The ESKA Championships were held on Sunday 12th November at the Stevenage Hombu (ESKA Headquarters). The event was a massive success with karate of great spirit and focus on show, along with fantastic support from family and the local community.

EPIC COMPETITION

The club response was incredible with over 400 entries across the entire English Shotokan Karate Association (ESKA).

There were twenty five categories for juniors (13 and under), six categories for Cadets (14-17) ten Adult categories and three open-age categories: 44 categories in all, six more than in 2022.

The morning kicked-off at exactly 09:00 with all participants lined up opposite the Association judges and officials for the formal bow.  Etiquette is a key element of ESKA’s traditional karate association and Competitions always commence with a bow to each other and to our audience guests to show respect.

The first events of the day started at 09:15 with the Team Kata Events in six different categories on all six Areas including the return, by popular demand, of the Family Team Kata category where any number, grade or age can take part as long as there is some family resemblance

Fifty-six kata teams with 119 participants took part, a record for ESKA team events.   It was fantastic to see so many families taking part with 19 teams in the Family Kata alone.

The lower grade categories for Kata and Basics followed on four Areas from 09:45 starting with White, Blue and Red belts, along with Junior Kumite (freestyle) for orange belts and upwards on the two matted Areas, which continued until 14:00.  The new category of orange belt junior freestyle was a great success with the orange belts having a lot of fun trying to score points against their opponents.  We hope they go on to be world champions!

At 10:59, the entire competition paused and all the judges, referees and officials lined up along with all competitors for a two minute silence for Remembrance.  It was a poignant moment of silence and reflection, in sharp contrast to the noise and excitement just a few moments before.

With junior events finished, it was time for the Cadet kata and Adult freestyle to begin.   This year the Cadet kata was split into three categories, with the ESKA Competition Squad members in their own category to show off their world-class kata skills honed over many national and international competitions.

This was followed by the Adult Black Belt Masters kata category, a favourite with ESKA’s Instructors where they swap their blazers for Gis and compete against each other.  The minimum age for this category is 35 but there is no maximum – it’s really inspiring to see Instructors in their sixties and seventies also taking part in this friendly competition and sometimes even winning medals!

All the contestants throughout the day showed great determination and karate spirit, and all that attended thoroughly enjoyed the high quality of karate on show.

Overall the Competition was a great success , with a record 407 entries across all the many clubs in ESKA across Herts, Beds, Cambs and Essex.  We continued with our digital journey, with fully online registration, online payment, digital drawsheets and electronic scoring.  This year we also introduced scorecards for brown and black belt kata in addition to flags for the lower grades, as well as six new categories including orange belt junior freestyle, family team kata and ESKA Squad cadet kata.

The Results

ESKA Club By Number of Golds

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Knebworth9513
St. Albans787
Takeley & Little Canfield467
Hatfield423
Hitchin405
Cambridge357
Ickleford335
Redbourn332
Birchwood317
Stevenage235
Codicote112
Westminster Lodge103
The Ryde032
Duxford025
Ware016
Biggleswade011
Breachwood Green001

ESKA Club by Number of Medals

Gold

Silver

Bronze

Knebworth9513
St. Albans787
Takeley & Little Canfield467
Cambridge357
Ickleford335
Birchwood317
Stevenage235
Hatfield423
Hitchin405
Redbourn332
Duxford025
Ware016
The Ryde032
Codicote112
Westminster Lodge103
Biggleswade011
Breachwood Green001

Pictures

Click on the double arrow bottom right to see larger images.

and here are the action shots

Final Words

Special thanks go to our 32 ESKA Referees, Judges and Officials for their dedication and hard work to make the competition such a success.

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