YORKSHIRE OPEN FEBRUARY 2017. Now the Kyu grades were busy but they have 8 areas and lots of refs, the Yorkshire have 7 areas and not all are full size and a distinct shortage of quality refs, so these days are very different but the standard was as good at both. It is nice to compete at the highest standards but sometimes it’s even nicer just to have a few easy wins. There seems to be little of this nowadays but our kids were amazing and pulled off their usual personal best performances. This day turned out to be epic in more ways than one.

We left early at 5.45am and just as well too as the coach or should I say fridge on wheels with its jammed on air conditioning was running on kangaroo juice and as we bounced our way down the A19 a feeling of imminent disaster began to build in me. By the time we hit Wetherby we were hitting the hills at 5 MPH. The coach struggled on to Wooley edge services where it gave up and died of old age I believe.  What happened next was a Dokan equivalent of Dunkirk as nine cars that had made the journey to Barnsley done a dry land evacuation of Wooley edge and came to pick everyone up. I got a taxi and arrived first to meet the organiser. Thanks to Tracy Fellows for ringing the cabs.  So the day began in the most bizarre of circumstances and as soon as I walked through the doors I knew the event would not finish on schedule.

Enough of the negativity though as positive things kept happening on the tatami, which is the matted area. There were some fabulous individual kata from Olivia Fellows / Lola Cassidy / Eve Palmer / Emma Snaith / Isobel Pye and Hannah Nicholson. I am sure there were more but I did not see everyone and these all stood out to me as having improved massively of late. But the star of the day was Anais Errington who took 3 gold medals and one bronze which included winning both her individual events. Now that is an exceptional performance and she was the only person on the day to win three gold medals..

Another great victory for the club was the 7 year old girls kumite fighting where seven little Dokan angels dominated the area winning all four medals. The final was fought between twin sisters Grace and Emily Young. I really did enjoy this section. But lots of our kids fought courageously and it was kumite progress I was pleased about and the bravery of the Dokan kids. My hard line words of don’t be soft in the club have paid off.

Dokan pulled out of the last event for us at 7.45 nearly two hours later than I had promised the coach company. Only to find the replacement coach had broken down even before we boarded it. The driver managed to get it started but 30 miles up the motorway we broke down again. The trauma continued as we sat 2 hours in the dark on a chilly bus waiting for a rescue coach to locate us and take us home.

With my man flu kicking in, the fatigue of the day and the hassles and pressure I had experienced I deemed the entire thing a disaster on an unprecedented scale and I could not understand how everyone seemed to be so jolly. The following day in the club, kids were talking about the great adventure of breaking down in the dark. Most loved the tournament and things didn’t seem so bad in the light of day.

 This is why Dokan is unique, I attract kids with grit and determination, I nurture their ambition and develop skill and self-belief and toughen them up. Dokan kids are the best of the best, in the clubs we forge their character but without parental support it goes nowhere. Luckily Dokan parents are the best of the best too and can sit on a dark cold coach for two hours after a long stressful day and make light of the entire thing.