Last weekend saw a large number of young athletes from Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) Clubs from across the South east of England enter the Shotokan Tigers Competition held at the William De Ferrers Leisure Centre in South Woodham Ferrers.
The tournament is for children aged 4 to 15 years old (White belt to Black belt) allowing those competing for the first time to watch, learn and compete alongside more experienced competitors, many of whom have gone on to compete successfully at National level, including members of the KUGB England Squad for 2019.
This ‘grass roots’ competition has provided a platform for youngsters to develop and go onto perform on a world stage – including Chelmsford’s most recent World Champion Mia Hillsden.
The competition began with an opening ceremony with all the Competitors lining up to take a bow in front of the enthusiastic and supportive spectators. This certainly helped to relax the youngsters knowing that the crowd would be cheering them on throughout the competition.
The day began with the Elimination rounds for both Kata (set forms) and Kumite (sparring) and setting the standard for the day, the Black and Brown Belt Categories went first. The level of Karate performances on display were superb and it was evident that all the competitors had been training hard to prepare. Next followed by the categories for the lower Grades. Throughout the day there were some great matches demonstrating the passion and desire by the young, enthusiastic athletes to reach the Finals.
The Finals were opened by Sensei Jane Naylor-Jones (5th Dan). In December, Sensei Jane was crowned ‘Coach of the Year’ by Active Essex and she was commended for her work not only with elite athletes but also in encouraging children to get involved in Karate over many years. Jane highlighted that nationally it was Children’s Mental Health Week and that today’s competition was a great example of how KUGB Clubs across the South East can get children to be active and support them to be both healthy inside and out.
It was great to see so many Chelmsford Karate Club students through to the Finals. Throughout the different categories Chelmsford were strongly represented and were outstanding winning 3 titles. In total the Club won 3 Golds, 3 Silvers and 8 Bronze medals. This included all of the Senior events, including the Black and Brown Belt Team Kata event, a title they have now retained for six years.
Sensei Richard Naylor-Jones (5th Dan), who is the KUGB’s National Disability and also an Active Essex All Together Ambassador for Disability Sport, explained that the KUGB’s chosen Annual Charity for 2018/2019 was The Transplant Association and a raffle was held to raise money for them. Richard explained that “Karate is a martial art that has positive benefits for both physical and mental health. Karate is inclusive and it is great to see the number of people with disabilities and medical conditions getting active in Karate including some competitors here today”. He then invited 8-year-old Cillian Whyte, a Brown belt with Chelmsford Karate Club, who has had major heart surgery, to draw the winning tickets. Cillian, who was highly commended at last year’s Pride of Essex Awards had competed during the day and was pleased to be asked to draw the winning ticket.
At the end of the exciting Finals there was a Ceremony where the young finalists were presented with their medals by our Special Guest Councillor Bob Massey alongside our Sponsors and Senior Coaches.
We would like to thank everyone who competed and supported this event – especially our Sponsors: Church and Hawes, Finishing Touches, Kamae Martial Arts Equipment, KIAI Karate Inclusive Academy, Oddfellows Arms, Regashi Karate Academy, Senshuken SKC and Stock SKC.
We have received a lot of positive feedback from everyone who attended who enjoyed the competition and friendly atmosphere and Chelmsford Karate Club are look forward to hosting this event in South Woodham Ferrers again later this year.