This past Saturday and Sunday (7th and 8th of July) saw the hosting of the All Africa Kyokushin Selection tournament, a prestigious event which is used to select the African fighters who will represent the African continent in the Kyokushin World Tournament to be held later this year in Japan. The importance of this event is such that even the head of the Kyokushin Karate, Kancho Matsui flew down to South Africa to take part in the festivities. Combined into this tournament was the SA Nationals, scaled down this year to accommodate the All Africa Selection Tournament. The SA Nationals in fact only hosted the various Clicker (semi-contact) divisions as well as the lighter Knockdown divisions.
Seeing as there werent any heavyweight knockdown divisions for the SAs and my experience level is way too low to even consider taking part in the All Africa tournament, I opted instead to partake in the Open (heavyweight) Clicker (semi-contact) division. Not my favourite discipline because of my lack of speed and general fitness (at the moment), but it was better than not taking part at all. Unfortunately my selected division was once again poorly represented, with only four fighters signing up for it in the end (Meaning that my last place still netted me a nice trophy for my cabinet in the end :D).
Thank goodness though that this time around the tournament was properly organised and run, a complete opposite to the earlier WP tournament I partook in a little while ago. It was held in the UCT Sports Complex and there were about six fighting mats laid out, meaning that the days action was moving along at quite a nice brisk pace. Obviously being in the Open Mens division meant that we were the last of the clicker divisions to fight, meaning I once again had to stand around and wait for my turn (We waited from 8:00 until 11:30 approximately! Ages of doing nothing and watching little kiddies slap each other about. Cute, but sometimes slightly disturbing).
Two of the fighters that had signed up for the Open Mens Clicker division were in fact also signed up for the under-80 clicker event, giving them a distinct advantage in the heavyweight division in terms of speed and manoeuvrability . My first opponent turned out to be one of these two, namely Hilton Jordaan. Ill be perfectly honest: I really wasnt prepared for this – I didnt really train for this event, my fitness is rather low and I’m at my heaviest weight ever at the moment :(. Still, at least I started the fight okay. Because of the first clean hit point system employed, I was actually leading for a large portion of the fight believe it or not (I know the video makes it look otherwise), but as the fight progressed my stamina let me down and I let Hilton score a lot of uncontested points towards the end of the fight which gave him the victory in the end. I did land a rather vicious blow to the side of his head which made me feel a little better though (Ref didnt like it all that much neither did Hilton).
I was pretty pissed off at myself for losing that fight because I had really wanted to win one for a change. Unfortunately this rather negative mood accompanied me into my second fight and although I put up a bit of a fight, my opponent dominated the points. Worse though, I had to abandon the fight two-thirds into it when my left knee unexpectedly twisted, leaving me in a world of pain. I’m getting old and I don’t want to aggravate any injuries, so the minute my knee made a horrible cracking/popping noise that left me unable to stand on it, I told the ref to end the fight I was losing it anyway.
Looking back at it, there wasnt all that many positive things I can take from my performance though at least this time I got over those first timer blanks I pulled in the WP tournament (my first ever fight), so experience is a definitely a plus factor. I’m disappointed that I kept dropping my right cover and I ducked into one of two high kicks coming in from that side. I was also hopelessly flat-footed. However, I did successfully switch to a right foot lead (you can see it in my second fight), which did in fact make for a stronger defensive stance, so that is something Ill experiment more with in the future. I also need to seriously start working on my weight and fitness level though I cant believe I’ve let it slip to its current pathetic level :(
Overall though, I did enjoy the experience of having once again taken part in something like this. There is something quite enjoyable and satisfying about taking part in this sport. Maybe it is the risk and the danger, or just the primal need to hit someone that makes it what it is. And now that I’ve done it, I walk away knowing that all though I’m not all that great a fighter, if push comes to shove I am more than capable of taking care of myself. It feels good to have now finally been able to verify this.
Thing is, I’m getting old and I really don’t want to pick up horrible injuries as it takes much longer for me to recover from them than what it used to, so I’m thinking I might just start looking out for my next sporting experience to replace karate with (actually, I’ve already decided on that to be honest. Ballroom dancing, believe it or not. Chantelle wants to do it and I’m quite keen on learning, so it sounds like a good match to me). Hopefully Ill take part in the Novice tournament towards the end of this year, grade for my blue belt and then call it quits. But well see how things go :)
So although I failed in my bid to win my first fight, I had a good day. My buddy Anton managed to come second in his division, Ryan did all the cool camera work again, I gained some more valuable experience and I got another bright and shiny trophy for my shelf! :)
P.S. My knee was absolutely buggered on Saturday, but it seems to be well on its way to recovery thank goodness. Looks like I missed out on any serious damage!
Below are the videos of my two ‘clicker’ fights (commentary provided by Ryan, Luasanne and Anton). Special thanks to Ryan for all the filming work he put in – as he put it in his own words: “No animals were harmed in this production – only Craig’s pride”. Thanks a million man.
For download purposes: (Careful, they’re large files)