Saturday, August 22, 2009

45th All Japan Wado-Kai Karate-Do Championships

Louise here,

Last weekend, the 15th and 16th of August, was the 45th All Japan Wado-Kai Karate-Do Championships. Erica and I were both entered in the Women's Kata and Kumite events, so had been training hard in preparation.

The programme, sideways view

The first day of the competition was held near Tokyo Disneyland at the Urayasu Park Gymnasium, and the second day was held in the Nippon Budokan. It varied, but the first rounds of most events were held on the first day, and the later rounds and finals were held at the Nippon Budokan. With about 2000 competitors, it was definitely the biggest tournament I've entered.

Women's kumite was first thing in the morning, so I warmed up and turned my fight brain on. I had no expectations as it has been many years since I've competed in kumite, but I surprised myself by only narrowly losing 3-4. I did find wearing a head guard off-putting, and I suspect my fighting style changed due to the reduced peripheral vision. However I am now inspired to take kumite seriously.

Preparing (I'm kneeling behind the Aka competitor who is standing)

Women's kata was after lunch, and the first round compulsory kata was kushanku. Again I lost narrowly, with 2 flags to 3. As usual, I need keep working on my kata.

At lunchtime on the second day, in the Nippon Budokan, a mass demonstration of basic kihon was led by Arakawa Sensei in time to beats on an enormous taiko drum. Two teams from Shiramizu also performed the Kata Niiseishi and Kushanku.

Mass kihon, Nippon Budokan

I really enjoyed the team spirit that the Shiramizu dojo had, before, during and after the competition. Everybody supported each other, from the elementary school students up to the senior instructors.

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