The annual Legends Open Shotokan Karate Championships, held in Bracknell, brings together a large number of Shotokan Karate groupss from around the country. This year, SSKI fielded a strong squad of nearly twenty including Adam Cockfield, Rachael Houlton and Christopher Boon from the London Dojo.
The competition was, as always, of a very high standard, with over thirty entrants in each of the senior men’s and women’s individual events alone. SSKI was amongst the most successful of the competing organisations, thanks in no small part to Adam Sensei’s leading central performance, both in the individual and team events. He took the following medals:
- Outstanding Male Competitor of the Day
- Men’s Senior Individual Kumite (First)
- Men’s Senior Individual Kata (First)
- Men’s Team Kata (First, with Dan White and Anthony Holt)
- Men’s Team Kumite (Second, with Dan White and Chris Boon)
His route to the finals in the kata event involved a series of Heian kata in qualifying rounds, culminating in a formidable display of Unsu in the final. Technically precise, stylish, and with an obvious knowledge of the kata’s underlying bunkai, the outcome never really seemed in any doubt.
Adam Sensei’s performance in the kumite was similarly impressive: focused, dynamic and methodical, he coasted through the early ippon rounds, earning himself a place in the sanbon-kumite format of the finals, extended from two to three minutes. It was a bruising encounter, contested with a great degree of flair, passion and control by both competitors. In the end, though, Adam Sensei’s experience and creativity shone through, and he took the title with a 5-3 win.
All in all, it was both inspirational and humbling to watch a competitor of Adam’s calibre and proficiency competing at this level. Not only this, as the squad’s principal coach, he galvanised the SSKI team, and was always on hand to offer advice and assistance.
Rachael’s found herself in an equally tough draw in the individual women’s kumite. She battled her way through the early rounds – surpassing a number of dan-ranked opponents – to achieve a place in the evening’s finals. Here, her opponent was an experienced competitor who had already won the individual women’s kata event – and who eventually went on to win Outstanding Female Competitor of the Day. Rachael was defeated in an extremely tough and hard-fought match, but her performance – fearless, courageous and stubborn – embraced the true ethos of karate. Despite taking a number of hits, she refused to be beaten, and showed a great deal of will and determination, clearly gaining the respect of her opponent and all spectators. Taking this attitude forward, she will certainly be a contender for this title – and many others – in years to come.
Chris Boon – 2nd Dan