Sunday 24th November 2013
Dojo HQ: 126 Whitby Street South, Hartlepool, TS24 7LP
The club recently organised a small club only competition exclusively for our beginners. We’ve done this a few times over recent years and it’s a great way to get people to try Karate competition for the first time. As usual in this event, we have our higher grade juniors and assistant instructors helping to judge. This is great because the beginners are more relaxed (rather than having a formal affair with judges in blazers etc…) and our up and coming instructors get some great experience – some of these will be starting to attend the English Karate Federation referee training in 2014 to qualify as national judges.
The club always has great support from parents and volunteers but at this competition we actually had more officials than competitors – definitely a first for the club! Thank you to the officials/volunteers and the parents and competitors who supported the event.
Sensei Amy was particularly impressed with some of the fighters at the competition with one or two being pre-selected for the Hartlepool squad launching next year. Full results can be downloaded here.
Sunday 13th October 2013 – Dojo HQ, 126 Whitby Street South, Hartlepool, TS24 7LP
Yesterday we held our first Karate competition at our new Dojo HQ. This was a Team Kumite (fighting) competition. The event was a low-key affair and only for our club – we wanted to see how our shiny new Dojo HQ would handle a lot of people in at once whilst also giving our students the chance to get some competitive ‘mat-time’.
All in all I’d say the event was successful, with 21 competitors – some of whom had never entered a Karate competition before!
The competition was open to all of our students, and we simply created the teams to try and make them as fair and balanced as possible using ‘9 years & under’, ’10 – 12 years’ and ’13 years +’ as the age splits. Each team was made up of at least one person from each age group and competitors only fought against opponents of the same age, just in a team format. Some teams had five fighters, and others just four. Those without a full compliment selected one of the 9 years & under fighters to compete twice (Fighter 4) each round. The breakdown was as follows:
Fighter 1 – 9 years & under
Fighter 2 – 10 – 12 years
Fighter 3 – 9 years & under
Fighter 4 – 9 years & under
Fighter 5 – 13 years & above
The event only had five teams so trophies were awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place only. 3rd place was fought for by the two teams who lost to the finalists (Team 1 & Team 3).
There were some great, very close matches with quite a few finishing as a tie. Some team matches went right down to the final seconds of the last fight to decide the outcome. It was good to see the teams working together and the different captains leading their teams in different ways, from a different warm-up, different team talk and different words of encouragement when their fighters were up. Well done.
Unfortunately, not everyone can win but a huge congratulations to those that did. The results are:
1st Place – Team 2 (Harvey, Tyler, Joe, Hannah)
2nd Place – Team 5 (Daniel, Esta, Diego, Oakley)
3rd Place – Team 1 (Conor, Will, Leyton, Olivia)
I’d like to thank Sensei Lynne, Michael, Amy and Beth, and Sempai Roy for helping me with the judging. And a big thanks to Sue for running the table on her own – a difficult job at the best of times, but perhaps more so for team events. Also a big thanks for the competitors, parents and cheer leaders for coming along and supporting the fighters and the club.
There are a number of competitions coming up over the next few months, including a planned club-only beginners championships next month, please speak to one of the instructors for more information.
The club has had a busy September 2013. We’ve relaunched our School P.E. Karate & After School sessions and added a lot of new classes to our weekly schedule. This month we have also held the biggest club grading we’ve ever had and attended a 3 day long JKF-Wadokai Master’s course.
The rest of the year is just as busy, with some great training and competition experiences to be had by our members.
Sunday 13th – Hartlepool Wadokai TEAM KUMITE CHAMPIONSHIPS (Team fighting)
This is a new event for the club. We’ll be putting together teams of 3 fighters for this exhibition event, one fighter 9 years & under; one from 10-12 years and one 13 years and over. This should make for an exciting, action packed day. £10 per person. Starts 1pm @ Dojo HQ (126 Whitby Street South, Hartlepool, TS24 7LP).
Sunday 19th – Darlington Competition
Details of this event were posted in the September newsletter.
Saturday 26th – English Karate Federation Kumite Referee Course, Luton
Thursday 31st – Hartlepool Wadokai Halloween Party
6-9pm, Tickets are £3 each or £10 for a family ticket. We’re having a bit of a disco, food, a best fancy dress costume & best carved pumpkin competition too. @ Dojo HQ (126 Whitby Street South, Hartlepool, TS24 7LP).
Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd – Sugasawa Sensei Course, Leeds
Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th – Sakagamai Sensei Course, Alfreton
Sunday 17th – Sensei Lee Minion Combat Course, Derby
Saturday 23rd – Hartlepool Wadokai First Aid Course
Saturday 23rd – Hartlepool Wadokai Training Course, 2-5pm Details TBC
Sunday 24th – Hartlepool Wadokai Beginner’s Championships
Saturday 7th & Sunday 8th – Hartlepool Wadokai Training & Grading Course
Saturday 14th – Hartlepool Wadokai End of Year Training Course & Kids Christmas Party
Saturday 21st – Hartlepool Wadokai Adult (14 years +) Christmas Meal & Social
Sunday 22nd – Hartlepool Wadokai Christmas break
14th July 2013
Every year we hold a club-only championship. Here are some of the photos of the event (reproduced with permission from the Codner family):
The event took place on one of the hottest days of the year and the judges were melting in their blazers but hey ho, the show must go on! There were some great performances in Kata and Kumite, with a great battle between Lewis & Joel in one of the final events of the day.
This year’s Hartlepool Wadokai Open Karate Championships will take place on Sunday 17th March 2013. Download the entry form here
Saturday 23rd June 2012 – Hartlepool College of Further Education
This was only our second ever competition exclusively for our beginners. The event was held to be a stepping stone to some of our bigger competitions that we now run annually and was designed to be a low key affair, with none of the bells and whistles that we usually have at our events. We didn’t want to intimidate our inexperienced competitors. The event was also used as a training opportunity for our cadets to get some judging practise in. They all worked hard throughout the day and we’d like to thank them once again for their efforts.
The event started at 11am with Sensei Amy putting all the competitors through their paces, going over the kata moves they would need during the day. Overall the competition was quite relaxed, and we took our time between categories so that the young competitors could get themselves ready. Before the Kumite (fighting) categories started, we had an exhibition match between two of our Wadokai England squad members, Lewis and Phil. And Chris gave a demo of the Kick Master Kumite too.
It was great to see some great potential in the young-lings, with some as young as five years old already moving around the mat like they own the place. I think the future is bright for our club.
KA1 – Kata, White Belts, White & Red Belts
1st – Harry Newbury
2nd – Alfie Ogden
3rd – Sarah Shears
3rd – AJ Murray
KA2 – Kata, Red Belts
1st – Connor Shepherd
2nd – Tyler Vaughan
3rd – Jacob Hodgson
3rd – Leyton Davis
KA3 – Kata, Yellow Belts, Orange Belts
1st – Oakley Lindridge
2nd – Khushru Khasimai
3rd – Jack Solomon
3rd – Joseph Flounders
KA4 – Kata, Seniors
1st – Chris Lindridge
2nd – Roy Salmons
KM1 – Kick Master Kumite,
White & Red Belts
1st – Joshua Martindale
2nd – Alfie Ogden
3rd – AJ Murray
3rd – Will Davidson
KM2 – Kick Master Kumite, Red Belts, Yellow Belts, Orange Belts
1st – Rebecca Caygill
2nd – Joseph Flounders
3rd – Leyton Davis
3rd – Khushru Khasimai
KU1 – Kumite, White Belts,
White & Red Belts
1st – Harry Nebury
2nd – Harvey Allicante
3rd – Sarah Shears
3rd – AJ Murray
KU2 – Kumite, Red Belts
1st – Callum Pedley
2nd – Connor Shepherd
3rd – Jacob Hodgson
3rd – Tyler Vaughan
KU3 – Kumite, Yellow Belts, Orange Belts
1st – Oakley Lindridge
2nd – Abby Laidler
3rd – Rebecca Caygill
3rd – Khushru Khasimai
I know that some of the kids were disappointed that they didn’t manage to get medals, or they didn’t get as far as they’d hoped, but sadly, not everyone can win. I personally think that you can learn just as much from losing as you can from winning, perhaps even more and I was sure to remind all the competitors of this before we let them go home.
Finally, I’d like to thank all of the parents and students for entering the competition (especially on the same weekend as a club grading!), and all of the club officials and volunteers who helped fetch and carry the equipment (the dedicated few!) and also the Hartlepool Sporting Association and Hartlepool College of Further Education for the use of a fantastic venue.
As part of our clubs high performance program we look at a lot of factors. These range from the athletes themselves: how old are they? Weight, height, bmi, current conditioning, current ability etc… and also what their goals are for the coming year. Are they realistic? Or are they wanting to be world champion by the end of next week?
From this we look at what they need to do themselves, and what we as instructors need to do to help them achieve their goals.
We’ve started this process this year already for our competitive athletes. Some have shown an interest in attending Wadokai England squad training sessions with the aim of being selected to the team that competes in Venice in November.
We’ve looked at which competitions we as a club will be attending this year, and which ones each competitor should be entering in order to gain the most experience. We’ll be sitting down with each of them over the next week or so and agree which events they will be attending, and how often they are going to train each week. The athletes, instructors and parents will then agree and sign a contract based on this commitment.
This might seem a little excessive and not all clubs will be this strict but we will be investing a lot of time effort (and money) into each of our elite athletes to help them achieve their goals so we want to make sure everyone knows what they’re signing up for before hand.
This brings me to the title of this post. Tortoise or Hare? A few of the instructors were talking about this the other day and it has stuck in my head.
Which is better?
Those students who peak early and achieve a lot of things very young (e.g. under 16yrs) but then tend to drop out of the sport altogether? (Hare group)
Those who don’t peak so fast and maybe don’t achieve as much in the same period of time but are in Karate for the long term? (Tortoise group)
I personally believe that the latter is better for the sport/martial art in the long term. It is from this group that our future instructors will come from, not the first group.
It would also be interesting to see why the majority of athletes from the first group don’t stay in the sport… but that’s for another time.
NOTE: this post has been written whilst on an exercise bike at the gym so their might be typos…
Referee’s (especially in sports like Football) are often slated for being biased and / or incompetent, and they are often not the most liked people in the world of sport. So why would anyone want to become one?
I’m going to start this post with a controversial (but in my opinion true) statement, ‘without Referee’s and Judges, Karate competition will cease to exist’. Some traditionalists would love nothing better but I personally believe that Karate competition gives more to the Martial Art/Sport than it takes away.
Judges and officials are often in short supply at competitions so it was great to see a small army of referee’s and judges at the 1st English Karate Federation Kyu Grade Championships in Sheffield last weekend. They covered the full range of qualification and experience levels from Novice to Association, National, European and no doubt International level. Their was also an army of table officials.
I may be wrong but I believe that I was one of the youngest judges their and if that’s the case then what does that indicate? I may feel old but chronologically I’m not yet ‘past it’. So why were there not more ahem… youngsters there? I don’t know how many judges/referee’s are qualified in England and I certainly don’t know the average age of them but I DO think this is something that really needs looking at.
If we don’t get more young people interested in refereeing and judging then at some point in the future we are going to run out of them. Full stop. By the way, the same argument can be made for Karate Instructors too!
So, what’s stopping people from signing up? effort? cost? time? other commitments? Lack of opportunity? image of referee’s & judges?
Without knowing what the barriers are we can’t expect to ‘fix’ the problem.
From my personal experience as a competitor and coach, I can say that I’ve had my share of good and bad decisions against me. I’ve also been on the receiving end of blatant cheating and incompetence by officials too. I think that for the most part I’ve managed to ‘take the hit’ and have always explained to my students (& parents) that referee’s are only human and mistakes/bad calls can and do happen.
Know the rules. If instructors don’t understand the competition rules, then it’s unlikely that their students will. So my first simple suggestion is that every instructor at the very least should know the up to date WKF Competition rules. Also if they are unwilling or unable to do so themselves, they should encourage someone from their club to attend referee training courses. This could be association, regional or even national level. every little helps!
Competition organisers also have a big part to play, it shouldn’t cost referee’s and judges to attend an event and volunteer all day. It can work out very expensive if you have to travel, pay for food and sometime even accommodation. Most competitions will turn at least a modest profit, and ‘judge expenses’ should be factored into the event costs. Even a token payment of (for example) £20 would be appreciated. At these rates you’d be looking at at least £800 for 40 judges to cover six areas (new rules, 1x referee, 4x judge, 1x match controller – per area!). This is a lot of money but remember, this is an investment in the future of the sport.
We need the best possible referee’s at as many competitions as possible. They need to be experienced enough to make decisions accurately, to only score points that are actually good enough to score. If they don’t, then athletes will think their sub-standard techniques are great and then get destroyed when attending an overseas competition!
Another issue is that athletes need to compete. This may seem like a silly point but it’s quite surprising when you look at some squads how little they actually compete. This isn’t a criticism, it’s merely an observation but even our own style’s national Team, Wadokai England has members who only compete at the Wadokai European Championships each year. Some don’t enter domestic competitions and if they do, they only enter the ‘small ones’ or the ‘Wado only’ ones. It’s often the ‘big fish in the little pond’ scenario. Athletes don’t like to enter the big or multi-style/open events because they think they won’t win (especially in Wado Kata), so they become insular and the standard stagnates. If there is poor attendance at events, competitions will lose money and will cease to run meaning less opportunities in Karate!
The excuse: ‘the judges don’t understand Wado Kata’ is often used by coaches and athletes to explain why they didn’t win at a particular competition. This may be true BUT if Wado athletes refuse to enter open competitions then how will they ever know what a ‘good Kata’ looks like? I know of a number of very good Wado clubs that actively enter the open circuit and do very well so I think it’s more down to performance standard than what style Kata a lot of time (but not all!).
Also, back to my first point… we need more referee’s and judges, so the Wado fraternity should invest more £££ in their respective in-house referee training programs. The graduates of these programs can then move onto national qualifications and thus help bolter the number of great Wado ref’s out there. The more good quality referee’s and judges out there the better and we all have our small parts to play. If you have 50 officials at a competition and only 1 or 2 are biased or inexperienced then that is great, if you’ve only got 10 officials at the same event then the bias and inexperience is going to be felt more.
- We need referee’s & Judges, they should be encouraged
- Instructors need to learn the rules & teach them to their students
- Competition organisers should pay expenses for all referee’s and judges
- Athletes need to enter competitions
I am NOT an expert in refereeing and judging and I don’t claim to be. These are my own observations from my limited experience of national-level judging and running a number of very successful championships. The post is by no means exhaustive and I’m sure people may disagree, comment below and we can continue the debate.
The next referee course is: Sunday 29th January in Barnsley, England.
We left Hartlepool two hours before dawn (approx 6am) on a very cold, wet and windy Sunday morning (22nd Jan). Ponds Forge in Sheffield was the venue of the 1st English Karate Federation Kyu Grade Karate Championships so, Sheffield was where we were heading!
Apart from being unable to find somewhere to park the mini-bus (gratefully borrowed from Hartlepool College of Further Education) the journey was uneventful. The competitors signed in and got changed, the parents tried to get comfortable on the seating and Lynne and Carl reported to the chief referee to find out where we would be working (Judging) all day. Amy (coach) then briefed the competitors and made sure they were ready for the day.
The day was pretty well organised and was done and dusted in about 9 hours, not bad for such a large entry! I think we could have easily shaved at least an hour off the day if it wasn’t for the usual time-wasting issues at competitions: kids not turning up when they’re supposed to, with incorrect equipment, occasional admin errors etc… but no competition is ever perfect.
This was the second time I’d helped judge at an EKF comp and a first for Lynne and we both thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it was like working in an oven – for 9 hours!!
The three competitors (Lewis, Phil, Bailey) that entered from our club did very well in Kata and Kumite despite the fact that this was the first EKF competition any of them had entered. We entered expecting zero medals, we just wanted to get some competitors on the mat as early as possible so that we had something to work on early in the season.
Results are as follows:
Phil Salmons: 3rd Place – Team Kumite, Boys 12-13yrs
Lewis Muldown: 3rd Place – Team Kumite, Boys 12-13yrs
Lewis Muldown: 3rd Place – Individual Kumite, Boys 12-13yrs -45kg
Bailey Reed: 3rd Place – Team Kumite, Boys 12-13yrs
Bailey Reed: 3rd Place – Individual Kata, Boys 12-13yrs
Bailey Reed: 2nd Place – Individual Kumite, Boys 12-13yrs +45kg
We got back to Hartlepool at about 9.30pm making it a mammoth 15.5 hour day and the longest ‘Karate day’ our trio of competitors have faced so far.
Key Learnings: The competitors need to work on keeping energy and hydration levels constant throughout the day by eating and drinking correctly to ensure peak performance.
Next Event: Wadokai England Squad Training, Saturday 28th January – Leicester; EKF Referee Training, Sunday 29th January, Barnsley
Summary: We were a little disappointed to only field 3 competitors at this event despite having a pretty big club, those that didn’t attend missed a great opportunity to get some time on the mats. There is still a lot of work to do with all three competitors in Kata & Kumite but each performed well and if they keep up the hard work and enthusiasm then the future should be bright for them.
SUN 22nd JANUARY – EKF Kyu Grade Championships, Sheffield (Selected students only)
SAT 4th FEBRUARY – Hartlepool Wadokai Junior/Beginner Club-Only Championships, Hartlepool (All members, grades TBC)
SUN 5th FEBRUARY – Wellbeck Invitational Championships, Loughborough (All members, 12-30yrs Kata; 13-30yrs Kumite)
SUN 4th MARCH – Chojinkai Children’s & Cadet’s Championships, Penrith (All members, 6-17yrs)
SUN 18th MARCH – Hartlepool Wadokai Inter-Club Karate Champonships, Brierton Sports Centre, Hartlepool (All members)
SAT 21st & SUN 22nd APRIL – EKF National Championships, Sheffield
SUN 13th MAY – Aiwakai National Invitational Championships, Alfreton
SUN 8th JULY – CEWKA Championships, Birmingham
SUN 19th AUGUST – South Yorkshire Championships
SUN 30th SEPTEMBER – Hon Yoso Kai Championships, Worcester
SUN 14th OCTOBER – Hartlepool Wadokai Club-Only Championships, Hartlepool
3rd & 4th NOV – Wadokai European Championships, Venice, Italy
SUN 18th NOVEMBER – Hartlepool Wadokai JUNIOR Inter-Club Championships, Hartlepool (All members, 5-18yrs)
In addition to the above dates, some other events might be added (e.g. British) depending upon squad commitment to training and ability. Competitors wanting to select for the Wadokai England Squad in 2012 should put ALL of the above dates into their diaries.
Those students ‘serious’ about competition should attend the weekly Squad Session (Wednesday 7-8pm).