Swedish Kata Trophy - 10th March 2013
Karate Girl Aimee Sell travelled to Stockholm in Sweden on the first part of her double Nordic adventures where she returns to Sweden next week to compete in Malmö at the Swedish Open. This weekend it was the Swedish Kata Trophy, a competition that she’d never competed at before but a rare opportunity to compete at a Kata only competition. Aimee also had the added incentive to travel as she had an even rarer opportunity to train with current World Kata Champions, Rika Usami and Antonio Diaz who were hosting a Kata seminar the very next day. For Aimee, this was an opportunity not to be missed.
The competition was being hosted by Inoue-ha Shito-ryu Kai, a Shito-ryu Karate association who’s head is none other than legendary Soke Yoshimi Inoue 8th Dan JKF, Japanese National Kata coach and coach to the two current world champions, Rika Usami and Antonio Diaz. What made this competition special to Aimee was the fact she had to chance to compete against some top Japanese and Shito-ryu students and perform her own Shito-ryu Katas whilst being judged and scrutinised within a Shito-ryu environment.
Aimee flew out to Sweden early Friday afternoon landing in Vasteras Airport, a fair way outside of Stockholm and following a one and a half hour bus ride into the centre of Stockholm through the snow covered icy roads and past the frozen lakes and rivers she safely arrived at her destination.
The next day, up bright and early, Aimee headed off on foot to the competition sports venue which was a short distance from the hotel. The temperature was cold but Aimee’s bright red Kaze fleece jacket kept her warm and visible in the snow!
The competition started off with the younger competitors competing first and with over 650 competitors registered it was very busy demonstrating what a popular Kata competition the Swedish Kata Trophy is. Aimee didn’t get to compete until the afternoon with the female senior category first and the junior category being held towards the end of the evening.
Female Senior Kata 16yrs+
Aimee’s 1st Round was a bye dropping her straight into the 2nd round where she faced Amanda Hillas from Sweden. Both opponents chose to perform Nipaipo against each other but Aimee came out victorious with a 5 flags to 0 win.
The 3rd round saw Aimee face Caroline Dalgard from Denmark who performed Chatanyara Kushanku. Aimee replied with her performance of Unshu which was good enough to secure all the flags once more giving her a 5-0 win.
In the 4th round Aimee faced Izabella Tran, Sweden’s Junior Kata Champion. Aimee performed Annan Kata with Izabella performing a sharp Chatanyara Kushanku. It was Aimee that came through once again winning the round 4-1 to make the semi-final.
The 5th round semi-final saw Aimee face Kurumi Yamashita representing Inoue-ha Japan, a very strong and sharp competitor. Aimee performed a good Chatanyara Kushanku to match her Japanese opponent but the decision went 4 flags to 1 against Aimee leaving Aimee in the repechage final. Kurumi Yamashita went on to face fellow Japanese teammate Chieko Nakamura in the all-Japanese final with Nakamura taking the win following her performance of Tomari Bassai securing the votes over Yamashita’s Suparinpei.
The repechage rounds saw Sweden’s Senior national No.1, Karin Hägglung, come through to face Aimee in the final. Both athletes opted to perform Suparinpei in this bronze medal match. Some good performances from both competitors but a split decision saw Aimee win a close match 3 fags to 2 to claim Senior Kata Bronze.
Female Junior Kata 16-17yrs
Toward the evening the female junior category was eventually called into action. After receiving a 1st round bye, Aimee faced a Swedish opponent, Kristina Milenkovic in the 2nd round. It was a Nipaipo showdown once again as both girls opted to perform the same Kata. Aimee drawn red performed first and set a good standard for her opponent to follow but her opponent’s response wasn’t quite good enough to beat her as Aimee won the round 5 flags to 0.
In the 3rd round semi-final Aimee performed a strong and sharp Chatanyara Kushanku Kata, Aimee’s opponent opting to perform Tomari Bassai in reply, but once again all flags went Aimee’s way giving her a 5-0 win.
The final saw Aimee face Denmark’s Natascha Lauritsen who performed a good Kata against Aimee in the final but Aimee’s choice of Annan Kata proved good as her strong and sharp performance helped her complete the match with another 5 flags to 0 win securing her the Junior Kata Gold without dropping a flag in the category.
Senior Bronze and Junior Gold, excellent results.
The junior event was one of the last of the evening and Aimee was soon off back to the hotel where room service was her treat for some great performances.
The next day it was back to the sports hall for the highly anticipated Kata seminar. Two World Champions who Aimee admires, both teaching, this was an absolute treat for Aimee and she was determined to gleam as much information as possible from the seminar.
Aimee had brought her spare Kaze Rebel Gi to train in following the previous days competition and after getting changed into a fresh Rebel she was looking good and raring to go. Rika Usami held the morning session going over Chatanyara Kushanku. Aimee training Chatanyara Kushanku with Rika Usami – wow. The afternoon session saw Antonio Diaz take over and cover Suparinpei. First Chatanyara, now Suparinpei, could it get any better for Aimee?! There was a brief question and answer session at the end where both Rika and Antonio gave some personal insights into motivation and training but in no time the seminar was over.
Aimee was soon changed and heading off to Arlanda Airport to catch her return flight home but she came away inspired and somewhat enlightened by her experience.