Karate aces star on national stage

Perfect Motion: Adam Tkacz of the High Peak Kyokushin karate club competes in the kata section of the IKO English Championships at Alfreton Leisure Centre.
Perfect Motion: Adam Tkacz of the High Peak Kyokushin karate club competes in the kata section of the IKO English Championships at Alfreton Leisure Centre.

MEMBERs of a Holloway karate club stood tall on the national stage at the weekend.

On Saturday, students of High Peak Kyokushin attended the IKO English Kyokushin Championships, held at Alfreton Leisure Centre.

The day did not start well for the club with Lee Hancox unable to attend due to a serious foot injury sustained during training last week and Sean Bullas, current British Champion, struck down with a virus that morning.

Both were tipped for first places and were among the strongest competitors in the team. This left eight keen students, most of whom had not competed in a national event before, with some attempting categories they had not tried before as well.

In the absence of Senpais Pete and Kathryn Appleton, who were unable to attend, Adam Tkacz was the senior student from the club and took on the role of team captain. Although unable to compete, Sean Bullas did a stalwart job of coaching the inexperienced fighters and this made a huge difference to the nervous competitors.

The day started with Kata, and with Lee Hancox out of the running (Lee is current British Kata champion), the challenge fell to Adam Tkacz in the senior men’s and Rosanna Scrase in the 16-17 category. Both fell foul of last minute changes to the categories and rules by the organisers, meaning Rosie had to compete in the Senior Women’s instead, and Adam only performed one Kata, but each still managed to gain a creditable fourth place, beaten by a squad of very experienced and talented higher grade black belts.

Then it was on to clicker, very technical point-scoring fighting, and, with maximum numbers of entries, the competition was fierce. Robert Sulley and Archie Neville fought in the 8-9 years category and both did really well.

Archie narrowly missed out on a trophy by coming fourth but Robert fought a really hard battle that left him with an ice pack on his head for the rest of the day but also a second place trophy to show for his efforts.

Archie’s sister Elise was up next in the 10-11 category but had the misfortune to draw her first fight against the competitor who not only beat her but went on to win the event. This was followed by a terrific performance by Oscar Scrase in the 12-13 category who won one and lost one to gain third, and then an incredibly tough battle for Peter Kincaid in the 14-15 category, where he also gained third after some of the hardest fighting seen in this category.

Rosanna Scrase then came forward for the 16-17 event, only to be told that all of the other competitors were boys and her first fight was against a current European champion. Despite this, she bravely stepped up to the mark and even after a bloody nose prevented her continuing, gained a very well earned third place.

Last in the clicker was Rene Bailey in the adult women’s category. Rene, who is attempting her 1st Kyu (one grade below black belt) next month, fought two excellent fights against very different opponents and was victorious in both cases, gaining first place and becoming the first English Champion for the club this year.

The remainder of the day was for knockdown, a category unique to Kyokushin and renowned for its demanding and strenuous nature.

With Sean, Lee and Robert out of the running, it was down to the Neville siblings and team captain Adam Tkacz. Archie fought strongly in the 8-9 category and despite this being his first experience of the event, claimed a well-earned third place.

His sister Elise then stepped up in the 10-11 category and demonstrated control and technical ability, working her way through two very experienced opponents with well placed and perfectly executed head kicks to gain her first place and the become the second English Champion of the day for the club. She is now English national champion after less than six months training with High Peak.

Finally, Adam Tkacz (23) was called up for men’s knockdown. He fought bravely and consistently and was only beaten on points by a veteran opponent from the top London club, still gaining second place and the final trophy for the club. Adam is attempting his black belt in January and this experience and result is invaluable for him.

Senpai Pete Appleton stated: “This was a fantastic set of results for the club. We had limited entrants, due to the fact that the event was during the school holidays and in the middle of the exam period, but still gained two new English champions and a trophy for every single person who competed on the day.

“I am optimistic and keen for even greater rewards and many more trophies at the British Championships, which will be held in Hertfordshire in September.”

High Peak train in Holloway on Mondays and Wednesdays and will be performing a demonstration at the Lea and Holloway carnival on Saturday, June 25.