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ECKA Semi-Contact Nationals 2009
|This year’s Nationals saw the competition venue finally move to ECKA’s home in Coventry, allowing several of the clubs to fight on their own turf. The Alan Higgs Sports Centre will now serve as the venue for many competitions in the future, including the Full Contact Fight Night in August.
The competition allowed a lot of established faces to successfully defend their titles, not least of all Michael Adams of Kingsthorpe, who won the men’s over 78kg 1st Kyu to Black Belt Finals for the 13th year in a row, followed by brothers Chris and Mark Featherstone from Milton Keynes in 2nd and 3rd place. A lot of promising new fighters also fought, who might challenge the established winners in a few years time including Dion Barrett who, despite being an orange belt, shows a lot of promise.
Lower belts are also allowed to compete here, which allows new fighters to get a taste of competition early on and show off what they’ve learned so far. Naturally, competition fighting and learning techniques in the dojo are two different worlds, so this allows new fighters to develop both skill sets simultaneously. The novice section wasn’t dominated by any club in particular, showing a high standard teaching for beginners across the board, with Jonathon Butler from Catshill coming 1st in the Red to Brown under 74kg and Dion Barrett of Coventry achieving 1st in the over 78kgs, with runners up from the clubs in Milton Keynes, Coventry, Tipton and Dryton.
The women’s over 58kg Purple to Black Belt Finals were ruled by Tipton club, with Lara Harmitt and Katie Lovell taking 1st and 2nd place, with both fighters battling hard to succeed. These fights, in particular, were characterised by fantastic kicks and counter-kicks, which underpins the belief that women are very well suited to this aspect of the sport thanks to their higher levels of flexibility, adaptable hip joints and the higher distribution of strength to their legs and back. The Tipton girls added to their success in the Purple to Black Finals by winning the Women’s Team Championship too.
Coventry came in first in the final club standings, with a total of 17 medals and 36 points, closely followed by Milton Keynes who also won 17 medals at 30 points and then Kingsthorpe in 3rd place with 12 medals and 30 points. Congratulations to Tipton, Bletchley Dragons and Hereford for also making it into the prestigious national top 6.
Sensei Jim Higgins