2011 National All Styles Australian Championships

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In late 2011, Queensland's Gold Coast played host to the fast and furious fights and spectacular demonstrations we've come to expect from the annual National All Styles Australian Championships. The tournament pitted state against state in both individual and team competition, making for two days of non-stop action.

his year's NAS Championships featured some of Australia's most talented combat-sport athletes from a host of different martial arts including karate, kung fu, kickboxing, taekwondo, and various freestyle disciplines. The event drew close to 500 competitors from all walks of life and experience levels, with participants ranging from five to 70 years of age — but they all had one thing in common: a hunger for a NAS national title.

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The state teams lined up for their official entrance at 8.30am and, after the introduction of the NAS and WASO vice president James Casey, as well as the state directors and Australian Referees Board officials, in they marched, state by state, to loud applause from the gathered crowd. The gi-clad masses lined up for the official bow to Mr Casey and his wife Virginia, and NAS president and founder Mr Silvio Morelli, who addressed the competitors and took time to thank NAS supporters including Mr Barry Johnson, head of major sponsor Australian College of Sports Development. The competitor's oath was delivered by two of the event's longest competing martial artists, Pania Casey-Williams and Rebecca Rogers, while the official's oath was read by Mr William Rogers, technical director of NAS Queensland.

And then it was time for action across all eight rings, beginning with forms competition. The Pee Wee division was one of the biggest events of the day with the young talent surprising spectators with their skills. There were some standout performances among the tiny titans, none more so than eventual winners Connor Prior of Goju Mt Gambier (SA) taking first place and Teng Da Jian, Praying Mantis (NSW) coming second. The 12–13 Years 5th Kyu–Black-belt division and its huge pool of talented competitors put the pressure on referees and judges with some outstanding performances. In the end, Mayson Nobetsu (Vic) was crowned 2011 national champion with GKR's Brendan Williamson (NSW) coming in a close second.

The 14–15 Years 5th Kyu–Black-belt division was another hotly contested event. Shotokan karateka Ryan Thomas (ACT) was near flawless in his performance to take first place over runner-up Vincent Xu from Chikara Kenpo Karate (NSW).

In another ring, the women's novice division concluded with Patreeza Baguisi of Unsu Kai Karate (Vic) letting everyone know that she will be a force to be reckoned with in the future as she took out first place over worthy runner-up Felicia Cooper of Bonsai Karate (Qld). The Veterans Advanced Forms division was also well represented with excellent displays of strength and intensity from all who stepped onto the mat. First place went to Malcolm Ayles of Shiryodo Karate (Vic), a very experienced NAS competitor and former director with many titles to his name, who decided to come out of retirement and give it another go. In second place was GKR Karate's Andrew Purcell (Qld).

The men's and women's Open Black-belt Forms finals had the country's best lining up prepped and ready to qualify. With senior Black-belts required to perform two separate forms during these finals, the pressure was obvious and caused some competitors to lose balance or go blank during their performances. The championship title for the female division eventually went to Pania Casey-Williams of KenshinKan Karate (Qld), who exhibited the grace, balance and strength she's become known for. Casey-Williams has dominated the Forms division for the past decade and with another win in 2011 she proved herself to be one of the all-time greats of the NAS competition. Sherry Bower (Qld) also gave a polished performance of her Shotokan kata to take second place.

The male finals came down to a clash of the titans with Dean Gould of GKR (NSW), the 2010 NAS forms champion, out to make it two in a row with an excellent performance. However, last year's runner-up Delio Senatore of Seishin Ryu Karate Do (Qld) was exceptional with his high jumping kicks and fine exhibition of balance, which saw him awarded first place and the national title for 2011.

As always, the audience was left in awe during the Senior Weaponry displays. Spectators were treated to some inspirational performances and judges had a tough time deciding on the winners. In the end, the Senior Traditional Weaponry title went to Martin Soderstrom of Australian Jow Ga Kung Fu (NSW) for his awesome display of skill, with his teammate Nick English taking second place.

Creative Weapons was another division with some excellent performances, with standouts Hakan Manav of Australian Martal Arts Academy (NSW) taking first place and Patricia Tan of Kyokushin Lismore (Qld) taking second.

The pace picked up with the Continuous Sparring, always an exciting division to watch. Continuous sparring is very similar to kickboxing but with more restrained contact; competitors use all kinds of techniques including leg-kicks, making for some dynamic fighting and fierce contests.

Results of the 7–9 Years finals saw first placegetter Toby Sexton of KenshinKan Karate (Qld) finish ahead of Frankie Ferraro from Lion Bushido (Vic). The Male 15–17 Years division saw Chikara Kenpo's Vincent Xu (NSW) outclass his opponent with excellent ring craft and kicking combinations, taking the title over runner-up Joshua Suringa of Funakoshi Karate (Vic). Other standouts were from the Male Veterans Over 40 Years division, with first place going to United Tae Kwon Do's John Marchand, (NSW), and second to Scott Robertson of Emu Heights Self-Defence (NSW).

Already excited by the continuous fights, the crowd turned the volume up another notch for the State vs State Point-sparring Challenge. In the standout matches, team Qld took on the Vics in a nail-biter, with the Queenslanders eventually taking the points. Another highlight saw the SA team outscore their rivals Victoria to take first place.

Competitors returned to Carrara stadium on Sunday for more explosive competition in the Point-sparring divisions. Pee Wee (under seven) Point-sparring is one of the most popular contests in the NAS, with parents and coaches just as fiery as the kids themselves. Finals were taken out by Goju-ryu karateka Connor Prior (SA), who outscored a brave Jaxon Faulkner of Bukido (NSW).

The 10–11 Years 10th–6th Kyu final was taken out by Damashii's Keely Wildman (Qld), who defeated Jake Giacomini of VGA Karate (Vic) with explosive kicking combinations. Moving up to the girls' 14–15 Years 10th–6th Kyu division, Tori Scenini from Ryu Kon Karate (SA) was relentless in her defence but in the dying moments of the match My Linh Le of Unsu Kai Karate (Vic) scored with a roundhouse-kick to the head, securing victory.

Next, it was the veterans' turn. With more than 25 competitors in the Male Veterans divisions, it took a marathon effort from Malcolm Ayles (Vic) to take the national title, using the ring to his advantage and outscoring GKR Karate's Steven Tyler (SA) in the final.

In Sunday's Junior Traditional Weaponry division, Brendan Williamson of GKR (NSW) took the 2011 title with a polished performance, with wushu athlete Jacky Chen (Qld) coming second. Other standouts in the demonstration divisions were Caitlin Wylie of Bukido Karate (Vic), whose strength and flair saw her defeat runner-up Matt Bryce from Chikara Kenpo (NSW).

Creative Weaponry was an exciting event, with spectacular control of various weapons on display. Bubishi Martial Arts' Merinda Folkard (Qld) took the title, with Jaxon Faulkner of Bukido (NSW) runner-up.

1. Black-belt weight- division finals

Spectators could not have asked for a better final round between the weight divisions. First up was the Female Lightweight division, in which Pania Casey-Williams (Qld) showed she is no stranger to pressure and proved too strong for her opponent Jamie Palmer of Chikara Kenpo Karate (NSW). The male lightweight final was equally explosive, with the 2010 Champion of Champions runner-up, Delio Senatore from Seishin-Ryu Karate (Qld), too quick on the day and taking the points over opponent Steven Taylor of Seishin Zen Ryoku Karate (Qld).

In the Female Welterweight finals, Sherry Bower of JKA Shotokan (Qld) was too fast and sharp for GKR's Angelena Jasny (Qld), taking the win decisively. The Male Welterweight finals pitted Adam Lee of Shaolin Jee Shin Wing Chun (Vic) up against GKR karateka Joshua Matic (ACT) and both came out strong, fighting hard. Lee eventually emerged victorious thanks to the effectiveness of his spectacular spinning back-kicks, which earned him a number of two- and three-point scores and ensured him the win.

The Female Middleweight finals was another nail-biter with Nicki Kennedy of KenshinKan (Qld) going toe to toe against Shiryodo Karate's Cynthia Weggelaar (Vic). As the match progressed, Kennedy found her range and pulled away on points to take the match. The Male Middleweight final saw 2010 Champion of Champions Dean Gould of GKR Karate (NSW) matched up against the much taller Jason Parker from Institute of Modern TKD (Qld). Gould worked in close, not allowing his opponent to score to eventually take the win.

The female heavyweights then arrived with veteran Rebecca Rogers of KenshinKan (Qld) coming out hard and full of energy against her opponent Kolynda Reyers from Adelaide Tang Soo Do (SA). Rogers was cautioned for contact but managed to keep her composure and take the victory. The Male Heavyweight finals saw Jesse Druzinec from Chikara Kenpo Karate (NSW) and Jason Couzner (SA) battle it out in an even contest that went down to the wire. Druzinec's height advantage and aggressive fighting style paid off, securing him the win.

2. The Champion of Champions Final

The women's Champion of Champions decider — in which the different weight-division winners battle each other in elimination rounds — was full of tough, hard-scoring affairs and saw Sherry Bower defeat Pania Casey-Williams and progress to the final. Nicki Kennedy defeated Rebecca Rogers, earning her the other final spot. Of the men, Delio Senatore defeated Adam Lee and progressed to the final to face Dean Gould, who defeated Jesse Druzinec. The Female Champion of Champions final saw Queenslanders Sherry Bower and Nicki Kennedy test each other cautiously throughout the match, looking for openings. The match progressed with both girls finding their mark and scoring point for point. Bower's lightning-fast hands gave her the lead but with five seconds left, Kennedy came back quickly to score with a front-kick. The bell went and a draw was declared, meaning the bout would go to 'sudden-death' (first point wins). The restart saw Bower blast forward with a reverse-punch to take the point and seize the title.

In the Male Champion of Champions final, 2010 titleholder Dean Gould from Sydney came up against his rival, Queenslander Delio Senatore, in a match that had everything from aggression to explosive techniques. Gould's strategy going into the match was to try to unsettle his opponent and take an early lead. However, Senatore had learnt a lot from last year's final and used the ring to his advantage. Gould scored in quick succession with combinations to take the lead, but soon Senatore settled down and began to find his mark with some spectacular spinning kicks, which scored him three points. Both fighters were cautioned by the referee to control their contact and as the match came to a close, Senatore again found his mark, executing a two-point technique which all but secured him a win and the 2011 champion's trophy. Having avenged his loss from the 2010 event, Senatore expressed obvious relief over his impressive victory.

"Last year's event was quite heartbreaking but this year I trained hard and it was nice to win the whole thing," he said. He was also quick to praise the efforts of the event organisers for hosting the annual event. "I think the event was fantastic and was very professionally run. I really love competing in it because it tests out all your skills."

3. The Champion State

Everyone stayed back to see who would win the President's Cup, awarded to the top state team. Points are accumulated over the weekend from the placings of each competitor, then these are tallied and the percentages calculated to adjust to the smaller states' attendance. The tally saw Victoria take the title of Champion State for 2011, and bragging rights for the next 12 months. NAS VP James Casey handed Vic state director Mr Con Lazos the coveted cup, which the Vics will look to defend later this year on home soil.

Instructors and individual competitors wishing to get involved in National All Styles competition in 2012 should call their local NAS director or visit www.nationalallstyles.com.au for more information.

4. Download Tournament Results

Click here to download Tournament Results