Seven Dokan girls aged from 12 to 16 took time out to travel to Berlin Germany for Europe’s largest junior karate tournament. I was not exactly sure what to expect, but I thought it may have been similar to the Youth league in Croatia. It was not.


Four year ago, the club competed in Poland. It was our second foreign international, we arrived late Friday night, spent two days in a sports hall and flew home very early Monday morning. What I saw of Poland was on the coach to and from the airport. Nowadays we make a short holiday of our foreign trips and try to get a good sight seeing free day in. Berlin was Fantastic..

Thursday we arrived at the hotel around 6.00 got ready and ate at a nearby restaurant al fresco. Friday we visited Berlin Zoo which has one of the worlds largest collections of animals, it was the best zoo I have ever visited and the kids loved it. I hired a cycle and rode to the registration hotel to pay and register our competitors on Friday teatime, my cycle was an old bone-shaker but I still enjoyed the rides.


Over 70 refs and two table staff on all nine areas meant there was no shortage of officials, just as well with 1550 entries to get through. The refereeing was disappointing with a couple of really bad areas and it was the same as every other competition, good decisions and bad decisions throughout. Saturday was an awful day for me personally as I watched a couple of very bad results, and a couple of my three students mildly underperforming. The third student was simply robbed, and it was for me upsetting as she never even got repechage when she was blatantly either the best or second best in the entire category. Yet again bad luck struck with that decision and the kumite draw for Lola, made it a terrible day karate wise. The exception was of our mid comp walk out to the nearby Charlottenburg Palace, which is magnificent with beautiful gardens, statues and buildings. I really enjoyed that walk.

Sunday. Our 12 to 13-year old’s chance and the day started in a similar vein. The decisions went in favour of neat strong slow kata. Adult style timing had no place here and the athleticism of the competitors carried no sway. Again I was not happy with the results. Emma Snaith won 3 rounds of kata but rushed her final kata and lost the bronze medal. I was more gutted than she was.

Kumite came around and we looked decent, but the standard was very high, and my two light weight girls went out in round one and round two. Katie Hunnam middle weight and Anais Errington heavy weight 12 – 13 years started their own sections. Katie fought an English girl round one and won convincingly, moving well and using good kizama zukis throughout her rounds. Katie also put into play some drills we have been practicing and I could not have been happier with her fighting as she made it to the final. If Katies final had been 20 seconds longer she would have won, her opponent got some early points but by the mid-point the fight had left her, and she was bullied and dominated by Katie for the remainder of the fight. Katie was brilliant, and I was so relieved to have at least one medal on board. 

Sunday night, some folk got happy drunk and we all had a good laugh. Monday was a full-on sight-seeing day and we let the kids do the Berlin dungeon to make up for boring the arses off them with history. (except perhaps Eleisha who likes history).

Monday a long walk and a flight home for an exhausted group of kids and parents. I have said before, competitions and trips away are not just about the karate. Hopefully lifelong friendships are being forged with lovely happy memories to carry together for our Dokan girls.

Berlin for me was a totally enjoyable social gathering.