On Saturday 5th May, members and their supporters from Chelmsford Karate Club travelled to the City of Leicester for the Karate Union of Great Britain’s (KUGB) 52nd National Championship at the Morningside Arena.
Our Team just before the start of the 52nd KUGB National Championships at the Morningside Arena, Leicester
The KUGB is the largest single style Karate organization in the UK and this prestigious tournament is one of the most significant events in their annual calendar. With inexperienced athletes competing for the first time, right through to seasoned ‘world class’ competitors, the standard of karate on display was of the highest quality.
Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones (left) and Sensei Richard Kheder (right) in their roles as KUGB Referees
Eliminations began at 10am and there were some exceptional performances from the Chelmsford competitors as they battled their way through the rounds. Many reached the quarter and semi finals and were unlucky to progress further. However, Chelmsford have a long tradition of competing successfully at British National level and this year was no exception.
In the finals, Mia Hillsden, in her last year of Under16 competition, won the Black Belt Kata (set moves) with team mate Alex Lockett taking Bronze.
In the Children’s Team Kata, the trio of Mia Hillsden, Alex Lockett and Nick Nelson, as a newly formed team, did exceptionally well to reach the finals and performed an excellent Kata (Empi) to take the Bronze.
Mia also took Silver in the Girls Over 5'3" Kumite after fighting strongly all day.
In the Adult categories we were once again on the podium with our strong Female Team Kumite of Kelly Hodkinson, Emma Burke, Lisa Ironman and Rachel Cohen losing in the semis to 12 time winners, Halewood.
In the Male Individual Kata, Jack Somers, took first place for the 3rd time.
Standing : Female Team Kumite (l-r) Lisa Ironman, Emma Burke, Kelly Hodkinson, Rachel Cohen.]. Kneeling (l-r) Nick Nelson, Mia Hillsden, Alex Lockett
Each year a series of special trophies are given to outstanding competitors. This year, the aptly named “Charles Naylor Trophy for the Most Outstanding Competitor Under 16” went to Chelmsford’s Mia Hillsden.
In addition, as the KUGB were celebrating their 52nd year since being formed in 1966 there were a number of special presentations made to Long Standing Members of the KUGB. Sensei Andy Sherry (9th Dan) KUGB Chairman and Chief Instructor presented Sensei Jane Naylor-Jones with her fifty year certificate. Jane, as one of the first children to practice Karate in the country alongside her brother, Mark, started training when her parents first moved to Chelmsford and started the club in 1967.
Sensei Jane Naylor-Jones honoured for 50 years with the KUGB
Reflecting on the day’s events, Sensei Jane Naylor-Jones said “It takes a lot of courage to enter the KUGB National Championships where there are many experienced and International Competitors all aiming to perform to their best so I am always very proud to see one of our young Shotokan Tigers crowned National Champion and our medal winners on the podium.
I was very proud to receive my LSM award from Sensei Andy Sherry but this would not have been possible had my parents, Charles and Dot Naylor, not been such pioneers in the early days of Shotokan Karate in the UK, allowing women and children to practice alongside adult men. I’m also very proud to my father’s Trophy has come back to Chelmsford via Mia Hillsden.”
Medals and Trophies aplenty in the Dojo