On Saturday and Sunday five members of Chelmsford Karate Club attended KUGB England Squad Selection in Liverpool.
The first day was Kata Selection and took place at the infamous Red Triangle Dojo under the KUGB's Chief Instructor Sensei Andy Sherry (9th Dan). All those who wanted to be part of the Squad, including World and European Champions had to under go the test of performing Kata's chosen by Sensei Sherry. World Champions Mia Hillsden and Jack Somers were reselected whilst Alex who has just turned 13 years old in January (the minimum age for England Selection) was selected for the first time.
Those who were selected then took part in a 4 hour training session under the watchful eye of Sensei Sherry.
The next day at the Toxteth Firefit Hub in Liverpool, England Kumite Squad Selection took place. Sensei Sherry was joined by Sensei Frank Brennan (8th Dan) to assess the candidates. Once again, the standard of the Squad is world class, literally as KUGB England are the current Senior Team World Champions in both Male and Female Kumite.
First up was Emma Burke (current Southern Region Female Kumite Champion) who fought well to gain reselection onto the Senior Kumite Squad. Next, was Mia Hillsden (British Kata and Kumite Champion) who demonstrated her class against her opponent to be reselected for Junior Kumite Squad for the fourth successive time. They were then followed by Nick Nelson and Alex Lockett who were both trying out for their first time. Nick, aged 15, who medalled at Regional and National level in 2018, showed great fighting spirit to win his place on the Squad. Alex, who just turned 13, and is the current British Kumite Champion, showed maturity beyond his years to fight strongly against a bigger opponent. Following their selection the four then took part in a demanding Kumite session under Sensei Sherry and Sensei Brennan.
All five students were supported by Sensei Jane and Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones who were in the enviable position of being able to watch the selection as they help administer the process which takes place behind closed doors.
Sensei Jane, former British and England Team member said "I'm very proud that all five were selected. Prior to Christmas, with selection in mind, it was important that they maintained their training regime and then, on 3rd January, they were back into full training to ensure they were fully prepared for the test ahead. Selection to the England Squad is not automatic and there were many candidates who were disappointed on the day as they did not make the grade. I am especially proud of Alex and Nick who have been selected for the first time and will now join the long list of Chelmsford students who have been selected for the National Squad. Now they have been selected the hard work begins as 2019 is a special year as there will be the WSKA World Championships in Portugal and the ESKA European Championships in Spain."
Photo: Chelmsford's KUGB England Squad members 2019 (L-R) Mia Hillsden, Alex Lockett, Sensei Andy Sherry, Sensei Frank Brennan, Nick Nelson & Emma Burke (missing Jack Somers)