KUGB Kyu Grades Championships 2012

The KUGB Kyu Grades Championships is held each year in Wales and is open to kyu grades from all KUGB clubs.


View photos of the competition.

Competition Report

Keen to be fresh for the day itself, four CUKC kyu grades - Craig Woodhead, Sebastian Mueller, Women's Captain Iris Chang and Club President Spencer Hughes - travelled to Rhyl in North Wales the night before they were due to compete at the KUGB Kyu Grades Competition just down the road in Prestatyn.

After only a short while, the men were in action in the kata eliminations. Sebastian was unlucky to face an experienced opponent in an early round and despite a strong performance, was put out of the competition. Spencer made it through a couple of rounds, showing some technically solid kata, but eventually succumbed to a more dynamic 1st kyu and just failed to make it to the finals. Despite complaining about it being his least favourite kata, Craig's trusty Heian Sandan saw off some strong challenges as he worked his way into the finals. Many hours later, in the final, Craig went last. In the lead as he stepped onto the mat was a showy Bassai Dai from another 1st kyu. Craig kept his cool and performed his very sharp and strong rendition of the same kata. His technical superiority was clear and indeed the higher score was his, earning him 1st place in the Senior Men's Kata.

At the senior level, the Kihon Ippon Kumite was open only to those below 3rd kyu and despite only clarifying the format minutes before competing, Sebastian sailed through some early rounds. However, he came up against a more aggressive performer in the semi-final and the decision did not go Sebastian's way, so he took joint 3rd place. Spencer's toughest bout was his first, in which he managed to see off a fast and focussed 4th kyu. After this he was in his stride and he kept focussed and made the final. Being up against a yellow belt in the final meant that it consisted only of jodan and chudan punches and nothing else, but more creative counter-attacks and big kiais saw Spencer win 1st place.

In freestyle kumite, Iris kicked off CUKC's campaign in the ladies event. Good timing saw Iris take the first wazari, but unfortunately this seemed to wake her opponent up somewhat, who, with some sharp movement, refused to let Iris take control of the fight. In what was a good contest, Iris was put out two wazaris to one. On the Men's side, Craig fought in the 3rd -1st Kyu category. He was able to try out some of his swift and clean kicking techniques in his first round, but, was unable to outdo a more experienced fighter in a later round. Spencer and Sebastian were in the 7th - 4th kyu category. Sebastian's direct style paid off in his first two rounds, but some unfortunate decisions saw him leave the competition earlier than he would have liked. Spencer kept it simple in the early rounds and made it to the semi-final, in which superior stamina played a decisive role in his fight against a heavier and slower opponent. In the final, against a taller 6th kyu, Spencer was hungry for points right from the word `hajime' and was deemed to have been marginally faster at landing his gyaku-zuki in the first exchange. Before his opponent had a chance to retaliate, Spencer scored an Ippon with an ashi-barai kizame combination to take 1st place in the 7th - 4th kyu Ju Kumite.

In the Team Kumite, Craig, Sebastian and Spencer had nothing to lose. There were only eight teams and so the first contest was effectively a quarter final. CUKC was up against an experienced collection of brown belts and the contest went down to a fourth fight. Spencer stepped up and with some side-of-the mat advice from Sensei Richard ("front hand") was able to finish the fight in CUKC's favour with a no-nonsense kizame zuki. The semi-final was up against a pair and so the first fight was given as an ippon in CUKC's favour. Sebastian won his fight with straightforward style, meaning that we were to go through to the final, despite Craig's fight ending in a draw. In the final, the last match of the evening, Spencer only managed a draw in the first fight. Next up, Sebastian showed superior timing and good control to win his fight with two wazaris. The third fight was very close, with Craig struggling to get within striking distance of a more rangy and hard-hitting fighter. Craig's opponent needed a win and so with seconds on the clock he made a rapid attack and caught Craig cleanly on the side of the head with a punch, which scored ippon. As the contest was up until then one win apiece, the ippon was the deciding factor and so CUKC only managed 2nd place on this occasion.

In the youngest categories of the day, Georgia Poole's trademark strong kiais and immaculate techniques earned her 1st place in ippon kumite and, with stylish and mature performances, she won the children's kata competition as well! Georgia was awarded the trophy for the female competitor who was judged to have had the Best Attitude and Spirit.

Spencer was awarded the trophy for the Best Individual Performance in kumite and kata.

Individual Medals

Jolanta Pilinkaite
Women's Kyu Grade Kumite