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Warming up, it was evident that the Lancaster team were raring and ready to go. Unfortunately, the adjudicator informed the head of the society, Francescio Quiliconi, that the York team had failed to provide sufficient numbers to form a team, meaning Lancaster had automatically won the Roses event! Of course, the competition was not over; internal friendlies still went on, and one representative of York remained in the fray!
The event began with the obligatory bow of respect to both the adjudicator and to the spirit of karate itself. Competitions began with the individual mixed kata, kata being a move set performed and judged based upon technique and precision. The first sortie began, with Lancaster’s Will Macluskie and black belt Max from York competing. Max came out on top in a brilliant display of technique! Adam and Kelly Chi of Lancaster both went head to head, with the adjudicator giving Adam the victory. Clerin Joseph and Kareema Lawal, both orange belts came next, competing for the best display of Heian Shodan, with Joseph coming out on top. Following, was Quiliconi’s Bassai Dai against Charlie Pepper, in which Pepper finished off the first round, resulting in him, Joseph and Max going on into the second round.
Things got more heated, as the four competitors challenged their technique to gain a place in the final, with two more displays of kata following suit, narrowing the finalists down to Pepper of Lancaster against Max of York.
The match became tense, as the room fell into a much deeper silence, everyone awed by the two black belts working their charm. Each karateka weaved and demonstrated fantastic katas and it seemed close, until the unanimous decision was made to award Pepper the win! All participants displayed fantastic humility and sportsmanship; a testament to the participants and the principles of karate!
Things became more energetic however, as the mixed individual kumite (sparring) began, with previous karateka reprising their role in the dojo. The kumite was split into two categories based on ability, and the sparring began, punctuated by fierce displays! Lawal and Joseph sparred first in five step, the fight being one of technical standard. Joseph clinched the win, though both fighters demonstrated great poise! Aimee Wiggins went against Macluskie in freestyle combat and won 6-1, scoring many body and head strikes!
Next, the two most experienced fighters Adam and Pepper went head to head, in what can only be described as a fight that transfixed the room. Many years of knowledge and experience were clearly present, as both fighters seemed matched. Pepper later struck, leaving the final result at 6-0.
Lastly, to finish off the first round was Aya Kishimoto against Chi, with the two making sparks, impressive given the two minute time limit! It was another match that held the attention of everyone in the room, with the hard work finally rewarding Kishimoto with the win, although it was a close match.
The second round kicked things off, with Wiggins and Chi sparring, to a flourished win on the part of Wiggins! Macluskie then fought against Chi, fresh from her previous spar. It was a challenge, and Chi won with a well-deserved 6-0, earned through multiple successful punches and an amazing kicking strike!
The final began, with Wiggins fighting against Kishimoto, to a brilliant bout that had everyone inching ever closer to the edges of the dojo mat! The two showed great tenacity, and a brilliant demonstration of skill, but ultimately, Kishimoto came out on top with a score of 6-1, concluding a brilliant day of karate, and a win not only for Lancaster, but for the spectators who witnessed a dignified, refined display of a beautiful martial art. Hopefully next year, York will be able to formulate a full team to compete (however, participant Max did his University proud, getting into the finals of the mixed individual kata). Sensei Richard Pavsic, 6th Dan, congratulated the team, and said that he “was pleased with the improvements in the Lancaster team”.