This past weekend I attended the 2014 Gold Cup Open Karate Tournament in Quebec, presented by The Ohan Brothers Dojo. I went as part of my dojo, and we had some members competing. This was my first time at such an event, and I was really looking forward to it. It was a long drive from Toronto to Lavel, Quebec, but it was fun and gave me an opportunity to get to know my teammates even better.
After arriving late and heading to bed, we awoke early and got ready for the tournament. I really didn’t know what to expect once I arrived. I had only seen tournament highlights to this point, usually on youtube, of various events.
The morning began with kata, and we had a couple of kids who were competing. While waiting I was taking in as much as I could. It was organized chaos. The energy of the event was intense, with people warming up, waiting to compete, friends, family, etc. I was really getting into it and part of me wished I was competing as well.
While both of the kids did very well in their kata, the older of the two took home 1st place in his yellow-belt division, for his performance of Seienchin kata! He was the only yellow belt who did a black belt kata. Impressive for this young man. Osu!
We also had three men competing in the semi-contact kumite. All orange belts, and all first timers to tournament. Unfortunately they would also compete with each other, due to their groupings, but they displayed a really impressive performance with one scoring 1st and another 3rd place for kumite.
The evening was full contact men’s and women’s. While we didn’t have anyone competing, we stuck around to watch. It was a spectacle of light and sound. Some of the fighter’s were very impressive, and the women were intense!
The whole event was impressive in its magnitude and energy, but to be honest, there were certain components I didn’t care for.
I found that some of the competitors lacked respect and were showboating, on and off the tatami. As well, though I am new to kyokushin and my opinion doesn’t matter much, I found people of other styles wearing flashy gi distasteful. Sensei explained to me this was because it was an open tournament and anyone from any style could attend. He told me a traditional kyokushin tournament is a very different event. The way he explained it made me feel that I would much rather attend something like that.
Which brings me to my final point. Living in Ontario we fall under section 83 of the Criminal Code, which doesn’t allow “prize fighting”. So, there are no tournaments to attend here.
While Bill S-209 passed to allow Provinces to legalize pro MMA and Boxing, it didn’t mention specifically kickboxing, amateur martial arts, muay thai, etc. So, while the UFC can come to Toronto, it is a criminal offence to have an amateur event. Which is obviously ludicrous.
We shared a long drive home together and we continued to chat. I feel very honoured to be studying under someone like Sensei Fogarasi. You can feel his deep love and devotion to Kyokushin. We talked about his dream of hosting Kyokushin tournaments in Ontario, and how he is trying to pull the different dojos and fractions together in a united cause.
Though I have not been in Kyokushin long, I have become very passionate about it. I believe having tournaments in Ontario would not only be good for Kyokushin and its popularity here, but it would also be good for the province of Ontario, bringing tourism and dollars from neighbouring provinces and the United States. I am becoming an advocate of this, along with my Sensei, and want to bring together voices to amend this issue. It’s time for everyone to come together and demand change. You shouldn’t have to leave your province, or Country, to compete! Who knows, perhaps soon we will be hosting the first annual GTA Kyokushin Alliance Tournament! Wouldn’t that be awesome?!