TKF would have seen one of its annual club competitions being held on Sunday 2nd August, but due to obvious reasons, TKF had no choice but to cancel this event. But instead, TKF held a Virtual Competition in its place and invited all members to enter by simply sending in their video entries. This was following TKFs previous virtual kata competition which was held at the start of lockdown which this competition introducing a kumite event. Once entries were received, the TKF coaches would score the competitors performances based on a competition criteria which includes technical ability and athleticism. Once this was complete, scores would be added up and results announced.
On Tuesday 28th July, TKF announced to its members that a Virtual Competition would be held which would replace the recently cancelled club competition originally meant to be held on Sunday 2nd August. Over the course of the week TKF members, which included both squad members and non squad members, sent in their video entries for the TKF coaches to critic. Some opt for just kata, some kumite and others entered for both kata and kumite. There would be different categories for kata and kumite with kata being split into three, Junior lower grade (white to purple and white), Junior higher grade (brown belt and above), and Adults (all grades). Kumite would be split between Juniors and Adults. With the deadline being Tuesday 4th August, the entries started to come in and the competition was heating up.
Once all the entries had been accounted for, it was time for the TKF coaches to assess and critic the categories. First up was the junior lower grade category, with several youngsters trying their hand in competition kata for the first time. Placing first was green belt, Zoey Kaczor who performed a very strong and confident Heian Sandan. Following Zoey in second place, young Gabriel Magkrachi, who also performed a very strong Heian Sandan. Both Zoey and Gabriel also competed in the virtual kata competition earlier in lockdown and it was pleasing to see they had improved throughout the course of lockdown. Finally in third place, his first experience of competition kata, red belt Alfie Palmer managed to bravely perform his current grade kata Heian Nidan. Other entrants included Ruby Mills who just missed out after braving a more advanced kata, Empi. Normally, at competitions, its not always about who performs the most advanced kata or their most current kata.
Kata can be tactical in a way that you attempt to perform a kata which you can perform with the best technical ability to gain higher points. This is when we come to the higher grade category where more advanced katas are usually performed. With the likes of more advanced katas like Bassai Dai, Empi and Gojushiho Sho are performed. The outcome in this category saw Dylan Harvey take gold after performing a very good technical Gojushiho Sho which is a Dan grade kata and is a very popular kata in the competition circuit. Dylan attempted this kata after only recently learning the kata a few months ago. Not far behind in second and third place, both performing the popular Dan Grade kata Empi, was Olly Howell-Hoye in 2nd place and Ed Copsey in 3rd place. Both Olly and Ed had performed the kata well and even managed to nail the signature jump at the end of the kata. Just missing out on medal places were Katie Middleton who performed a high level kata called Gankaku, which involves displaying a lot of balance throughout the kata. Competitions can be cruel because even the slightest loss of balance can affect your score at the end of the round. Also, a big well done to Chloe Ladbrooke who attempted a good Bassai Dai against other squad members. Chloe was the only one in this category who wasn’t part of the TKF Squad but was still able to show that even squad members need to be checking over their shoulder.
In the last kata category, the adults had to follow up from some brilliant performances held by the junior categories, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Taking the bronze medal was TKF competitor Doug Middleton who performed the kata, Chinte. Chinte is a very traditional kata and is covered by many senior karate instructors with plenty of technical aspects that you don’t see in any other katas. Taking silver medal was Matt Rider who, having only joined TKF last year and passed his yellow belt during the TKF lockdown, managed to perform Heian Nidan from his living room. TKF made sure not to penalise any competitors if lack of space was an issue. Matt performed very well for his first outing in a TKF competition. Taking gold was Sammie Howlett who managed to perform another popular Dan Grade kata, Jion. Sammie just missed out on a medal place during the virtual kata competition earlier this year but was able to come back better and more improved this time round.
Once the kata categories had successfully been judged, it was time for the kumite. Obviously this would have to be done differently as none of the competitors could actually spar against each other so TKF had to improvise. It was simple; 30 seconds, shadow sparring, show a good variation of attacks (loosely translates to; lots of fancy moves) and don’t fall over! Basically it was similar to the popular Kick Master event where students had to show off their kumite skills against a punch bag within a time limit. Placing first was Indy Sly after showing terrific number of combinations against a punch bag which can only be described as the poor dad, Richard, wrapped in a yoga mat and a helmet receiving shots from all angles! In second place, showing a good number of combinations which involved a series of punches, kicks and sweeps was Olly Howell-Hoye. Olly managed to secure his second silver medal of the competition with his excellent performance. Snatching the bronze was Ruby who showed great awareness and movement whilst executing a good variation of attacks and showing defensive awareness throughout the 30 seconds. Placing 4th and 5th respectively was Zoey Kaczor and Gabriel Magkrachi who showed brilliant attitude and fighting spirit especially at a young age. They were up against some experienced fighters but can be especially proud of their kata performances.
Matt Rider was able to secure the gold medal in the adult kumite category after showing a good variation of attacks and movement despite shadow sparring in his own living room. Being cautious not to break anything or kick the TV, Matt not only managed to come away with the gold medal but with some valuable feedback from the coaches which will certainly help in future against a real opponent.
It is always fantastic to see members eager to put their names forward and want to compete. We can only hope that once things return to normal that these competitors will continue to come forward and compete at a real, live TKF competition.