After months of organising, planning, cajoling, arm twisting and nagging, on Sunday the 14th of September, 2003 the first Wantage Shotokan Tournament was held.

I was first to arrive on the morning (a new experience for me) and checked my watch several times to be sure I was there at the appointed hour and hang on, is this the right Sunday? My fears were soon put to rest as others started to turn up eager to transform the hall to the arena it would later become.

The competition was organised by Paul Edwards (TSKA Wantage) with invitations to Leon Brown (JKAE Didcot) and myself, Andi Kidd (TSKA Swindon) with the objective of getting a local annual competition running and if successful, making it larger in subsequent years.

As always Paul was well organised with event charts, competitor and spectator programmes, judges� flags and whistles etc. Helpers poured in and the hall started to take shape. There were 2 areas of which one was matted. Seats for the spectators were laid out; everything was coming together for a start � ON TIME!!!

The three categories consisted of:

Sambon Kumite
This category was for junior participants only and consists of three predetermined attacking and defensive movements. Attacks consisted of stepping lunge punch to the head, followed by stomach and then front snap kick to the stomach. Defensive moves consisted of rising block, outside block and downward block respectively. Competitors� performances were assessed on good form, correct attitude, vigorous application, proper timing and correct distancing.

Shobu Sambon Kumite
This category was for both cadet and senior participants and consists of free style sparring on a matted area. Competitors sparred for a 2 (cadets or women) or 3 minute (men) bout, which was determined by either contestant scoring 3 full points (Ippons) or 6 half points (Waza-aris) or a combination of both using limited controlled techniques to selected targets only. Gum shields, approved hand mitts and adequate groin protection were mandatory for all competitors in this category. Padded instep protection was not allowed.

Kata
This category was open for all competitors and was split into appropriate sub categories. Competitors� performances were assessed on the demonstration of correct power, speed, timing, balance, breathing, tension and focus. Each sub category consisted of a maximum of 3 rounds consisting of both compulsory (Shitei) and free selection (Tokui) approved Shotokan katas. Each Judge marked the competitors performance by means of a points score board with the total being recorded and ranked.

As I said before, the organisation for the event was fantastic and it would have ran 100% smoothly if some pillock from Swindon hadn�t started with the wrong category!! The preliminary rounds ran smoothly with the children�s sanbon kumite and kata competitions going well. Even though some of them looked a bit shell shocked they obviously enjoyed their chance to impress the judges.

I enjoyed judging the competition; it was a new experience for me as well as many of the others who had been asked to help on the day. It wasn�t easy and I found that the sanbon kumite was the hardest thing to judge. The kata was interesting with the different judges obviously looking for differing things in the technique but on the whole the marking appeared pretty consistent.

I missed most of the rounds of the adult kumite as I was judging elsewhere but someone didn�t tell Richard May�s (of Mays World of Carpets) opponent that he had sponsored the event (we still need him alive next year! � Thanks Richard) and had decided to flatten him with a lovely ashi barai � kizami tzuki combination! The St John ambulance ladies soon patched him up and got him back on the mat. The kumite was hard but fair and everyone gave a good account of themselves. The St John Ladies was actually a judo-ka and we had a chat about competition and training in general, she couldn�t understand shobu sambon kumite (3 points) and why an ippon didn�t win the fight!

Although each competitor was checked immediately prior to each kumite bout, one individual who shall remain nameless attempted to hood wink Paul into allowing him to fight without a mouth guard, as allegedly he just couldn�t wear one. As this was mandatory Paul promptly disqualified him at which the individual then said he would then wear it and see how he got on! Lucky for him, he was reinstated which was a reflection of the good-natured spirit of the event. Needless to say he went on to win his category!

We came to lunch on time and everyone stopped for a much-deserved break. Sandwiches had been supplied thanks to some of Paul�s students (was that a bribe for next grading?) and we ate, drank and discussed the morning�s events.

After lunch we had the small matter of the finals in all 11 categories. The crowd were very good, quiet during kata and supportive during the kumite. During the kata finals there was much deliberation amongst the judges with very close scores. The kumite finals were again hotly contested but there was no malice between competitors and the sportsmanship was fantastic.

There was a trophy for the best club on the day with 3 points being awarded for a win, 2 for second and 1 for third from the individual events. The result was

1. Didcot 34 points
2. Wantage 33 points
3. Swindon 5 points

The competition wound up before expected (what efficiency) and after the group photograph there was plenty of help to clear the area and load the mats onto the waiting van for them to be returned to Shihan Paul Coleman at The Oxford Karate Academy.

It was a great day with everyone enjoying themselves, winners and losers alike. In excess of 50 competitors entered one or more categories with an even higher number of spectators supporting the event. As I told my students, even if you didn�t win a trophy you have proved something by just getting up and trying in front of all those people.

I would judge this competition to be a great success for both the Wantage Club and the TSKA and I would like to thank the following: Paul Edwards for the idea and getting the thing kicked off in the first place Karen Roberts for her tireless efforts in organising and bullying all participants Richard May and Mays Carpets for sponsoring the event Shihan Paul Coleman of Oxford Karate Academy (Goju Ryu) for the loan of the mats Sheila Bailey, Karen Roberts, Brenda Cross and Ian Jordan for providing the officials� lunch Tim Williamson and Karen Roberts for the production of the judges� flags Nick Brown and Mike Bailey for videoing the event And the many judges and arbitrators who helped out on the day.

Under 11�s, novice to 8th kyu junior kata
1st Gareth Wheeler (Didcot)
2nd Oliver Clayton (Want)
3rd Jack Roberts (W)
Under 11�s, 7th kyu and above junior kata
1st Lewis Brown (D)
2nd Antonia Brown (D)
3rd Courtney Rawlings (S)
Cadet, Kata
1st Karam Zekak (D)
2nd Houssam Zekak (D)
3rd Kimberley Cross (W)
Senior, up to 4th kyu 
1st Stefan Richardson (D)
2nd Brian Deadman (D)
3rd Kelvin Pottinger (W)
Mixed senior, 3rd kyu and above
1st Andrew Bailey (W)
2nd Sam Benhanddouda (D)
3rd Karen Roberts (W)
Under 11�s, novice to 8th kyu sambon kumite
1st Oliver Clayton (W)
2nd Moussa Zekak (D)
Joint 3rd Gareth Wheeler (S)
Jack Roberts (W)
Under 11�s, 7th kyu and above sambon kumite
1st Tom Smith (W)
2nd Harry Abel (W)
Joint 3rd Sean Reynolds (W)
Lewis Brown (D)
Cadet, shobu sambon kumite
1st Houssam Zekak (D)
2nd Lewis Brown (D)
3rd Karam Zekak (D)
Senior, up to 4th kyu shobu sambon kumite
1st Ian Blackman (W)
2nd Kelvin Pottinger (W)
Joint 3rd Peter Abel (W)
Ian Jordan (W)
Senior, 3rd kyu and above shobu sambon kumite
1st Sam Benhandouda (D)
2nd Graham Bailey (W)
Joint 3rd Stephan Moore (D)
Peter Rees (W)
Senior female, shobu sambon kumite
1st Angelina Cross (D)
2nd Brenda Cross (W)
3rd Karen Roberts (W)

Please make a note in your dairies as The 2004 Wantage Shotokan Karate Competition will be held on Sunday 26th September, at the Wantage Leisure Centre from 9.30 to 7.30

Andi Kidd (Swindon Karate Club)