Frank Bowden Memorial Taikai 10th September 2011

The morning started with a brave attack on the one way systems of Birmingham (helped by a taxi driver who seemed to be making up the directions as he went along). Eventually we all met at the hall in Birmingham for The Frank Bowden Memorial Taikai, a team (5 people) event.

Our teams were:
Hizen A: Nick Davey, Jeff Martin, Clayon Stewart, Phil Wilson and Satoshi Miyamura.
Hizen B: Chi Fung, Steve McDonald, Nari Arjan, myself and “Frank” Fai Fung.

In what, I am informed, is something of a tradition, the normal pool system was eschewed for a new spangly made up one. The result was 4 pools of four grouped into 2 shiai-jo. Points were awarded for wins and ippon and each shiai-jo of 2 pools competed together on points and the top 4 teams on each shiai-jo went through to the next round.

Our (Hizen B) first match was against an aggressive Tora team. Chi and Steve came out very strongly in their fights however, with the opponents keen to block and come into tsuba-zeriai it was hard to clinch a point. Nari came out third and having noticed that they were blocking a lot he employed ni-dan waza and scored a lovely kote-dou. I was up next and again struggled to find a point against an opponent keen to stay close. In our taisho slot was Frank who now needed a 2 point win, but once again was tied up close and then injured when his wrist was twisted in a strange tsuba-zeriai tangle.

Without anyone to kiss Franks wrist better (Nari’s expert ministrations notwithstanding) he just had to get on with it.
Our next match was a Welsh team, once again our team looked controlling but seemed to struggle to get the points and overall was another close loss.

We had one fight left against UCL and despite thinking that we’d be eliminated (due to losing 2 out of 3 matches) we decided to pull ourselves together and make a good fight of it.
So with one last hurrah we put in a 10 point victory over UCL. Frank even cameoed some Jodan for one point (citing his painful right wrist and not show-boating as the reason).

In the mean time on the other court Hizen A had dominated all their matches and sailed through the “pool” phase without an issue.

With the pools over we went to see the eliminations and to our surprise Hizen B were through (due to the point system our 10 ippons against UCL had pushed us back up the board). Even more to our surprise our next match was against Hizen A. It was clear that being from the same club meant very little in this fight. All the matches were close, never separated by more than a point.
Unfortunately (for Hizen B) Hizen A had the better of us in the end taking the match 3-2

So now Hizen A were through to the semi-finals against Taiseidokai (Glasgow). In a match of contrasting styles ,the more aggressive and frenetic Taiseidokai against a more measured Hizen team, both struggled to get a decisive advantage. In the end both teams wins, losses and draws being equal as well as their points it meant that it would be a representative match.
So, considering the role of the representative, Satoshi picked Clay to fight against D J Henderson. It was a long fight and it was clear that Clay’s opponent was getting tired.
However, in a strange reversal of the norm Clay was disarmed, fortunately the boxing instincts kicked in as he sidestepped a few cuts.
After resuming the fight he quickly tried to take back the initiative and landed a very crisp kote-men but as he went through his opponent floored him so the point was scored. Peculiarly Henderson seemed in some pain after this (it later transpired he’d injured his foot somehow).
Sensing his opponent wasn’t moving much, Clay kept up the offensive but couldn’t seem to convince the shinpan and in the end a debana kote was given against him.

So congratulations to Hizen A for getting 3rd place overall!!

(PS – If anyone has any pictures can they send me a couple for this post as I can’t find any!!)