Saturday evening I was informed that my niece had a Karate competition day on Sunday, and that she wanted me to go and support her. So there went my plans of a productive Sunday catching up on my ever-growing todo list. OK! by productive day I mean a day playing “Call of Duty: Black Op’s” which I purchased Saturday.
I don’t normally mind going to support her, since it makes her happy that someone cares, and she likes to talk about the different matches with me, and its normally an interesting day out.
My niece does Shotokan Karate, and the club she goes to is associated with several others in the area, and they take it in turns hosting the competitions. This time there was even some clubs from Luton & Yorkshire along for the day. And the even was held in Hawrden High School’s sports hall.
Now I should point out this is a sports hall with brick walls half way up, then metal sheeting the rest of the way, a metal sheeting roof, and plain concrete floors. There is also building work going on so part of the walls are simple boards while work is being carried out. Oh, and did I mention there was ice on the ground outdoors, and no heating on indoors? The poor kids in bare feet, and Gi’s that are no more than pyjamas really must have been freezing, cos the adults watching were and they had big coats on.
First off was the Kata rounds, so Niece and another girl get up, do their kata and sit down. The next person to get called was called alone, and the ref informed them they were through to the next round. In fact three of the four people in the final to work out places never had to compete against anyone, they just got given their placements. (Can anyone say fix?)
This shall we say for legal reasons “Apparently biased marking” turned into the theme for the day, when you had matches and all four (or six depending on match) ref’s holding out the same colour flag to show who was winner, and main ref (always after quick look to people in background holing forms) would award fight to the other colour. At one point one of the local Sensei’s told his students that one of the clubs who had travelled four hours to turn up were being marked up as a thanks for coming all this way and to not take it personally. Well by the end of the day, the local students had lost all heart and were barley going through the motions in their rounds.
The other let down of the day was the fact that the club that was being allowed to win everything may have been the “Cobra Kai” in disguise. Well they were as dirty fighters as the Cobra’s, with sneaky leg swipes, feet stomps, and face/eye shots. The list of injuries to the local kids was, several broken toes, and sprained back, and several kids with smashed and bleeding eyes.
The Adults associated to the club were even pointing out nice spots on the face to go for to slow down, or take out their opponent, and congratulating them while the other kid would be crying on the floor with medics dealing with them.
I know full contact Karate competitions can be violent, and lead to injuries, but this was a Children’s competition, and the local clubs do not do much full contact fights, and it was supposed to be friendly.
I must admit it was the most badly run & organised rip off I have ever seen. The matches were all fixed and they did not even attempt to hide the fact. There was no food laid on for the kids (they normally lay on food for them out of the attendance fee’s), No heating, The hall rental was a school gym that they normally use, so would not have cost much. The medals were of poor quality, and for the first time in the years my niece has been going there was no “competitors medal or certificate” to give to those who competed (apparently there was no money for them). And yes on the Saturday traiing day there was 100 student (approx) and there must have been 60 or so on the Sunday (all at £20/day).