Meopham Open Karate Championships July 2015

Only two Khalsa students were able to attend this competition due to summer holidays and other commitments.

First up was Zuko Robb, fighting in the 5th Kyu (4’4”-4’9”). This was a tough ask for Zuko who, at only nine years old, is very tall for his age. In the first round, Zuk found himself up against a lad of around 13 or 14 years of age: clearly, this gave Zuko’s opponent the edge in all aspects – age, size, experience, speed and power. The opening moments of the fight saw Zuko taking a very powerful side-kick to the sternum which cost him two points and showed just how strong the opponent was.

Despite being in considerable discomfort, Zuko fought on taking two points from his opposite number before the bout ended with a 4-2 defeat for Khalsa. However, Zuko performed well enough to receive a bronze medal; more valuable than that was the endeavour and grit that Zuk showed in this fight – he never gave up and kept battling to the end.

The second Khalsa fighter at the Open was Sam Whitfield, fighting in the 4’10” to 5’3” 6th Kyu for girls.

Sam’s first round opponent looked to be an experienced fighter and took two points from Sam before the Khalsa fighter found her stride and counter attacked, forcing her opponent off the mat and setting her up for a number of gyaku-zuki counter punches and a great head kick that won her the match 8-2.

The semi-finals were an altogether different proposition – Sam's opponent was a fighter who was at the very top limit of the height range and had an extremely powerful build. Clearly this was an experienced competitor who walked on the mat brimming with confidence – and seemingly justifiably so as she quickly established a 3-0 lead.

With the fight slipping away, Sam was forced to put pressure on her larger opponent and received an illegal hit to the face for her pains. This seemed to galvanise the Khalsa fighter who launched a devastating counter attack comprising body-kicks and powerful counterpunching. A well placed-gyaku-zuki knocked much of the fight from Sam’s opponent and she was unable to mount an effective defence thereafter, allowing Sam to take the fight 7-3.

Meopham Open Karate Championships July 2015

Unfortunately for Sam, there was no rest-break between the semi and the final and with only enough time for a mouth-full of water after a very tough battle, she was back on the mat. Sam opened her account early going into a two-nil lead, but the home-fighter came back and seemed to be able to catch the judge’s eye in the closer points decisions as all of these were awarded to the home team – in a tight match, Sam lost 2-4, taking the silver medal for Khalsa Karate.

Sensei Sat commented, "To take two junior squad fighters to a very recognised competition with no experienced squad coach, and to compete and bring back two medals is an amazing achievement. What these two have shown is amazing determination and willing to fight with only themselves supporting each other, is what makes me very proud to have at the club!"

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