Thursday, October 28, 2010

Doing it for the Kids: Sugito Taikai, 17th October 2010

Peter Here:

After the massive events that were the Wado World Cup and the Wadokai National Championships, it was refreshing to return to more local tournaments. The Sugito Machi Taikai showed how 'grassroots' competition is as important to karate as the major events, not just in gaining useful experience for the developing athletes, but also in building relationships and friendships in the local area. The tournament was an open style, which meant we had Wado and Shotokan karate competing together. This would be my first time in seeing Shotokan in Japan, let alone competing with them, so I was excited by this.

Everyone worked together from the first second to make the day go smoothly, setting up chairs and arenas right through to the packing up. It really gives a good indication of what can be achieved in little time when you work hard for each other!

Although the tournament was mainly for the Kids, there was also an adult Male category for both Kumite and Kata. As I had successes with both of these in Japan I perhaps went in more confident than I ought. I knew my Kata was still not up to much in comparison with others, but maybe I thought it had improved more than it actually had; so I was very disappointed to go out in the first round. Kumite wasn't much better, as I was drawn against a Shotokan competitor who beat me soundly 3-1. A let down for myself.

The rest of the Shiramizu entrants did very well, with many of the golds going our way.

Easily the best part of the tournament was making new friends and playing with the kids. There were only 5 male competitors in the tournament and we trained and warmed up together, learning new things from each other, having a few good Japanese conversations along the way. Even in local tournaments in the UK there seems to be a 'privacy' mentality among the co-competitors which restricts conversation a little so this was a wonderful experience. Of course, many of the kids there knew me from the dojo and kindergartens so they were having fun with me too.

Despite the results for me it was a great day.

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