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Monday, October 05, 2009

Irish Open 4th October 09

A whistle-wind trip to the Emerald Isle this weekend for Michael, Rebecca and myself. We flew out of Liverpool Saturday night, picked up a car from Cork airport and drove the short trip North to Fermoy. After an overnight stay in a B&B we drove into town to try and find the sports centre. Rebecca had been there before and remembered it was "up a hill", we looked for a while before asking directions. I felt a bit of a fool when the gentleman pointed to the Loreto Sports complex all of 50m away.
Above : Rebecca Senior Kumite

Rebecca and Michael competed in both the U19 and the senior events, while if you are going all that way you might as well get as much experience as possible. As always the male cadet brown and black belt section was very strongly contended. Michael was surprised to see so many Strong Sho and nidans in his group. Michael fought well and was complemented on his efforts by a number of the spectators and coaches.
Not taking anything away from Rebecca's success but the female sections are not as strongly contended. However at seventeen Rebecca did have her work cut out in the Senior Kumite that had a few preliminary rounds. Rebecca ended up competing against Sensei Stacy from Tuam (who we are meant to be staying with in a few weeks time). This was a particularly strong match, well fought by both of them resulting in Rebacca winning through to the final where she met Sensei Jacquie. Rebecca had met Jacquie in Italy and she has to be considered one of the most experienced competitors in Ireland, Jacquie was again to be the IJKA ladies grand champion.

Toomey Sensei was a little short of officials and had asked me to help out. I was a little daunted by the prospect. I have judged and refereed at our club competitions but never contemplated taking a role in a national. I started as a judge on the junior kata, but come the kumite sections I was asked to referee, surprisingly I really enjoyed the experience.

With no veterans section I had to enter the Senior kata and Kumite. My kata performance is not as good as it should be and I should make more effort really. I did perform a strong Tekki Shodan (one of my preferred kata) to win through to the 2nd round where I made a complete "hash" of Jion (again another one of my preferred kata?). In a way I was glad to get the kata out of the way so I could warm up properly for the kumite.
It was a very strong line up of fourteen, Michael was one of only two or three brown belts amongst the dan grades. I had been goading "Hammer" one of Sensei's PJ's students that we were going to get drawn together and he was going down, as he was too slow. I have known "Hammer" for a few years, he is less than half my age and only does kumite. I won my first round and funny enough I was drawn against "Hammer" in the next. It was a strong contest, but I eventually won through. My parting comment to Hammer was , "another win for the veterans then!". In the Semi final my opponent caught me with a perfect Oi Zuki Jodan, hard but controlled, for me it should have been Ippon but unfortunately the nose didn't stand up to the blow very well and ended in his disqualification. Not the way that I would want to get into a final, but as Sensei PJ put it later that is the way that competitions go sometimes.

Above : The Selby Team - Michael, Rebecca and Paul

Rebecca - 2nd U19 Kumite Girls, 3rd Senior Kata Ladies & 2nd Senior Kumite ladies
Paul - 2nd Senior Kumite Men

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