Keiko Shin Karate Academy team for the first time participated in USSSA North American Cup tournament in Orlando, Florida on November 12st, 2015. Our team showed up in force of 25 competitors in all age divisions.
Teams from Canada, Sweden, Michigan, North Carolina, and Florida also attended en masse. Canada alone was represented by 26 athletes and looked very intimidating. Sweden team was small but very focused and determined.
Our friends from Sensei’s Lugo and Sensei’s Moon academies did not disappoint as well. It was a pleasure to see them and compete with them at USSSA forum.
Unfortunately, teams from Brazil, UK, and India decided that, in the light of latest terror attacks in Paris, France, it was prudent not to travel and opted–out from participating in this event.
None the less, event was very well attended. Over one hundred competitors were anxious to try out their skills and to fight for qualifying spots to WKO World Championship.
While it is always a challenge to organize the event like this so everything goes smooth and fast, USSSA North American Cup in Orlando was relatively well organized and executed. The venue of the event was very nicely decorated; there was a photo stand, t-shirts merchants, food stands, and music backdrop throughout the event.
One major hiccup was caused by the “last minute” rules change which created some confusion for athletes and judges alike. The new rule said that the kicks to the head were not allowed. Every kick to the head will be penalized and for each first penalty the opponent will receive half a point.
That did not seat well with many simply due to the fact that this change was decided the night before and teams did not have the opportunity to adjust their strategies. Judges showed confusion throughout event also - sometimes penalizing for kick to the head and sometimes awarding full points for it. It was probably due to the fact that they were not used to this new rule and reacted with their decisions more out of the routine and without attention to this change.
Spectators did not like the new rule either since it made the kumite much less spectacular without presence of high kicks to the head.
Hopefully, Sensei Adrian Ellis, USSSA National Karate Chairman, will reconsider this rule and therefore make the event more intuitive to athletes and more spectacular to the visitors.
Keiko Shin team performed extremely well. It was exciting to see how well our athletes performed against Team Canada under direction of Sensei David Turkoski. In almost every age division Keiko Shin faced opponents from Canada and in almost all of those encounters our team prevailed. It was another attest to the quality of training our girls and boys receive from Sensei Ernesto Fuentes.
Overall, our team’s performance was superb. When it was all said and done our athletes went home with 47 medals. Out of those 47 medals 27 were gold, 14 silver and 6 bronze.
Team Keiko Shin represented their Academy very well through their respectful demeanor, groomed appearance, and skill full competition.
Good job Team Keiko Shin!
click here to see pictures from this event