ESKA European Championships 2014

The European Shotokan Karate-do Association hold championships annually

Competition Report

The 29th championship of the European Shotokan Karate-do Association took place in Zurich from the 28-30 November.

In this 3 day championships with over 700 entries, two of CUKC’s finest were representing KUGB England in the Senior Men’s team and individual kumite.

Francisco Martinez and Hervé Vandekerckhove started their championship in the individual event against 75 other competitors.

Francisco, after a bye in the first round, fought an experienced Swedish fighter. There was a big contrast in styles between the Swede's spirited charges and Francisco’s more fluid confident approach which won convincingly. In similar style he dispatched a young Belgian fighter before coming up against the impressive Spaniard Igor Castaneda De Ruiz.

Francisco spotted in the opening exchange that, when attacking, the Spaniard tended to extend his left leg into a very deep stance. The next time Francisco blocked the chudan zuki at the same time as he used ashi barri on his opponents front leg before the foot had made contact with the ground. Although Francisco just missed the Spaniards head with his punch, the technique served to make the Spaniard very wary, allowing Francisco free reign with his attacks which easily won the match.

For a place in the final (last 4) Francisco fought the Russian Ivanov Vladislav, last years European junior kumite champion. The was a very close fought match with both competitors seeking to take the centre ground. Francisco forced his opponent to concede ground and smothered his attacks. Towards the end of the match the Russian attacked with a very fast ushiro geri chudan which passed Francisco’s block to score and win the match. Francisco finished in 5th place overall.

Hervé looked a little hesitant in his match against a German fighter. The German's strong confident attacks scored early on winning the match.

Both Francisco and Hervé were selected for the England Kumite team which fought Portugal after a bye in the first round. The teams were evenly matched following the first four matches. The pressure was on Hervé to win in order for England to progress. Supported by a very vocal group of English supporters Hervé took up the challenge and with a series of strong very fast confident attacks he scored a magnificent ippon on the very experienced Hugo Soares. As a result England advanced to the next round and convincingly defeated Spain before facing Russia.

Despite a valiant effort England lost to a very strong Russian team. Although understandably disappointed Francisco and Hervé should be proud to come home with CUKCs first ever medals in ESKA – silver.