Instructor Master Thomas Denis accompanied by Miss Julie Fagg took a group of their students to compete at the GTI British Championship that took place on Sunday 7th November at the leisure@cheltenham sports centre, Cheltenham. Among the students that went, were present and former ITF England team members Piotr Capaja, Zak Espi, Matt Cadle, Eryk Kopan and Michael Pernikis. This competition gave the students the opportunity to compete in patterns, point sparring as well as continuous sparring.
First up was Huong Nguyen and she continued her recent impressive showing in competitions across Europe, when she gained a gold medal for Green Belt Senior Patterns. Next up were the blue belts and ETA had 3 representatives in this event. They were Katarzyna Rozwadowska, Pawel Mastalski and Leon Pernikis. It proved to be a successful event as the three of them beat the rest of the field to gain gold, silver and bronze respectively. Christopher Denis and Nermeen Hilton were our next competitors to enter the fray and this was the first time the two of them were competing as junior black belts, having only been promoted at the end of September. Christopher made a slight mistake in his pattern which resulted in him not making an impression in the boys section and Nermeen was able to gain a silver medal in the girls section. In the senior black belt division our competitors who took part were at a severe disadvantage due to only being either 1st or 2nd degrees, they were competing against grades as high as 4th degrees. Nevertheless they gave it a good go and did their best. It must be noted that the medallist in the patterns from Docklands school did exceptionally well as the GTI perform patterns that are old style ITF.
Point fighting was next on the agenda and since we don not practice this type of sparring that often there were no expectations. Pawel went through the round easily defeating his opponents with well placed shots and earned a deserved gold in blue belt heavy division even though he was much lighter than his opponents. In the same division Leon fought well but lost out in the semi-final before winning the fight off for a bronze medal. In the continuous sparring both Leon and Pawel fought their way through the rounds before facing off for the gold medal. With some excellent footwork and good counter attacks, Leon won the bragging rights although Pawel scored with some good kicks late in the bout to make the decision very close.
Once again much was expected of Nermeen even though she is only 13 she has matured into a good fighter. She was up against girls much older and in the point fighting her lack of experience in this type of bout showed as she was beaten in the semi-final then bronze medal fight off. In the continuous she was able to dominate the competition and easily record wins on her way to winning gold.
Katarzyna managed to battle her way to 2 silver medals in point and continuous sparring catching her opponent with some good shots. The result of both final bouts were in doubt right until the final few seconds.
Docklands had 5 black belt male competitors competing in 3 divisions. In the heavy weight division was Zak Espi former European Champion and World Cup vice champion and Darren Stewart making his debut in black belt sparring competitions.
In the point sparring, Darren’s reward for beating the first guy in front of him was a match up with Zak who easily dispatched his opponent. This was to prove too hard a task as Zak defeated Darren pretty much the same way as he had the previous guy and then the next guy-most by a minimum of 8 point- with many kicks to the head to win all the bouts easily. Not bad as Zak did not want to fight in the point sparring competition as he did not like point sparring. Darren went on to win the bronze medal quite easily winning by a margin of 8 points. In the continuous sparring Darren progressed to the semi-final before losing to his much taller opponent. He easily won the fight off for bronze. Zak outclassed everyone he faced even the other finalist winning each match comprehensively.
Light weight division was to see Matt Cadle 2007 World champion makes his entrance into the competition as he does not do patterns at competitions. Point sparring was started and Matt completely outclassed his opponents to meet fellow ETA member Nathan Smith in the final. Having recently joined the ranks of seniors from the junior division Nathan fought very well even though the final was one sided on the scoring side. Gold to Matt. Continuous sparring was to be a recurrence of the point sparring competition, where Matt made his way to the final despatching everyone in front of him with ease and met Nathan once again in the final. Matt proved a worthy winner.
The middle weight division saw Michael Pernikis make his return to ITF competition. Since the 2007 Junior Worlds in Canada, Michael has been at University so has not been able to maintain his National Team spot. Eryk Kopan was also to compete in this division. In the earlier rounds of point sparring Michael used superior techniques to win thru to the semi final but he was to lose in a closely contested bout by the margin of 5-4, and then lose the fight off for bronze to Eryk, who had won thru to the semi final before losing a heated exchange. The continuous sparring saw no change of luck for Michael as once again he got thru to the semi-final before losing that bout as well as the fight off for bronze. Eryk progressed thru to the final but having accumaletd official warnings in the earlier bouts he was to get disqualified and therefore not receive any medal.
Docklands would like to thank Caroline Cawtherley for her support of the competitors and also the GTI for their invitation to their British Championships.
List of Medal Winners:
Below shows Leon, Katarzyna and Pawel posing with medals