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AMA International Championships 2013: Yudansha off to a good start to the year

By Admin - Posted on 19 February 2013


East London based karate club: Kaizen Ryu, sent a small group to Sheffield at the weekend (16-17th February 2013) to compete at the AMA International Championships, which was well attended by clubs across the country and from Europe.

Held over two days at the prestigious Ponds Forge venue, the tournament attracted over 400 competitors. Day one was the kata (pre arranged forms) competition. First one to pick up a medal for the day was young star and community role model Tyrone Briscoe Jnr, who placed Bronze in the 13-17yrs Boys Kata Goju Ryu. The ladies did well in their division too where Jasmine David and Gina Boot placed Silver and Bronze respectively in the  Women’s Goju Ryu Kata category, narrowly losing to an outstanding performance by the Romanian competitor. Indran Tanabalan picked up a Gold medal in his division Men’s Goju Ryu Kata. Indran’s kata: Seisan and Suparinpei, was just that bit more outstanding compared to his closest competitor, who also did the same kata in the preliminary round and finals.

Young James Duran (11yrs) who also competed on the day in kata, did not make the top 12, after a very well fought division, comprising of 39 competitors all 14yrs and under in the Boys Open Kata division. Despite this he said “I was happy with my kata, and glad I was selected to represent my club. The experience is going to help me prepare for the competitions this year.”

Day 2 was kumite (fighting) and first up was Jacob Willmore (13yrs) who was keen to perform since he watched the team from the sidelines the day before. He did not disappoint, putting into practice the skills he learnt at training, and progressed through the opening rounds to the final. Unfortunately, an underlying knee injury stopped him seconds into the fight and he had to forfeit; earning him silver.

James Duran found himself drawn as one of the youngest and smallest in his division yet fought hard with his first round opponent who was one of the oldest and tallest; with a difference in reach of about a foot. James managed to overcome the physical mismatch in the dying moments of the round and managed to get through the other player’s guard and moved off to the side to score with a kick, making the final score 1 -4. Almost certain whitewash avoided and honour upheld, James is a plucky youngster and one to watch out for, especially when he gets a bit taller!

15 year old Gina dominated the first half of her opening match and went a comfortable 3 points clear with an impressive display of the speed, timing and accuracy we have come to expect from her over the years. Her opponent did well by going on the offensive herself and brought the match level in the final second of the round. In sudden death overtime the two players picked their moment and went in hard to finish the fight off at the same time. The decision went in favour of the competitor from Leeds and Gina was going to be knocked out. With a maturity beyond her years, Gina knew that victories may be common but you just can’t win them all and her immediate feeling of disappointment turned quickly to the stronger urge to support her teammate, Tyrone, whose division had just been called up.

Briscoe, 16, fought with outstanding skill and class in his opening round yet was hamstrung by decisions that just didn’t go his way and advantaged his opponent. The young man did himself proud by not letting his emotions get the better of him even when the other player punched him after the whistle had been blown, the fight paused and Tyrone was standing on his mark with his hands down. Through what can only be described as a mistake on the part of the referees, the punch was awarded and the score stood. The neutral audience looking on were dumbstruck and many even ventured that an injustice had just occurred. Understanding that the judge’s decision is always final, Tyrone maintained his posture and responsibly accepted it. Isn’t this the sort of professional behaviour we want all athletes to show? It’s uplifting to see teenagers walking away from incident with their dignity intact; knowing they’ll get just what they deserve in the matches to come in the future.

The final fighter was Jasmine, who went up for her division and had the misfortune of being drawn against the eventual winner in the second round. Her opponent was taller with longer legs which she used to keep Jasmine back before reaching over the top and executing a number of telling punches to the head. Jasmine fought back and switched her tactics through the round from head punches to body blows and body kicks in an effort to break the other player’s defence. She made some progress with the sweep combinations she had been drilling in training but it was too little, too late as the clock wound down. As her first competitive fight since reconstructive shoulder surgery it’s deeply impressive to see her tenacity and level headedness under pressure.

Standout performances; each on their own merits, the team are looking strong going into the rest of the year. We look forward to hearing about they’re progress.

Kaizen Ryu Karate would like to thank the generosity of Sister Christine and Neighbours in Poplar for the loan of their minibus for the weekend which enabled competitors and supporters to travel to the competition. The club would also like to thank Canary Wharf Group PLC for their assistance in getting kit for the group which helps them compete.