Posts Tagged ‘World Karate Championships’


Written by bryan. Posted in Competition



After months and months of hard training, fundraising, competition practise and organising it was finally time to go. Here’s a day by day breakdown of my unforgettable trip to Brazil with the England Karate Team to compete in the World Karate Championships 2014.

Day 1: Having met up with other members of the England Karate Team at 4am on a chilly Sunday morning we flew off to Rio with a quick stop in Amsterdam. The flights were long but good company made the time fly and we landed in the hustle bustle of Rio at 10pm UK time (6pm local time). It was fascinating en-route to the hotel to see some of the local area, from a far off view of Christ the Redeemer statue to the local roadside poverty stricken Favelas. The hotel was in an ‘interesting’ looking area and we were advised by the clerk to not leave the hotel grounds which given how tired we all were suited us fine. Communication was tricky but we eventually managed to all get checked in and grab something to eat before falling into bed ready for another early start.

Day 2: Up at 5am to head back to the airport, traffic was awful and made the M25 on a IMG_2264bad
day look easy! Luckily we left plenty of time and just managed to make the flight on to our final destination of Iguassu Falls near the Argentinian border. We arrived at 2.30pm and were eager to finally reach our hotel for the next 7 days, unpack and settle in. The hotel was basic but clean and had a nice pool area which, as tempting as swimming and sunbathing would be, we were all quick to utilise as a training space! That evening the team met up and went by taxi’s to the Stadium where the competition was being held. It was nerve wracking walking in there for the first time, seeing how large it was and getting a feel for standing in the competition area when it was eerily quiet, knowing full well that
in 4 days time when we re-entered it was going to be very different. Practise was tough, it was very hot and we were all still tired from travelling but it felt good to be ‘in the zone’ and getting mentally and physically prepped for the competition. After training we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and dinner before bed.

IMG_2098Day 3: 4am and I’m wide awake thanks to jet lag!! Today we were going to visit the longest chain of waterfalls in the World, take a walk through the jungle and a boat ride under the falls. We were up early for breakfast and had an amazing day, the waterfalls were beautiful and when you’re underneath them in a small boat quite exhilarating too! Personally, I wasn’t so keen on the jungle walk but then anyone who knows me will be well aware of my spider phobia and apparently they can be rather large in Brazil! Thankfully I didn’t see any spiders but we did see some of the other local wildlife which was great. We headed back to the hotel mid-afternoon and spent a couple of hours training on kata and kumite before dinner and bed.


Day 4: 4am and wide awake…. Again!!  We were going to Argentina to see the waterfalls from the top today. It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen. Walkways ran across the top of the falls so in places we got very damp from all the spray and it gave us a whole new perspective on the power of nature! It was great to be able to spend some time socially with other members of the team and get to know them better. Mid afternoon we headed back to the hotel again for some training. My focus was working on team kata with my fellow teammates Tricia Jordan and Lynne Aston.

Day 5: Waking up at 4am everyday is really taking its toll and I’m shattered! Nerves really start kicking in today as the start of the competition is looming. Lots of fine tuning on the training and a visit to one of the other official hotels where registration and weigh in is taking place. All the team made the correct weights on weigh in, showed passports to the officials to confirm eligibility to compete for England and all entries have been confirmed. There are lots of other competitors in attendance for registration as well so it gave us our first look at who we may be up against. Back to the stadium in the evening for the Opening ceremony. This involves all competitors marching into the stadium behind their national flag and presenting themselves to the officials. Lots of official speeches were made (not all were easy to understand due to the different nationalities) and then we were treated to an impressive demonstration of team kata and bunkai by the Brazillian mens and womens teams.

Day 6: First day of competition. The hardest part of the day was waiting, we were up early and feeling nervous but the team events didn’t start until 4pm so it was a fine balance today to keep occupied but not overdo it. Some light practice, lunch and a final bag check to make sure that everything was packed and ready to go then we were off! When we arrived at the stadium there were lots of other competitors already there and the atmosphere was friendly but intense. Everyone was ready to compete and keen to get underway. England had teams in most events including, womens and mens rotation, womens and mens sanbon, mens ippon and ippon rotation and womens kata. Despite everyone’s best efforts by the end of the evening the feeling was that we had underperformed and only had 3 of the teams through to the finals on Sunday. These were the mens ippon, mens ippon rotation and womens kata teams. The kata team were headed into the finals in 4th place which was a good result as the competition organisers chose to mix senior and veteran teams which made the competition a lot more difficult than last year. Although a gold or silver was unlikely a bronze medal was within reach – lots to work on before Sunday to make sure we got it! By the end of the evening there were more than a few bumps and bruises to show for the teams efforts and some low spirits to contend with. The standard of competitors was impressively high and it’s easy to let this eat away at your confidence, however we were all keen to step up our game for the individual events the next day and do our best to bring home the medals.

IMG_2250Day 7: Second day of competition. Very early start for me as kata competitors needed to be ready to start at 8.30am. This meant that we were away from the hotel at 7.30am to allow time to get to the venue, get changed and warm-up. Not that that was too much of a problem for me as I was still managing to wake up at 4am anyway! England had 3 competitors in the female veterans kata (including myself). All did well with Tricia Jordan going through to the finals in 6th place, Lisa Lethridge going through in joint 4th place and me in 1st place with a 0.1 lead over the next competitor from Brazil. I performed Seienchin kata and overall was fairly happy with my performance although the group was mixed kata styles and I felt like the Shotokan katas seemed to be scoring generally better than Shitoryu which meant I needed to make some tough decisions as to which kata to perform in the finals. Kumite events were all being held in the afternoon and I really enjoyed watching and supporting all the England competitors in their events. I’m happy to say we had a really successful day overall with 7 of the team making finals day in individual events. The atmosphere was amazing – the Argentinians, Brazillians and Italians were particularly vocal in support of their teams and the noise was tremendous! The mosquitos and wasps were out in force too which was not so pleasant! It was so lovely to escape the stadium that evening and head back to the hotel for a shower. Most of the team ended up in the pool as a makeshift ice bath to ease tired, sore muscles, bumps and bruises. So far things had felt tough and we all knew tomorrow was going to be the hardest yet.


IMG_2235Day 8: Final competition day. I don’t think I slept at all during the night, I have never felt so nervous in my life! To go into the finals in first place is a good feeling but it was a very small lead and I knew if I chose the wrong kata to perform or made a tiny mistake my dreams of being World Champion for a second time would be over. Having spoken to Sensei Ian Cuthbert, I decided that I would stick with my favourite kata Anan, I would perform it the way I have trained and not try and second guess what the judges were wanting to see.

It was very tense waiting for my event to be called, we were asked to draw a number from a bag to decide what order we would compete in and unlucky for me I was number 6. This meant I had to wait and watch all the other competitors go ahead of me. I spent most of the time pacing the floor at the edge of the competition area and it was very difficult to hold my nerve and not lose my confidence when the others performed and scored well, I knew I was going to have to do a faultless kata if I was going to win.  I remember feeling like I was shaking like a leaf when my name was called and I stepped on the mat but all the hard training kicked in and it was like going on auto-pilot, my body knew what to do and at the end I felt like I had done well, but would it be good enough? Scores were called and they seemed quite good but I didn’t know what all the other competitors had received so still didn’t know the final result.

When it was over all the finalists for the event lined up at the side of the mat. Placings were called out in reverse order from fourth to first. When they called out second place and it wasn’t me I knew I’d either done really badly and blown it completely or got the gold. I have to say hearing my name called out and realising I’d done it was such a huge relief, I was ecstatic!! Medals would be given out at the medal ceremony later in the day but I was so happy that it was over and I’d done it, I didn’t actually care about the medal at that point! I still had the team kata final to do but I felt like a massive weight had been lifted and I can honestly say I really enjoyed getting back on the mat for the team event. We pulled our best effort out and managed a bronze medal with a good performance of Niseishi which really rounded off the event for me in the best way possible. The other English finalists did really well in their events with a gold medal for Lynne Aston in the veterans kumite, a silver for Shauna Carroll in the senior female kumite, gold for Garrick Eastwood and Dan Cuthbert for mens individual kumite in their respective weight categories and two further gold medals for the mens ippon and ippon rotation teams.

IMG_2261The medal ceremony was long and I just remember grinning like a Cheshire cat when my turn came to stand on the podium. By the end I think each and every one of the team was more than ready to head back to the hotel, sit by the pool and then go out and celebrate an amazing day.

Coming home: The day after the competition ended we were up early once again and headed back to the airport. We were all shattered but it felt good to not have the stress and pressure of competition anymore. We landed back in Rio early afternoon and spent the next two days enjoying some of the local sights. I walked along Copacabana beach, took the cable car up Sugar Loaf Mountain and went up the mountain to see the Christ the Redeemer statue. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to go and compete, see the places I did and have such an amazing experience but it was really good to come home and see my family and friends. Now back to training hard ready for the next one 😉


Christ the Redeemer Copecabana beach Tabletop mountain












Written by Lindsey Andrews




Competition update – Italy Day 1

Written by bryan. Posted in Competition

End of the first full day in Caorle in Italy for the Cadets and Junior’s World Karate Championships. Fair to say that the five of us are a little tired.


As a recap to yesterday, we arrived in the resort at around 12:30, quick lunch and then training at 2:30, all fighting related. Although we did do some individual Kata work after the main squad session had finished. The evening training was cancelled, because all the kids and most of the adults looked too tired to do anything sensible. I did spare a thought for the referees, an all day seminar on the rules. Mark, Geoff and Michael did a good job and are good for us to ask tough questions about the rules to provide some clarification.


An early breakfast at 7:30 for some of us, well at least 4 of us. Then meeting at 9:30 for kata practice working on Bassai Dai before the main squad session in the morning. Only a small amount of fine tuning and both were off working hard. We only focussed on this one, as it’s the first one for both of them to perform.


In the main squad session Phil Patrick from Oxford led a good warm up and went though some good partnerwork which covered reaction drills and speed drills with the team, both Ed and Jess are looking sharp. Ed was so confident that he decided to invent a new kick ‘the Winky Geri’ suffice to say it worked. Both times against me 8-( I’ve also have picked up some new ideas as well to test out.
Good team spirit with the team and lots of support from all the coaches and the parents present, I haven’t counted up exactly, but I think there’s around 80 of us from England. Nice to see from friends from Wales in the shape of Steve Wellington and Luke Howard and also from Northern Ireland with Dave Brashaw and his team.


As a team we then had to go and register , with 800 ish competitors from 21 Countries having to register over , the logistics to get them all weighed and verified as been the person on their passport was exhaustive to say the least. Finally after 2 hours of queuing we made it to the end and it was time for a quick lunch.


I attended the coaches session this afternoon and that was useful to attend to find out some of the future plans and also get some last minute reminders about the rules. Ian Cuthbert and Abdu Shaher will be getting the various category lists tomorrow morning, so we’ll find out who the competition is then.


Almost the last thing was the opening ceremony, was nice to see so many proud kids walking behind the flags of their respective countries. The acoustics in the hall made hearing the opening speeches difficult though but it was good to see Vic Charles from England being part of this . The opening ceremony rounded off with some demonstrations including one very good ballet performance and another, which although had good dancing, saw most of us surprised at the clothing worn by the youngsters performing.  A short demonstration of Iaido was interesting to watch and what I think was an Italian hypnotist who proceed to ‘hypnotise’ members of the Italian squad.


Finally time at 8:40 to start on dinner and then up to bed. Breakfast at 7:30, maybe even I’ll join them this time and then kata work at 9:00.

The World Championships start at 4:00pm tomorrow with the team events, here we go.


Double World Karate Champion

Written by bryan. Posted in News

 Gold Medal, Karate England, World Championships, Karate club from Basingstoke wins gold, Karate in Brighton Hill, Karate in Hatch Warren, Karate in

Basingstoke Karate coaches with Abdu Shaher 8th Dan, Karate England Performance Director

Three of the Coaches from Basingstoke’s Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy took part in the World Karate Championships in Slovenia over the weekend of 7-9th June. The Competition was open to national federations and had over 20 nations attending.

Lindsey Andrews (38) Mark Nevola (49) and Bryan Andrews (45) have been training since January with this competition in mind, everything geared up to this. Their first competition of the year at the end of January at The British International Open Karate Championships produced two gold medals for Lindsey and One for Mark whilst Bryan won a Bronze after an enforced break from competition through injury. The Karate Sport England National Championships at the end of March produced another Gold Medal for Lindsey and Silvers for both Mark and Bryan in their quest for success. They have also entered a number of regional level competitions again winning plenty of medals including competitions in Berlin and Istanbul for Mark. Part of their training process was to analyse their performance and to understand what lessons could be learned and applied from each competition.

In the final six weeks leading upto the competition, additional sacrifices had to be made with competition specific training needing to be increased to 3-5 hours per day. Numerous road trips to go and train with national coaches including Ian Cuthbert, (Coach to Karate England National Squad) and to attend National Squad Training sessions have taken place. These were in addition to their regular and additional training sessions in the club.

Lindsey has been juggling being a mother of three boys (aged 8, 11 and 13), running a very successful professional Martial Arts Club, teaching her classes and doing her own training. So the majority of her practice has been during the daytime using her club’s facilities to practice her Kata, again and again until all the kinks had been ironed out both individually and also with her teammates. Mark and Bryan have spent hours together and with other members of the Shin Gi Tai Competition squad practicing both for their Kata events and also for the fighting. Mark is a Deputy Head Teacher at a Hampshire school, so his time is at a premium, but he got up early and went to bed late in his quest for success and made good use of the half term holiday to arrange some additional training. Bryan is Lindsey’s husband and also runs Shin Gi Tai Martial Arts Academy with her. Like Lindsey he also made the time to train himself for several hours a day. All three competitors spent a long time helping each other and giving feedback on what and how they could improve.

National Squad training, Commitment in Training, Elite, Athlete, Pylometric, Karate squad, The majority of the England Squad arrived at their hotel late on the Wednesday evening in Portoroz, Slovenia, just in time to have a light dinner and then go to bed.  We started the final preparations the following day at the first of the Squad training sessions run by Abdu Shaher 8th Dan. The first session focussed on timing and explosive footwork and for those members taking part in the Kata, working on making their movements smoother and ‘cleaner.’  A Mid afternoon break and a wander around the nearby Marina helped to maintain the energy before Ian Cuthbert 7th Dan ran the second session of the day, which was a very high energy reaction based class working on being able to react instantly to the movements of an opponent. In the Kata we focussed on deepening our stances and the transitions between techniques. It has to be said that a number of the Kata competitors decided to get to the squad training session 45 minute early, so that they could do some additional practice together. The Friday  morning saw us going through our final squad training session led by Dan Cuthbert, with teammates partnering up to practice their favourite techniques and stretch out. The Kata competitors got down to refining their Kata and once again the Ladies team of Lindsey Andrews, Lynne Aston and Tricia Jordan were up and at it early to really make the best of their chances.

Friday evening arrived and all the team events took place, it’s fair to say that after the opening ceremony there were lots of nervous looking competitors. Overall England did well though with quite a few teams going through to the final across all of our disciplines.

Ladies Karate, Veterans Karate, Karate team, basingstoke ladies karate, self defence for women in Basingstoke,

We had competitors in the Men’s Veteran’s Fighting (Mark Nevola, Jeremy Bass and Bryan Andrews) and Ladies Kata (Lindsey Andrews, Lynne Aston and Tricia Jordan) In the first of the men’s events the team fought a very determined Slovenia and lost their semi final match, so had to be content with a Bronze Medal. In their next event, they made it through to the final on the Sunday morning. The ladies team were on fire and at the end of the semi final, they carried a convincing lead through to the final.

Saturday saw the individual events and the whole of the England team, stepped up their game. Lindsey was up first in the individual Shito Ryu kata (Karate Kata competitions are split into different styles of Karate) She performed Seienchin in the semi finals, a Kata that she has previously used to good  effect and this time was no different, at the end of this round, she lead the competitors going through to the finals by 0.7 of a mark. The finalists combine their scores from the final and semi final to determine the winner. This makes things harder for them, because they have to excel over two rounds. Mark didn’t make it through to the final this time, he came a respectable 8th in his category, which is a very good result considering he only started entering Kata competitions late last year. Bryan came through his Kata category in third place despite a small wobble that cost him 0.5 of a mark.

After a light lunch, it was time for the individual fighting events. We saw some excellent fighting from our team mates to take them through to the finals. In his individual fighting event, Bryan came in 4th place, just missing out on a medal against some tough and determined opponents who dished out a few lumps and bumps during the matches including a torn hamstring and badly bruised foot. Mark was next up and he won through to the finals of his event quite convincingly with a range of different kicks and punches.

Sunday was finals day with all the finalists under pressure to win the elusive Gold Medals. The morning came and the final were due to start at 9:00, but they actually started at 8:50 with Lindsey’s category starting the proceedings. The number of matted areas had been reduced for the finals to allow the spectators to follow as much of the action as they could, so no pressure for Lindsey, who had to go on first in her division, with all eyes on her. It is often considered a disadvantage for a competitor to get drawn first as typically the judges will give an average core and mark others up or down from there. Lindsey had chosen Anan as her ‘favourite’ kata and six months of hard work and polish really showed here with a very polished performance. In the final, the average score was set at 8.00 with normal variations to go from 7.00 to 9.00. Lindsey’s scores from the five judges were 8.5, 8.5, 8.3, 8.4 and 8.5 which combined with the scores from the previous round, meant she had an unassailable lead, probably. After a nail biting 10 minutes, after all the other competitors had been, she was indeed the Ladies Veteran’s Shito Ryu World Kata Champion and Gold Medallist. The first medal for Shin Gi Tai at a world level and it was Gold, a very high standard to follow.

Bryan was next up in the Men’s Shotokan category, also up first in his category, but he produced a very good rendition of his Mens Veterans Shotokan Kata, Kata, Bassai Sho, JKA, Brighton Hill, Chikara Karate, favourite kata Gojushiho Dai. In this instance though it wasn’t quite good enough to win him a medal, but he had improved upon his position at the European championships.

Next up was the fighting and Mark was our first competitor, competing against our England Team mate Rob Ward. Both are very experienced fighters and know each very well. The fight started tentatively with both fighters trying to feel the other one out and spot any mistakes to capitalise on. Mark picked up the pace and was first to score with a rapid side step and roundhouse kick combination. The fight carried on and it was very close, but at the end Mark was just pipped into second place.

The ladies Veteran’s Kata team came up next and produced a polished performance of their favourite Kata Seienchin to win the final and become Gold Medallists and World Champion.

Our last event as a club was in the Veterans’ Rotation Kumite  to fight for the Gold Medal. Basically the bout lasts six minutes and the coach has to rotate his fighters so that each of them has a minimum of 30 seconds of fighting time. We faced the Italian team, who had been on form all weekend. Sadly they proved too strong / too fast for us and they defeated us to win the Gold medal.


Our Total Medal tally was

Lindsey Andrews

– Gold Medal and World Champion – Ladies Veterans Shito Ryu Kata

– Gold Medal and World Champion – Ladies Team Veterans Kata


Mark Nevola

– Silver in Veterans C Group – Sambon Shobu Kumite

– 8th in Veterans C Group Shotokan Kata

– Silver in Veterans Team Rotation Kumite

– Bronze in Veterans Team Sambon Shobu Kumite

Bryan Andrews

– 4th in Veterans B Group Sambon Shobu Kumite

– 6th in Veterans B Group Shotokan Kata

– Silver in Veterans Team Rotation Kumite

– Bronze in Veterans Team Sambon Shobu Kumite




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