Well this weekend we saw a small team of 5 compete at the Yorkshire Open in Barnsley. It was a massively oversubscribed competition ( see picture) which meant it was still going strong with the seniors at 8pm when we had to head for home, but in general it was a great competition and a really high quality of competitors that pushed our guys to their limits. Happy to come home with three golds, a bronze and some greatly improved performances from all, so all round a great day. What I did notice however were some small changes in competition due to new WKF rules set this year, so thought I would explain.
The biggest blow to our club is the new rule that any competitor that wishes to represent the England National Team MUST hold a British passport. For JJ as a Brit no problem and he will be heading to Bulgaria tomorrow to start his U21 European campaign as part of the England A squad. We all wish him luck. There are however some of our students who have been working so hard toward selections only to find that, even though they and their families settled here for some time, or even born here, as their parents had no need to change their national status since settling in UK from Europe especially, their foreign passports mean they can no longer be selected. For some parents, they have decided to push ahead with nationalisation, at a great cost and a mountain of documentation. But this will take anywhere from 12 - 24 months. So all our students can do is continue to train hard, and stay on the national radar, to show that when they obtain British status they are first in the queue. A set back, but can relate to the WKFs decision wanting to ensure that its not so easy for some countries to import talent from elsewhere without any allegiance ( at least thats what we think its about!)
Other points to note for all competitors, even just representing locally. In Kumite cases where a round ends in a draw, there is no longer 'Hantai' decision by the referees as to who they think should be the winner. It will be the first student to score that takes the win.
In Kata, England junior coach Aimee Sell drew my attention to rules such as , moving about whilst your opponent is competing thus distracting the referees, can lose you scores. Audible queues, such as excessive breathing sounds, or slapping the Gi to make the techniques sound more powerful than they actually are, will also still lose scores.
We have a lot of work to do still, but some new juniors interested in competition, and we couldn't have better instructors and coaches to get them where they want to be, so exciting times ahead, but the moral of the story for the competitors at DSK is this I guess. .......;.'Train hard, be strong, be first, there is no substitute for technique and sometimes there will be sacrifice, but with support of your parents, our coaches and your friends at the club, you can achieve your goals'.