On the weekend of December 12th and 13th, the All Japan Karatedo Championships were held. I’m told that this is THE competition to win if you’re going to win one. To qualify for this competition, you must have won a competion in your prefecture. Then you compete with all the other gold medalists in your area and the winner advances to represent their prefecture at the All Japan Karatedo Championships.
All of Saturday was used for qualifying matches for team kumite and this took place at the Tokyo Budokan. On Sunday the 13th, the day I went to watch with Richard Sensei, the final rounds for team kumite, qualifying and final rounds for men and women's kata and individual kumite occurred at the Nippon Budokan.
Men's kumite. Intense.
We arrived at roughly 9am, when the competition started, and already the first 2 levels of seats were filled!! So we settled up on the third level and watched the individual men’s kumite. When I first started watching, the fighters were so fast I wasn’t able to tell who had scored a point first. Then after awhile I slowly began to be able to tell, with the help of Richard Sensei of course. There were 2 big screen TVs on either side of the stadium that had instant replay and that helped spectators to see the reasons for some of the calls the judges made. For example, there were quite a few times when to us it looked like red had scored the point, but the judges would award the point to blue. A replay of that point would come up on the big screen and we’d see that red had actually missed and blue had scored with a counter attack, but from our angle it looked different.
Kata being shown on the big screen.
After the qualifying rounds were over for kumite, kata started and it was amazing to watch. For me, I got to see katas that I’ve never seen before. Sitting up in the stands with Richard Sensei and Arakawa Sensei, we would guess which colour would win right before the judges made their call. Richard Sensei got all of them right except one. I stopped after awhile because I kept guessing the wrong one =_=’
Men’s Kumite -- Araga Ryutaro
Women’s kumite -- Miyamoto Yu
Men’s kata -- Furukawa Tetsuya (Suparinpei – Goju-ryu)
Women’s kata -- Usami Rika (Chatanyara Kushanku – Shinto-ryu)
Men’s team kumite -- Kyoto
Women’s team kumite -- Tokyo
This is definitely a must watch event!