This year’s BUTF British tournament held on 20thOct at Brunell University, saw the introduction of a team event for coloured belts and the usual individual event for black belts. The number of teams entered by all the clubs exceeded expectations, with 45 teams taking part.
The day started with the presentation of new black belts, the announcement of the newly formed squad, and then a demonstration by a team of black belts, showing some amazing skills. Max, George and Jasmin of Chesham club were all part of this demo team.
Then the tournament began, this time with black belts competing first, then team event after.
The performances of the Chesham students who entered was, as always, enthusiastic, with some very spirited and brave fighting from every one of them. Some of the lower graded coloured belts were sometimes up against a much higher grade from an opposing team. This can be a frightening experience, but they all rose to the occasion, fought hard, and in many cases beat, or drew against their rival.
Each team consisted of 3 members + 1 reserve ( if wanted). The junior teams were based on height. Adult teams were of any weight. All teams consisted of any coloured belt, which meant a yellow tag could face a red belt.
Four teams were entered by Chesham club; 2 junior and 2 adult ( 1male, 1 female). One of the junior teams, in the ‘low’ height division, consisting of Devin Filby (blue), Neilon Pascall (green) and Lochlann Murray (yellow tag) making up the team. Lochlann was smaller than the required height so had moved up a division to be part of the team. This didn’t phase him at all.
Each team competes against another team, first performing a synchronised team pattern, then each member spars an opposing team member. If they make the semi finals each member has to try breaking some boards with a particular designated kick. All the marks are added up and the winners go through. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Chesham’s day even though the lads sparred with such spirit. Lochlann faced a much taller blue belt, but undeterred kept on attacking, and amazingly got a draw, which is a point apiece.
No luck either for the next junior team comprising of Amelia Sugden, Caroline Dent and Amal Shakir. They narrowly won their pattern section and then both girls drew their sparring, but Amal was beaten, so the scores saw them beaten by the narrowest of margins.
The adult teams then started after what had been a long day, but as it turned out, worth the wait. Both the female team of Naj Worrell, Fran Caudery, Fenella Stacey and Claire Hutchings (res.), and the male team of Alex Tinlin, Joe Cruse and Will Gilling all ended up in a fight off for bronze. This really got spirits going and the atmosphere was great. Considering that 5 of the 7 students are only yellow belt. Both Naj and Fenella had some very hard fights but really got stuck in. Both teams performed brilliantly and won the bronze in their respective divisions. At last smiles all round.
Chesham’s 3 black belts, all 2ndDan, also fared very well. 17-year-old Max Whitley, back after a break from training, didn’t disappoint and kept up his impressive record of being unbeaten since he started at the age of 8, taking 2 golds; patterns and sparring. This his first tournament in the adult division, he faced the reigning champion in sparring. During 2 x2 minute hard fought rounds, his stamina held up beautifully and he came out the winner, admitting later he had been apprehensive about fighting the existing champ.. True to form he never gave up!
George Hanchant in the heavier division went through some very tough fights, which included beating two 4th dans, he also got gold. This man has great indomitable spirit and always rises to a challenge.
And Jasmin Hanchant, in a large division of female adults, came away with bronze in patterns and silver in sparring. Having only just been promoted to 2ndDan she had to learn 2 new patterns in order to compete. Amazing achievement.