As the first term dawned on the members of Lancaster University’s Karate Club other things were also brewing for the cohort. The academic year began with the HDKI National Championships for the members of LUKC. Many of the team picked karate up while studying at Lancaster and this was to be one of the biggest tournaments they had ever competed in. Others like Ryan and Callum had more experience, having found themselves on the competition circuit more than a couple of times. Aimee and myself took on another of many competitions, however summer had left us a little out of shape. After a great performance from the club at Roses we had even more to prove as the club took to the national stage for the first time. There was a lot of competition and it was a big challenge to bring home some medals for LUKC, but it was very successful with the small team of 5 bringing home a total of 7 medals all either gold or silver.

Ryan Cooper took to the mat first; competing in the 18+ Men’s 3rd Kyu and above Kata category. His first Kata proved very popular with the referees taking him into the second round where again he performed very well. Confident and poised he made his way into the semi-final unfairly missing out on a gold medal. Ryan made his way to the medal podium to claim his silver medal, already preparing for his next category. Aimee was next on the mat in the 18+ Women’s 3rd Kyu and above Kata category, unfortunately she missed out on a medal but completed her kata to a very high standard.

Next, for the Lancaster team, came the Kumite rounds. Each competitor would have to face at least two fights to make their way into the final, fighting for 2 minutes. If they scored two half points or one full point they would automatically win their fight and make their way into the next round. Ryan Cooper took to the mat again anxious to take home a gold medal. His fight was intense, and Ryan delivered, making his way into the final once again. Ryan’s final performance was exciting to watch, and his win was a big boost to the Lancaster University team.

Callum Croft put on an excellent display against fierce opposition and found his way into the final. The fight was close and a great display of Lancaster pride. Callum held his own, however his opponent landed a perfectly timed hook kick to the head which left Callum taking the silver medal.

It was now my turn to face the mat, I faced many excellent opponents and was warned by coaches how good my final competitor was. It was great to be back on the mat again and an extra privilege to take home a gold medal to add to the collection.  After winning in our categories, Ryan and I were selected to fight in the team event against Ireland where competitors on either side were matched. There were five on each side in total and the first two fights saw England and Ireland equal for wins. England took home the glory with 3 wins to 2 leaving the Irish side ready to take the title from us at the next competition.