It has been well over a year since the last face to face karate competition was held as the country was left at a standstill during lockdown and it doesn’t seem likely that any competitions will be held anytime soon. Virtual competitions had grown in popularity every since and TKF had previously held small virtual competitions last year. This time however, saw TKFs busiest virtual competition entry with nearly 50 competitors entering the TKF Virtual Competition.

Between the dates Monday 8th March and Saturday 13th March, the competition had opened and students were able to send in their entries for their respective categories. For kata, it was a simple case of performing a kata whereas for kumite, it was very closely linked to the Kickmaster event which is held at normal TKF competitions. 20 seconds to show off their kumite skills with a range of punches, kicks and combinations either against an invisible opponent, a punch bag or against a very unlucky parent!

Students of all ages and grades sent in their entries and TKF were pleased to welcome an external club to our small plucky virtual competition. Ipswich Karate Academy had shown interest in entering the competition and spice up the competition between all the competitors. There were a wide range of performances with some located in their living room, having to shuffle around to make sure they could fit the kata in. Some braved the cold and went bare feet in the back garden to find any means of space they could. Others whacked their gi on and headed to their local park with onlookers spectating whilst they performed their kata or kumite.

After the deadline, the performances were then judged based on the criteria that is usually followed at competitions. The technical aspect being the main judging point so clear stances, good posture and overall good finishing moves of each technique. The speed, strength and athleticism came after and together gave an overall score. An ideal competitor would be able to perform with the correct technique but also be able to move with speed between each move and generate enough power when finishing each technique. This criteria was used for the kata and kumite performances with the kumite also being judged on the efficiency of the combinations. It wasn’t just about the number of techniques performed but about how well they were executed whilst also bearing in mind the technical aspects of the attacks.

Once all the videos had been marked and judged the finalists for each event were announced with some tough, exciting competition in the finals. The junior lower grade kata saw TKFs Zoey Kaczor and Alfie Palmer reach the final along with Ipswich Karate Academy’s Azoulas Dapkas and Percy Orriss joining them for the medal bouts. The junior higher grade kata saw Katie Middleton and Olly Howell Hoye of TKF in the final along with Louie Fayik from IKA. The adult kata category was to be exiting with Ellie Rose Fyfe, Freddie Grice and Ed Copsey competing for the top spot. Several kata finalists were able to gain a place in their kumite finals with Ruby Mills joining Zoey and Olly in the junior final and Matt Rider joining Freddie and Ellie in the adult category respectively. The kata finals were an entertaining and tough finals with the lower grades showing some brilliant technical aspects whilst performing their chosen katas. Some opt for heian katas when others risked a slightly higher grade kata to try and boost their chances of a medal. The higher grades and adults saw a higher grade range of katas being performed such as Kanku Sho which involves a couple of technical jumps which when performed well can make a good score, others such as Gankaku which mainly involves a lot of balance and Gojushiho Sho, a very technical kata with speedy turns. In the kumite finals, every competitor had to up their game and display a good range of technical ability as well as attacks that, if used in a real kumite bout, would prove successful and gain valuable points. The junior kumite was a close call with each competitor being fairly experienced and having trained with the TKF Squad, they showed some good ideas of techniques being executed. The adult category proved to be an exciting show with all the competitors showing a true level of grit as they fought their way through the 20 seconds to try and show their skill with some flamboyant kicks being thrown into the fray followed by some serious attacking combinations.

Finally, the results were in and what a way to wrap up the virtual competition! The busiest TKF virtual competition to date and even more so, a pleasure to welcome an external club to add some more competition! Impressed would be an understatement seeing so many students putting their name forward and showing that even lockdown won’t stop a very determined bunch of karate students from doing what they do best… kicking butt! Until next time… which will hopefully be a face to face competition!

You can see the results from the Virtual Competition Below;