Members of Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy’s Kung Fu section were selected to join the Shikon National Kung Fu Team competing at The British Council for Chinese Martial Arts (BCCMA) annual Qinda semi contact sparring championships held in Gillingham in Kent.
The BCCMA is the Sport England recognised national governing body for Chinese Martial Arts covering disciplines such as Kung Fu and Tai Chi, both of which are practiced at Shin Gi Tai. The annual championships are a great way for competitors to test their skills within the rules using Kickboxing punches, kicks and strikes along with throws. Unlike an MMA event these rules do not allow groundwork. Each bout was fought over three rounds, each lasting upto 2 minutes. Qinda is the semi contact category and Sanda is the full contact category.
The team included the Basingstoke contingent of:- coaching and competing Bryan Andrews (46) and Mark Nevola (50) along with Harry Cronk (13), Emma Baldry (15), Edward Andrews (9), Peter Syckelmoore (26), Raph Canlas (19) , Sal de Francisci (35), Jamie Venning (21), Paul Gadsden (19), Tom Roe (23) and Richard Dossett (26).
It’s fair to say that there were some nerves from several of the competitors, this being their first Kung Fu competition. As soon as they stepped onto the mats, those nerves went immediately. The event was well run and attended. It was split into ages and weights categories to make it fairer for the competitors.
First up for Basingstoke was Edward Andrews who although only 9 competed in the Under 11 ages category. He fought tremendously well to get through to the semi final stage before narrowly missing out on a Bronze medal coming fourth. He used his speed against bigger opponents to his advantage and got some nice head kicks and throws in on his opponents.
Next up was Emma Baldry fighting in the Under 16 Females. She had a good day quite easily going through to the final with convincing displays of punches, head kicks and throws. In a tight final, Emma was narrowly beaten in the first round, before coming back very strongly to dominate her opponent in the second with a dazzling performance of close quarter throws and kicks. In the interval Emma’s opponent had an asthma attack, the medics decided that she was able to continue. In the last round Emma’s compassionate nature took over and she backed off slightly, this cost her the gold medal, but was a decision she didn’t regret, ending up with a silver medal.
Harry Cronk finished off as the last of the Junior contingent from Basingstoke. Through to the final he used his experience in the first round of his fight to overwhelm his opponent with a barrage of kicks and punches combined with some nice throws to win the round. His opponent, rather energised came out in a determined mood for the second round, needing to win the round to stay in the fight. Harry weathered the initial barrage and came back strongly with a couple of good throws, followed by some hook punches to draw ahead. Having taken the lead from that point on, he never lost and comfortably won the round and in just two rounds he became the Under 14 Under 55Kg Male BCCMA National Qinda Champion. This was Harry’s first Gold medal at a National Level competition, to say he was elated would be an understatement.
We only took three children to this event from Basingstoke, but managed one fourth place, one silver medal and a gold medal.
The adults who received a medal were as follows:-
In the over 18s, unlucky for us two of our fighters were drawn together in the first round with Pete Syckelmoore and Tom Roe competing against one another. In this instance Pete’s experience paid off and he won the bout with a range of dynamic attacks. Peter and Tom fought in the biggest division of the day and there were some very good fighters within it. Peter won his next round with some very exciting techniques including a nice flying kick and some spectacular take downs against his opponent to win that round. Sadly he lost the next round to the eventual winner. They were quite evenly matched, but his opponents greater experience won through, with Pete trying many exciting techniques, but not quite connecting with all of them, it gave his opponent a chance to counter attack and gain points. Peter did come through in the repercharge to win third place and was probably the most exciting fighter of the whole day, he gained some valuable experience.
Raph Canlas was next up and gave a good account of himself against some much more experienced opponents coming through with some good throws. He made good use of his throwing and close range grappling skills but lost at the Qtr final stage. In a bizarre twist the two people who went through to the semi final in his half of the draw were both disqualified leaving an opening for Raf to go through to the final. His opponent was more experienced and used his greater punching and kicking skills to good effect to keep Raph at bay and secure gold, but still a very good performance from him.
We moved onto the veterans categories with our final two team members and coaches. Mark Nevola was first up in the <75k Category. Mark is known for his fast accurate hand and foot techniques. It took him a little while to warm up and to find his feet, so to speak. But when he did he was able to unleash a barrage of kicks and punches against his unsuspecting opponents, his footwork was such that we was able to move in strike, score and retreat to a safe distance before his opponent could react. Mark won through to the Silver Medal position in a very close final which went to three rounds and saw the lead go back and forth between both competitors.
Last up was Bryan Andrews in the Heavyweight Veterans category. It’s fair to say that the first round of the Quarter Finals, Bryan fighting was a bit of a disaster with him getting swept and nearly knocked out, meaning that he convincingly lost the first round. Thankfully in the interval he reassessed his tactics and came out with a different approach, which paid off, with him winning the second and third rounds using some big throws and kicks to tire his opponent out. He went into the semi final and won the first two rounds within a short period using better ring craft to force his opponent to make mistakes. The final of this category was exciting with Bryan unleashing strong, fast accurate hook punches and sidekicks to take the first one. The second round proved to be the final round with Bryan taking the fight to his opponent from the beginning again using a wide range of effective techniques including a nice major hip throw and some outside foot reaps. The only hiccup came part way through the round when after a hook punch the two fighters began to grapple, Bryan forgot the rules and used a knee strike to the stomach, resulting in a warning. The fight restarted with Bryan again taking the initiative going straight into a throw and then finishing the fight off with a combination of hook punch, side kick and outside foot reap. A successful day all in all and another BCCMA National Qinda Champion, this time in the Veterans Heavyweight category.