After what seems a lifetime, but was actually only 18 months, the Kazoku team dusted off their squad jackets, cleaned out their gumshields and got up early for the first competition after lockdown. Dubbed the JSKA ‘post Covid’ competition, held in Guildford, Team Kazoku set off to compete, meet up with old friends and make some new ones along the way. The clutch of trophies we won was, of course, not the main reason we went.

Kazoku means ‘family’ in Japanese so it was no surprise that the team events brought the most success. In team kata the boys team of Whiteman, Symonds and Sore continue to develop and are now regular attendees to the podium, this time winning Silver with a very slick Jion. In the adult’s category, the Ladies team of Prins, Starsmore and Bambridge gave a really good account of themselves but just missed out on a Bronze medal which was won by the ‘B’ team of Jones, Hughes and Lewis. In the final team grouping it was business as usual with Hughes, Lewis and Prins taking Gold.

Although the overall turn out was lower than previous years the standard was still very high and the refereeing of a good standard. Individual medals were harder to come by with Whiteman taking a well earned Bronze in the over-75 Kumite and Lewis taking Silver in the individual Kata.

Competitions are important for all, they give confidence and are a massive help to grading (particularly at higher levels). Stepping onto the tatami takes no small amount of courage and everyone can be proud of their achievements. There were two highlights of the day, slugger Jones gave a very strong performance in Kumite and never took a backward step whilst Hughes’s first round Kata was a thing of beauty and put his competitor firmly in his place.

We were done and dusted by lunchtime and back home in time for tea. The next competition is fast approaching in October. Training is important for both the teams and individuals – stronger and faster wins you medals, but of course that’s not the point.

Kata Individual
E Lewis – Silver

Kumite Individual
S Whiteman – Bronze

Team Kata
Jones, Hughes, Lewis – Bronze
Whiteman, Symonds, Sore – Silver
Hughes, Lewis, Prins – Gold

Editor note: It wasn’t really in an over-75s event.