From April to August, starting at the height of the lockdown, British Judo U16 players were invited to enter the first British Shadow Kata Championships.
Filmed in empty dojos, in family lounges or on the lawn across the country, players had to present the second set of Nage-no-kata, with opening and closing bows, as if they had an imaginary partner.
Judges were Duncan Kinnear, Llyr Jones, Paul Jordan from the British Kata Group which is reviving British Kata, and BJA Senior Kata Examiner and former GB International Kata competitor, Martin Savage. The judges were impressed with the efforts of the young players, particularly 11 year-old Isabel Dodd, who scored the second highest of all the age bands behind Jake Ashen, with Anna Elliott also scoring well.
In the U14 age band, Peter Wilson narrowly edged out Alannah Martin in another high-scoring category.
Jake Ashen, who won the U16 section not too far ahead of Deryn Allen-Dyer, also took the gold at the last British Kata Championships in Gonosen-no-kata and was also 2019 British Schools Champion in shiai (contest judo), showing that contest judo players can also be kata players.
Andrew Haffner, BJA Board Member who set up the Kata Group, commended all entries, “It’s actually more difficult than you might imagine to perform kata solo, trying to compensate for not having the resistance of a real partner. It was an interesting exercise! Thanks to the judges for their work.”
The medallists in all three age bands will be receiving their medals in the post shortly.
Congratulations to all of our medalists: