KUGB National Championships 2011

The KUGB National Championships are held annually at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham and feature the most talented karateka in the KUGB.

Competition Report

On 14th May 2011, five CUKC black belts travelled to the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham to compete at the KUGB National Championships. This is a large competition, with 12 simultaneously active areas and a high standard of karate.

In the adult categories kata came first with Petre Nicolescu representing CUKC men, and Tegwen Ecclestone and Gosia Stanislawek the women. Petre sailed into the second round , where he performed a solid heian sandan to progress to the third round. Here, despite a powerful performance of heian nidan, Petre went out on a split judges’ decision. Tegwen was next up, moving through the first three rounds with heians nidan, sandan and nidan respectively. In the fourth round she performed a good heian godan but went out two votes to one. All kata hopes were now pinned on Gosia, who slipped straight into the second round. Here she came up against a snappy 2nd kyu, and after a display of contrasting heian godans all was even with a draw. Heian nidan was called and this time Gosia's powerful moves and deep stances were not enough to prevail over her faster opponent.

CUKC was represented in the kumite categories by Tegwen Ecclestone, Michele Mestrinaro and Francisco Martinez. In the first round Tegwen held on in a scrappy fight, managing to control the fighting distance in order to land two chudan punches firmly on her opponent. The second round saw no such victory, with Tegwen's speedy opponent beating her to the gyaku tsuki. Michele zipped through the first round uncontested, before winning a convincing victory two wasaris to none with go-no-sen gyaku tsuki. In the third round Michele came up against a tough fighter from the Red Triangle, where he went out to a swift kizame tsuki.

The highlight of the CUKC performances of the day was given by Francisco. In the first round Francisco worked hard for victory after a second level contact warning (hansoku chui) forced him away from using his wide range of jodan techniques. The set up of the draw meant that Francisco was immediately called upon to fight again in the second round against a fresh and well-rested black belt. Frank dominated the tatami, moving his opponent about the mats and easily defending attempted attacks. Francisco then made what appeared to spectators to be a perfectly executed right hand kizame tsuki, hitting his target square on the chin. Unfortunately, his competitor went down and struggled to get back up, meaning the ippon the crowd was cheering for was instead another hansoku chui. Somewhat frustrated, Francisco was forced into claiming another careful victory. In the third round Francisco did not wait long before striking a chudan gyaku tsuki to put him one wasari up. His opponent responded with a ferocious series of punches and kicks, until one of Francisco's blocks forced his opponent's body around, allowing him to punch the back of the head resulting in a well deserved ippon and passage to the fourth round.

At this time Francisco came up against his toughest opposition yet. Evenly matched they danced about the tatami with occasional exchanges that did not result in any points. Francisco was the first to score with a strong gyaku tsuki, but it was not long before his opponent landed one back. When the bell went for time everything was even with one wasari each and a one minute extension was announced. After a further minute of exhausting fighting still the competitors were tied. A further minute and 'sudden death' was called, and a few more techniques were thrown by both sides, neither prevailing. Then from nowhere Francisco launched a strong jodan kizame tsuki, which easily found its target. As the competitors stood opposite each other and the referee began to raise his hand, as if to award the point and thus the match, a curious red liquid spurted forth from Frank's opponent's nose, spattering his gi. A medic was called, the nose plugged, and rather than a point Francisco was unsurprisingly warned for his control. A few more seconds of fighting and again the bell went for time. The whistle blew for judges’ decision and Francisco finally went out.