The most important tournament in the English karate calendar, something we began preparing for as far back as October 2017. Seven months of hard work and preparation, I have never put as much time and effort into anything in my life.

The tournament is open to only those 12-year-old and above, Dokan entered 15 students and as always, our students enter every aspect of karate available. We are neither a fighting nor a kata club, Dokan is an all-round karate club excelling in both aspects of karate.

14 to 17-year-old team kata requires bunkai (kata application) like the re-enactment of a staged fight to demonstrate the different techniques throughout the kata and how they can be interpreted. This is a very time-consuming element to teach and set up. Dokan had two teams entered so two separate bunkai required. The amount of time and effort the six girls put into preparing for this is almost indescribable, seven month of practicing and prepping only to find on the day it was not required. Both teams went out in the quarter finals and neither got to show off the fruits of their labour. It has not been a pointless exercise, as the girls now have a new karate skill to add to their repertoire and they can if they choose to use the same bunkai next year which after another year of practice and tweaking should be even better.

 The squad itself performed at its peak throughout the day despite some very unfavourable draws no one had a negative attitude and yet again our Dokan spirit was paramount. We finished the day 3rd on the medal table from the 59 clubs/ associations that entered. This is a fantastic achievement up against the best and larger associations in the country. With just a smidgen of luck we could have finished top.

EVE PALMER = You would think Eve was jinxed she was so unlucky on the day, but despite this she performed at her peak and looked classy in kata. Eves kumite has taken on a new element too and she appears to be getting better and better.

ELEISHA MITCHINSON = Eleisha like Eve carried no luck, and the same as Eve she still won 3 bronze medals. Robbed in both team kata and team fighting Eleisha fought hard and lost only one fight all day by just one point.

KATIE HUNNAM = Kumite, she looked strong, tough and competent beating some quality opponents. Katie narrowly lost just prior to medals but was part of our gold winning fighting team.

Those mentioned above excelled on the day, but the entire club looked fantastic, Emma Snaith had the flu, Lewis was vomiting and there were one or two other minor upsets but overall everyone had a good day.

The one downside to the comp was finals at the end of the day. Anyone who believes it is a good idea to prolong a tournament by 3 to 4 hours is deranged and has no idea of what people actually want. Bad move here EKF and rather selfish forcing people to stay by refusing to give them their medals till after the finals. 

The journey to Leicester in my car was itself an experience with 4 singing teenagers belting the tunes out the journey flew by despite an hour delay. We did have a toilet and chip shop stop at Wetherby on route and followed with a second stop for a game of Laser Quest and air hockey. The evening was spent at an Italian restaurant booked by Angela Snaith. Sunday returning home, I again had 4 girls in my car, this time the stops were for a game of ten pin bowling and a Macdonalds before heading to Durham to hire a boat and stroll round the cathedral. This topped of my favourite weekend of 2018 so far with the company of four of the lovely Dokan girls.