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Archive for May 13, 2012

Aiwakai Competition

We took a small squad of 16 junior competitors down to this Aiwakai competition, including a number of ‘first timers’. It was held at Alfreton Leisure Centre in Derbyshire on Sunday 13th May 2012. We are very grateful to Hartlepool College of Further Education and the Hartlepool Sporting Association for once again allowing us to use one of the mini buses (we had two booked but didn’t have a second driver due to work commitments).

We arrived with plenty of time to spare so the kids could get ready, warm up, eat a bunch of sweets and put their war paint on. It was almost time to ‘do the business’.

Sensei Lynne and Sensei Vince were judging all day, and Sensei Carl and Sensei Amy were coaching. (Sensei Michael was working so couldn’t be there).

The squad did very well, we brought back a bunch of medals (4 GOLD, 2 SILVER, 6 BRONZE) but more importantly the squad gelled together really well and supported each other throughout. I also owe Joe a MARS BAR (A chocolate snack bar) for winning a match 10-0, the only one of our squad that managed it (quite a few 9-1 etc… though).


It was a shame to see quite a lot of our competitors miss out by one flag, especially when they were being judged by less experienced judges. I understand, being one myself that all judges must ‘learn the trade’ and get some practise. However, this comp ran the new 2012 WKF rules, but without the full allocation of judges so the inexperienced judges were used throughout, even for medal positions (You now need 6 judges per area under the new rules). No competition is free of controversy surrounding some decisions and this event was no exception. But I think this just shows the importance of more people training up to become judges/refs and then getting to as many comps as possible to practise. I keep saying it but without ‘new blood’ coming into judging, Karate as a sport is dead.

Bad Carl

I need to give myself press ups as punishment. Let me explain. It’s one of my pet peaves when coaches raise their voices at officials, who are usually just trying their best but I had a moment today where I lost my cool as a coach. Its never acceptable behaviour. One of our Pee Wee (9 years & under) fighters was trying for a place in the final of his event. I had been coaching on another area but I did manage to catch the last minute of the fight, Amy was coaching him so I was sat on the sidelines. In the remaining match I caught four head kicks getting scored by the judging team, everyone of which made contact, this is 12 points worth!. Typically, a similar kick from our fighter got him penalised!

These kids were young and there should be zero contact to the face. Our young fighter ended up missing out on a deserved place in the final by just two points because of these bad calls and judges not  implementing the rules correctly. Thankfully he showed real courage to battle through repercharge to come away with a BRONZE medal for his trouble otherwise it could have really damped his enthusiasm (it was only his second ever non-club competition).

Comp Set up

As a competition organiser myself, I usually jot down notes at most external events I attend. This is sometimes done on a notepad but can just as often be done on a scrappy piece of  paper I find in my pocket (usually COSTA coffee receipts!). This way I can ‘continually improve’ myself as an organiser and improve the events we run. I typically make notes of things I liked/didn’t like about each particular comp. I also see if anything can be added to our own events to make them more successful. I recently ‘borrowed’ the Kick Master event from Tobi Ishi Kai & Wado UK who run  this successful event at their respective comps.

I personally wouldn’t have done certain things if this was my comp (Mixed teams? compulsory shin & instep for -16yrs inc. Pee Wee {You can’t get them small enough to fit them!}, and not compulsory for Seniors {who are likely to cause more injuries?} and most importantly, Repercharge for almost all categories, inc kids). Repercharge is one WKF rule I don’t like or agree with, if you lose, you lose. Simples. You shouldn’t get another shot at a medal just because you crashed out to a finalist in round 1. Just train harder and get better? I would have probably ran just 3 areas (instead of 4) and had a full complement of judges on these areas. I’d then have removed repercharge completely to make up for the time difference.

None of this should detract from what was a well ran comp (another great job Mairi, who always manages to run the event and still find the time & energy to compete in Kata, Kumite & Team!),  I also think the ‘Demo category’ might become a hit, and I might ‘borrow’ that idea for some of our own events.

I’ll try and get some pics posted too (I didn’t take my camera, so I’ll have to beg, steal and borrow some).

A massive well done to all of our competitors for today’s efforts, some great performances and we as coaches have got tons of things to work on. Thank you also to the support team who came along… made our job as coaches much easier!

Finally, well done to Rema who won the music quiz in my car… twice 🙂

Public Service Announcement – Wadokai England Squad Selections

We were confused to hear today that Wadokai England Squad Selections were to be taking place in five days time on Saturday 19th May. This is contrary to the date we were originally given at the start of the year.

It appears that this date has been changed for whatever reason, but it hasn’t been disseminated to the member clubs. At least four clubs didn’t know about the date change – including 2 Wadokai England Squad Coaches?

We understand that it is somewhat unprofessional to ‘hang your dirty washing out to dry’ in the public domain by raising concerns on the blog like this, but I feel forced to ask these questions in the public domain because we are still awaiting a reply from the Wadokai England Committee to a letter that we sent on 20th February 2012 (a staggering 84 days ago!). The letter asked a lot of questions and sadly not one of them have been answered. Hopefully this will prompt a response from the ‘powers that be’.

Also, I have been banned from emailing the Aiwakai Chairman or the Wadokai England Committee or coaches directly. This is despite the fact that I am CEO of Hartlepool Wadokai, the longest standing Wadokai England Squad Member, and it is my job to manage all aspects of the club. I’m also a nationally qualified judge, and have a degree in Sports Coaching so I’d like to think I know what I’m talking about.

How else can I get answers?

Why wasn’t the date change emailed out to squad members? I understand that this new date has been posted on Facebook and the Wadokai website but unless you actually check these regularly, you wouldn’t know. Also, there is no mention of the May date changing on either. It simply lists the dates so unless you were specifically looking for changes, it would be easy to miss.There were also no squad training sessions listed in the latest edition of the Aiwakai newsletter for May, there was for April & June though? and no mention of Selections at all anywhere.

We are not the only club to have been in the dark with this date change either, the issue was originally raised by one of the new Junior squad coaches? because like I say, we didn’t even realise there had been a date change. One of the Senior Squad Coaches also didn’t know the date had been changed?

I can’t understand why once again we have been left out of the loop and not kept fully informed. This is unacceptable and the cynical side of me thinks it’s either through deliberate actions or mismanagement, either way I have serious doubts about the Wadokai England management team being able to do what is required to run the squad effectively.

We are now in a position where we have made no transport arrangements, we have no drivers and the kids have 5 days notice to get ready for selections. This is entirely unfair and unreasonable.

I would like written confirmation of the date, time and venue of the squad selections before we make arrangements to travel anywhere.

We are not happy about this at all.