, gunma ken)

Men's Individual Kumite Division (danshi kumite kojin sen)
Winner: Ko Matsukyu, Corporate Association (yuushou : matsukyuu kou, jitsugyou dan)

He is the JKF Wadokai member who won last year as well, plus taught a kumite seminar for Shiramizu in June 2007.

Women's Team Kumite Division (joshi kumite dantai sen)
Winner: Tokyo District Team (yuushou : toukyou to)

Men's Team Kumite Division (danshi kumite dantai sen)
Winner: Kyoto Area Team (yuushou : kyouto fu)
(Tokyo was second...)

There was no team kata.

We got to the competition very early and I was definitely suffering the effects of sleep deprivation from such an early start.

The competition had six matted areas running all day, with high school kids managing huge double sided score boards so that the spectators could follow each mat.

There were some interesting matches and some good fighters. On the whole most of the fights followed a typically Japanese style, with both fighters bouncing towards each other until they were close enough to strike. At this point both fighters would throw techniques together and the referee would have to decide who scored first. After watching a few fights, it all becomes a little predictable.

What I did find interesting was watching the body language of the fighters before the fight. Amy and I had some fun deciding who would win each fight based on how they acted off the mat. Those who were confident off the mat always went on to win the match. Personally I think that the referee’s pick up on a fighter’s confidence and subconsciously favour them!

We didn’t stay at the competition because it was one of the few days that Amy and I had off together and we had to do some Christmas shopping. So we made our escape and headed off to Shibuya Starbucks for a legendary white hot chocolate!

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