Kyodo Shuho had a very successful day at the Australian Martial Arts Championships ACT Round 1 tournament on Sunday, 12th of April, 2015 with all competitors placing.

The day started with the demonstration event which had 2 teams from another Karate style in Gowrie doing team kata, which excited us as something we will definitely be looking at competing in when the next tournament arrives.

Kieran and Casey’s divisions ran simultaneously with Casey’s division being the biggest of the day with 10 competitors. Kieran performed a very strong Pinan Nidan which impressed the judges and earnt him 2nd place, beating out black belt katas! Casey’s Pinan Nidan looked confident and well practiced and even though she was up against some strong competition she managed to walk away with a 4th place medal for kata.

Both Kieran and Casey then had their sparring events. Kieran fought well against some strong Hapkido black belts to win 3rd place in points sparring. Casey fought time after time after time and received many shots to the head but bounced back gallantly to secure 2nd place in points sparring and 2nd place in freestyle sparring. She then got called back up hours later for a ‘demonstration’ freestyle event with 3 other kids her age and scored another medal for 3rd place!

Chris then competed in his first event, the Adults Beginner/Intermediate points and freestyle sparring and blew his opponents away to win 1st place in both events. He would later back that up in the Adult Advanced/Black Belt division and rose to the occasion to win 1st place in points sparring and 3rd place in freestyle sparring against some experienced black belts from Kung Fu, Taekwondo and Karate.

Next up the Adults Advanced/Black Belt/Veterans Female division was called up an hour early for their points and freestyle sparring events. We had 3 competitors in these events, Caroline, Kate and Mel. Kate and Caroline carved up their opponents in the first round which unfortunately led to a second round match between Mel and Kate. Friends became competitors as they delivered reverse punch after reverse punch at each other with Kate throwing the occasional front kick and Mel trying to land a round kick. Kate’s tenacity kept the score close till the end with Mel just edging out to take the win. This meant that Mel met Caroline in the 1st and 2nd place match. An exciting and close fight as always with some awesome moments where neither could score due to the familiarity with each other’s fighting styles! A head, stomach combination by Mel towards the final moments of the fight, which scored 2 points was helpful in securing the win. Pretty awesome in the end with the Kyodo Shuho chicks taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd in points sparring.

The freestyle sparring was a new type of event for the Kyodo Shuho competitors and Kate really showed heart in this event fighting a 16 year old black belt and beating her then coming up against Caroline then after losing to Caroline, she had to fight Mel for 3rd and 4th. After fighting the full 90 seconds the judges were undecided so the fight was extended for another 60 seconds. Towards the end of this extension Kate threw a front kick which was blocked by Mel’s elbow and unfortunately broke 2 of her toes. She showed great courage to keep it together in the face of an obviously serious injury. Congratulations Kate for not only showing amazing persistence during the events but also in the moments after injury. We all wish you a smooth and speedy recovery. Caroline met up with last year’s champion and Australian Team member, Amanda Cass from Cowra and fought hard against the Muay Thai fighter, narrowly losing. Still an awesome effort and 2nd (Caroline), 3rd due to Kate not being able to continue (Mel) and 4th (Kate) for the freestyle event.

Up next was Heather and Miles competing in the 11-12 year old mixed division which included brown belts. They both did amazing, placing in all of their events; 2nd (Miles) and 3rd (Heather) in kata with very strong Pinan Nidans; 2nd (Heather) and 4th (Miles) in points sparring and 3rd (Miles) and 4th (Heather) in freestyle sparring. Both of them took quite hard hits in this division from bigger kids and were able to keep it together and continue fighting. Was great to see the courage of these young warriors.

Overall we all had a great time meeting people from different styles and starting up new friendships while also igniting a passion for competing. We look forward to seeing you all improve over the next few months towards the next tournament in August and hopefully our cohort will be double, if not triple the size of this one. The feel of the tournament was that all the different styles appreciated each other’s strengths and enjoyed watching the variety of forms and fighting styles. It was great seeing our students compete with integrity and good sportsmanship, congratulating others on their successes and making new friends.