On Saturday, 26th September 2009, BBMA held its first intramural tournament – a karate and kickboxing tournament for all students in all 3 dojo’s at Black Belt Martial Arts.
It was held at the Central Coast Grammar School at Erina Heights, and was a very long day, going from 7:30am until 6pm to cater for all ages, all divisions and all types of events – including kumite (point sparring), kata, synchronised kata, weapons kata, demonstration events, kickboxing forms, kickboxing continuous sparring and more.
I competed in three events: 4th-1st Kyu (Orange-Adv Brown) Kata, 4th-1st Kyu < 75kg Point Sparring, and Open < 75kg Point Sparring.
Considering my bruised and swollen thumb, and waking up with a rotten head cold, I had a great day out with 3rd in the Kata, 1st in my division point sparring, and 3rd in the open point sparring. I was most proud of my efforts in the Open Point Sparring, beating a 3rd Dan Black Belt in round 1, and Sensei Jason in round 3 to take out 3rd.
Continue reading to see images, videos and more commentary about my events, and the inaugural BBMA intramural tournament.
4th – 1st Kyu < 75kg Point Sparring
I was feeling fairly confident about this event – I was the highest ranked competitor in the division (2nd Kyu) and I’d prepared well through the previous tournaments and by working with Shihan Lliam in the sparring classes over the previous months. It also adds more pressure though too, as you’re then expected to win. I was probably more nervous for this event than the Open point sparring! 🙂
There were 8 competitors, and I got through the first 2 rounds fairly smoothly, taking them out 4-0 or 5-0 each. The final round (for 1st/2nd) against Glenn was a lot tougher, and Glenn hit me with some great techniques, including a nice kick to the back (which did score) and a reverse punch to the chest (that didn’t score), but I was able to sneak ahead and stay there, taking it out 5-2.
The 3 videos are below, in reverse order (playoff for 1/2 is first).
Open < 75kg Point Sparring
There were 8 competitors in this division, and my first round was against Marcin, the highest ranked student at BBMA – an 18yr old 3rd Dan Black Belt. I’d only ever free-sparred against him once before in class (over 6 months ago), so didn’t really know what to expect. I spoke to a few other black belts during the day, and the general consensus was that he was fast, had a long guard, was a great anticipator, with an excellent reverse punch and front kick.
My plan was to try and control the match more by not playing into the anticipation game – it was too risky to try and beat him for speed by trying to draw the reverse and counter with my own. It was a very close match, ending at 2-2 at the end of regular time, which meant we went into “golden point” – first to score wins.
Our first exchange was scrubbed with no clear point, but the next exchange I caught him off guard and scored with a quick triple ending with a reverse punch to the body to take the match 3-2. I was really pleased with how I fought.
My 2nd round was against my good friend Ray Jenkins. We’ve trained together a lot so know each others style quite well. At our last exchange earlier this year, Ray ended up with a bloody nose but won the fight 🙂 I was tempted to bring out the blood-soaked gloves to distract him 😉
I took an early lead, 2-1, after a few exchanges with reverse punches the order of the day. With time ticking down, Ray stepped it up a gear and scored with a quick kick to the back to lead 3-2. Down now, with time running out, I tried to push things and Ray scored twice with easy reverse punches to win 5-2.
It was a great match, very close early on but Ray really stepped it up in the final 30 seconds to take the win.
In the 3rd round, and playoff for 3rd place, I was up against Sensei Jason Knight. I had a much longer reach and was fairly confident with my ability to control distance. I got up early with a reverse and then a kick to the back, followed by another reverse. Sensei Jason scored late with a reverse but I took it out 4-1 to secure 3rd place.
I was really happy with how I sparred in this tournament. Things are starting to sink in a bit more and i’m feeling more comfortable every time. I still want to try more take-downs, but always forget to try them and don’t look for the opportunities in the heat of the match. That’s the next thing I want to focus on (though they’re not allowed in NAS events).
Ray went on to win the 1st/2nd place playoff, to go along with his win in the veterans division. So a great day out for Ray! Well done!
Tesshi Josh Marks won the > 75kg open division, with 3 brilliant kicks to the head to finish it 9-0. Unfortunately there was only the one match as the other potential competitors for that division had left early.
I performed Heian Godan as my Kata (as usual, heh) but made a couple of mistakes that I’ve never made when performing it in competition before 🙁 I was lucky enough (I guess) that the rest of my kata was ok and scored enough points to take out 3rd.
All in all, it was a very successful day – run and managed incredibly well thanks to the dedicated staff and all the volunteers at BBMA. They put in so much effort and so much of their own time to bring this event to the students and I hope all of the other students appreciated it as much as I did. I know how much work goes into organising an event (I’ve been organising IISAC for 4 years now), and their commitment to making this day a success really paid off.
The refereeing was first class! They used AKF rules, which meant you really had to score cleanly to score. It was nothing like NAS tournaments, where jabs to the stomach will score – it really had to be clean, retracted and purposeful to score and there were so many techniques that didn’t score that would’ve scored in NAS. It really made it so much better – the matches were more free flowing and there was much less chance of losing because of “unlucky” hits or bad calls. I had Shotokan Worlds competitor and friend of BBMA, Troy Chapman, as referee for most of my events, as well as Shihan Lliam for some. I was really impressed with the standard and take my hat off to them for a fantastic job.
There were really only a couple of “issues” or “improvements” I think they could make, and they’re both sort of related – but I don’t have any solutions either 🙂
It was a LONG day – longer for the staff and officials (who I sympathise with), but even for the competitors it was over 10 hours of competition – with a lot of that waiting around. The kids events HAD to be done first and early because kids wouldn’t be able to stay around all day and keep their attention span – but it meant that the “showcase” events (open (black belt) kata, open (black belt) point sparring) weren’t able to be held until the very last events of the day – because most of the competitors in the black belt events were also volunteers, officials and referees for all of the other events during the day.
It meant that there were hardly any spectators left to watch the “showcase” events, which is a bit of a shame because they really were excellent to watch – especially the open kata with Marcin performing absolutely brilliantly.
I’m not sure how it could be done any differently though, unless there were more non-competing officials available so the black belts could be freed up to compete in some showcase events earlier in the day.
Also due to the length of the day, a lot of competitors had to leave early. By 3 or 4pm, a lot of people had to go as it was clear their events were still an hour or two away. For some, that meant waiting around for over 6-7 hours, not competing in a single event, and then having to go home. I imagine that would be very frustrating for them, but again, i’m not sure how it could be done any differently. Tournaments rarely publish a running schedule, because it can change so frequently.
With so many competitors and so many divisions, even with 5 mats running, it just a long time to get through them all.
I can’t wait for next years event, and I hope it’s given some other students a taste of competitive tournament karate that spurs them on to enter other tournaments next year too. Thanks to the staff and volunteers at BBMA for putting on an amazing event.
Thanks for reading.