Hartlepool Wadokai Invitational Championships Sunday 20th March 2011

Sunday 20th March saw the Khalsa Champions squad of five, along with Coach Paul Abel, travel the four and a half hour long journey to Hartlepool to compete at the Hartlepool Wadokai Invitational Championships. Our squad competing this weekend consisted of Adrian Moyo, Patrick McDonaugh, Sophie Santillo and twin brothers Cuba and Bleu Parris.

On arrival it was noted that this was a very popular competition with lots of participants and large groups in the majority of the categories. Across the board was a good ratio of novices, experienced competitors and England A squad members which formed the basis of a very successful and well run tournament. It was also offering all of its spectator fees to Sports Relief and they also had a raffle and donation facilities for the very untimely and devastating Japanese Tsunami Appeal. So it really was a tournament worth supporting for those reasons alone.

At around 10am we saw the competition start to take shape with the Kata Categories. The Kata categories were based on the way that the Japanese hold tournaments and many of their practices and rules had been applied. One of these rules for Bleu Parris, who was our sole Kata competitor, was that in the first round you had to perform a Pinan kata. Bleu was competing in the 10-12yr Mixed 3rd Kyu and above category and decided upon Pinan Godan as his opening Kata. The mat was also operated on a system of two competitors at a time on the mat performing their katas, again another Japanese way that they use in their tournaments.

As usual Bleu stepped on to the mat and precisely executed his kata he received the majority vote from the referees with a secure 2-1 win. In his second round he was allowed to choose any Kata to perform of his choice, but with no repetition. Bleu opted for Bassai Dai. A good choice and a 3-0 win. In his third round he decided to perform Seinchin and his sharp techniques and power saw him secure another 3-0 win to take him through to the semi finals.

His semi final performance was again remarkably controlled and his rendition of Unshu saw all three flags raise in his favour. In the final Bleu performed Annan which again showed his ability for this form and won with a 2-1 result. Khalsa Champions received their first Gold of the day-Well done Bleu you continue to shine.

It was then time for the Kumite events to commence and we certainly did start as we meant to go on today. The organizers were running four areas and all at the same time Cuba, Bleu, Sophie and Patrick had their individual categories called all at once! Coach Paul Abel was running from one mat to the next wanting to support and help the squad at every available opportunity. Both Cuba and Bleu Parris were in the 10-12yr Boys Individual kumite categories but in different weights-Cuba minus 45kg and Bleu plus 45kg. Bleu started his opening round nicely with a clear 8-0 win and with 34 seconds left on the clock! On Cubas' area he too achieved a good start with a 3-0 lead and with his opponent not wanting to continue the fight. After that Cuba gained 7-1 second round,7-1 third round and this led him to the semi finals where he again left his opponent not wanting to continue on the mat with a 6-0 win. Cuba reached the finals with a margin of 5-1 to win our second Gold of the day-Well done Cuba your lightening speed and ability continues to grow.

Bleu also breezed through his next rounds with ease gaining 4-0 second round, 5-2 in the semi finals and a great score of 7-3 in the final to take his second Gold of the day! Well done boys, amazing results.

Our attention was then turned to Patrick Mc Donaugh who was competing in the 16-17yr under 60kg category. Patrick has just recently come back to the competition circuit after an absence on the mats and after receiving a bye in the first round he went on to secure a fantastic score in the semi final of 9-2. He ended up in the final but his opponent was definitely the aggressor in this fight and Patrick had to settle for the Silver medal after a 4-1 loss. Well fought Patrick, a well deserved medal!

We then had Sophie Santillo, England A Squad member, fighting in the Girls 16-17yr open weight group. Sophie who is soon to be sixteen wanted to get a feel for her soon to be new age group and got off to a good start with a strong 8-0 win and with a minute left on the clock!! Her second round proved no different with a brilliant 9-0 win. She approached the semis easily where she came up against a fellow England A Squad member. Unfortunately for Sophie she could not get those points back in order to get to the final and ended up losing with a score of 8-5 against. This gave Sophie a Bronze for her efforts and still with another category to go she did not let this dampen her spirit.

It was then Adrian Moyos' turn to step onto the mats, again like Patrick, Adrian hasn't been competing on the circuit for quite sometime and today he was ready to see just what he could do. Adrian was in the 16-17yr over 60kg category and in his first round certainly looked the sharper and more dominant fighter, he got his points and won with a 4-1 score. Adrian then received a bye in the next round which took him straight through to the semi finals. This was a very tense fight and it ended in a 0-0 draw, which then led to extra time. It still ended 0-0 and it was up to the referees to decide upon the aggressor in this fight. It was a unanimous decision in favour of Adrian and this was the fairest decision as Adrian continually attacked throughout. Adrian entered the final feeling confident and threw some great techniques and despite his perseverance and effort he had to settle for a 3-1 loss which gained him a Silver medal. Well done Adrian, a brilliant result for only your second competition this year!

The last of our individual categories ended with Sophie Santillo who had entered two categories. The category this time was her own age group Girls 13-15yr open weight. Having gained a Bronze in her last category, Sophie was hoping to improve on her last set of performances. In this category Sophie looked a lot more comfortable and confident, which didn't shine through in the first category she entered. Her first round was an easy win with a clear 8-0 win and in her second round she had a clear margin of a 9-5 win. She entered the semi finals and her strong techniques and again had an impressive score of 12-7 to win her a place in that sought after final. Sophies' opponent in the final was another England A Squad member, both girls fought well but Sophie had the edge in this fight and she won the Gold with a 5-1 score. Another great result Sophie, keep it up!

Last but not least were the Team events. Khalsa Champions had only entered one team at this event which comprised of Cuba and Bleu Parris fighting as a two man team in the Boys open weight 10-12yr. With no third team member as back up the boys had to rely upon their ability to make sure that both of them won their fights with no losses. They didn't rest on their laurels and Bleu decided to fight first in all three rounds, a fantastic start with some great fighting in the first round landed him a clear 9-0 win with time to spare. Cuba knew it was then up to him to get them to the semi finals. Again like his brother managed to win with a 4-2 win. The semi finals were ahead of them and their determination was profound. Bleu again fought first and he produced a fantastic sweep and ended again with a 9-0 win. Twin telepathy was obviously working that day as Cuba performed exactly the same sweep and also ended with a 9-0 win, this fight was possibly their best performance of the day. They made it to the finals where their unique ability won Khalsa Champions a Team Gold. Bleu ended his fight with an 11-6 win and Cuba followed with a clear 8-0 win. Congratulations boys, you were fantastic!

At the last minute Coach Paul Abel, decided to enter Adrian and Patrick as a two man team in the 16-17 yr open weight team. Both competitors were feeling confident after their individual performances but on this occasion could not manage to progress further than the first round. However as there were a lack of teams in this category, they still gained a Bronze medal each for their efforts. Well done once again!
We had a rather unexpected end to the day with Cuba Parris being approached by some fighters from Karate Fighters Academy and asking to help them in their two man team in the Mixed 13-15yr open weight Team event. Cuba gladly offered to support them and was asked to fight first. Cuba was the youngest competitor in this group and had to fight an opponent older and stronger than himself. With a strong mental attitude Cuba won with a 3-2 win, his team mate also won his fight and it landed Cuba his third Gold of the day! Congratulations to the Team of Karate Fighters Academy! It also meant that Khalsa Champions finished top of the medal table on the day even with only having 5 competitors! A huge achievement, we are all very proud.

We would like to take this opportunity to give a huge thank you to Carl Jorgeson at Hartlepool Wadokai for his help, hospitality and commendable smooth running of this tournament. Also to Coach Paul Abel who gave up his time to support the squad and making sure everyone was ready for each of their categories on the day and all the running from one mat to the next!! A special mention also to Adrian's mum who took countless photographs of the event and provided everyone with food and drink throughout the course of the day and offering much needed lifts to squad members to make the long journey to Hartlepool. It was a fantastic day with some fantastic results, you are all a huge credit to Khalsa Champions. Our medal tally ended on 7 Golds,2 Silvers and 2 Bronzes. Well done to you all!

Sensei Sat commented "This weekend shows the clubs maturity and quality as a team. The squad have performed impeccably on and off the mats and have made the club very proud by winning club of the day! I cannot thank Coach Paul Abel enough for his continued valuable coaching, the squad for their continued individual and team success , parents Louise and Nigel for the report and organizing the entries and Beryl for her kind hospitality. A huge thank you on my behalf and the club for representing Khalsa Champions!!!" YOURS PROUDLY SENSEI SAT.

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