Monday, June 15, 2009

Saitama-ken Junior JKF Taikai...

Hello, Amy here!

I thought I would just tell you all about the Saitama-Ken Junior JKF Taikai (or… the Saitama prefecture JKF Junior Championships) that was held on the 22nd and 23rd of May in Ageo city.

Unfortunately due to certain rules (not being juniors) we, (Carl and I) were not allowed to enter. We decided that we would go regardless and lend our support to the Shiramizu Team. Who would be entered under their town names, rather than dojo - as this was a regional qualifier for the ‘All-style Nationals’ later in the year.

On the 22nd Carl was busy at work, so I had to brave this unknown region to find the Ageo Budokan. For this mission Carl had armed me with a printed map and a very rough idea of where to find the competition. It was basically to be found on a very large green splodge on the map…..somewhere….

{Carl here… the map was courtesy of Google Earth, and it’s never let me down yet – some people simply can’t read maps :-) }

I found myself at Ageo train station and flipped a coin to decide in which direction to go in. I wandered through the streets following my map, passing further and further away from civilisation. It was a bit disconcerting when the ‘7- 11’ convenience store failed to materialize as this was my landmark on the map. But I continued on regardless and found the green splodge which happened to me an immense park with many sports buildings held within it and a huge deserted amusement park. I must admit however that the park did have many huge 3D maps in which to check your location……unfortunately there all were in Japanese. So again with the coin I decided in which direction to start my search. After walking and seemingly not moving for a long time I arrived at a car park the size of a small town. With my eagle eyes I soon found a sign to show that all my efforts were not in vain………….a group of youths with really stylish hair in karate bottoms…’YATTA’ I did it!!

Note the easily recognisable Shiramizu Banner on the right hand side!

Once inside it was easy to find the Shiramizu camp, just look for the huge flag. I was just in time to watch Masatoshi perform in Kata. Round after round Masatoshi won with a great example of Kushanku.

Masatoshi (Arakawa Sensei' younger son, Grade 3 Elementary) in action

As this was a large event there was a wait between watching the Shiramizu Competitors. But this was not a hindrance as it gave me time to watch the other competitors from different styles, especially the Kata which was preformed picture perfect almost every time!

Masatoshi enjoying a break after winning his Kata division (sitting on Yuki's knee)

(After a few hours I was looking forward to Carl trying to find the Ageo Budokan. I was sure that he would become completely lost. However I was in for a disappointment, as he managed to get a lift to the front door of the Budokan from his workplace…..DOH!!)

Kana mid-Chinto

Carl was just in time to witness Kana perform Chinto. She preformed amazingly and got through many rounds, unfortunately she was beaten by a kata from a different style, which was also performed with expert precision. Misaki was also performing Chinto (perfectly) and made it into the semi-fimals of the next day.

We also had the chance to watch some of the Shiramizu Instructors compete. Arakawa Sensei won his kumite category with ease.

Suzuki Sensei in action, with a rather questionable use of his lead leg... hmmm!

Suzuki Sensei had some trouble in his kumite but did well in his kata. Yamazaki Sensei competed in kata only and won her first round. In her second round unfortunately it went to three flags to two in her opponents favour.

All the Shiramizu students did amazing, but a special mention has to go to the high school boys kumite team.

Rikuto (left) recoiling from a reverse punch...

Which was the highlight of the entire competition. They fought amazingly with a good range of techniques. They showed great team spirit. It was definitely the amount of training and effort that these young lads put in that secured their victory.

It was a good way to spend the weekend. But Shiramizu weren’t the only ones competing that day, across the other side of the world Hartlepool Wadokai (our dojo) team was competing in the Aiwakai Nationals, our association’s national club championships. The team of 18 competitors (including both of Carl’s parents – in the Veteran Kata division) competed in both kumite and kata and brought home 20 medals. Well Done Everyone!!!!

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