Lancaster kick ass in the kumite but fall short in the kata

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With four points on offer in the karate, two for the kata and two for the kumite, the Red Rose hoped to dominate the competition on Roses Sunday.

The kata discipline does not incorporate any contact between the two competitors, instead the aim of the event is to perform a rehearsed routine focusing on technique for the judges, who will then vote to determine who was victorious. The kumite is the fighting, with both fighters wearing gum guards, gloves and foot protection. The aim is to hit the opponent, with a scoring system determining the victor. One point for hitting the adversary’s abdomen or head with your fists, two for a kick to the abdomen and three for kicking the opponents head (ippon). It was the best of three in both disciplines as each university put forward three competitors for each event.

After the ceremonious bowing, and talk with the adjudicators, the men were up first in the kata, with Peter Skinner, Francesco Quiliconi and club President Stuart McDonald competing first.  Sadly the tie was over after both Skinner and Quiliconi lost their routines to their York rivals. Although President McDonald did get Lancaster a consolation point, the men lost the men’s kata 1-2.

Up next were the women who would be the same team to compete in the kumite later on. Zoe Lambrou, Samantha Peng and Amy Valach formed the Lancaster women’s karate team and were vying to put Lancaster’s first kata points on the board.

However, the same result occurred in the women’s as Lambrou and Peng both lost their routines, only Valach, like McDonald, was able to get one over their York opposition. It was 1-2 in both kata events, meaning York would take both points heading in to the kumite.

The women went first in the kumite, as they went for revenge after losing the kata. Valach started as Lancaster meant to go on, opening a 6-0 lead over York in the first round, following some emphatic kicking. To give Lancaster victory, Lambrou headed onto the mat, starting well with a punch to the abdomen of her opponent, eventually holding out for the remaining seconds to give Lancaster their first points in the Karate. Leading 2-0 it was down to Peng to realise a whitewash in the women’s kumite. Unfortunately for her she struggled to deal with York’s attack, being beaten easily 0-8.

With one point already in the bag, it was down to Lancaster’s men to take the men’s kumite to share the points with York in the karate. Lancaster were evidently fighting back, with Adam Craggs up first in the last karate event of the day. Craggs performed incredibly well, preventing York from coming back in the bout on multiple occasions, he was able to manoeuvre himself well adding ippons at crucial times to take the first bout 9-5. Mike Baxter was up next hoping to replicate Craggs’ win. Baxter was able to quickly and efficiently turn a strong defence into a vicious attack, allowing him to take his bout 8-1. With the win confirmed, Nick Obradovic was the final bout in the karate knowing that Lancaster had already won the tie. That didn’t seem to phase Obradovic as he went out with the mentality of wanting nothing less than a win. Sure enough Obradovic secured a whitewash in the men’s kumite, thanks in part to two stinging head kicks, to take a comfortable 8-0 victory for Lancaster.

Despite losing in the kata, Lancaster’s men and women of the Karate club fought back impressively in the kumite to share the four points on offer equally with York’s karate combatants. Speaking to Craggs after the kumite, he told SCAN “It was all about rallying up after being down two points down, tops off a great year for the karate team, we really did beat them up.”

Chief referee, Richard Pavsic, told SCAN after the final bouts “It was an awesome tournament, I was very pleased with the competition”, the man in the middle also paid homage to the karate trainers who have trained the competitors to such a high standard.

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