2017 National All Styles - National Championship

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Event Sponsor: Tora Martial Arts Supplies

Sydney – 2nd & 3rd December 2017

Genea Netball Central Stadium; Sydney Olympic Park 

Years in, years out, the National All Styles championships manages to attract some of the top martial arts and unite them through exhilarating competition with participants gunning for the prestigious title NAS Australian Champion.

A thrilling weekend of great martial arts action was in store for young and old as NAS New South Wales proudly played host to the 2017 NAS National Championships at Sydney Olympic Park.

This prestigious event, played out over 2nd - 3rd December, is the finale of a hard-fought competition season around the country. Hundreds of pumped-up competitors converged on Sydney, eager to lay claim to the title of National All Styles National Champion!

This year we have witnessed a tremendous increase in the diversity of arts, styles and disciplines taking part, the event was set to showcase some of the finest martial arts talent in the country. Thanks and appreciation is extended to our event sponsor Tora Martial Arts Supplies, and corporate sponsor Blitz Magazine for their encouragement and continuing support of martial arts clubs and practitioners of all ages.

A buzz of excitement swept through the stadium, the Grand Parade bringing everyone to their feet. NAS President/CEO Mr James Casey and Host Director Mr Gary Palmer welcomed all as the teams stood proudly behind their state banners. Mr Casey called upon NSW competitor Vincent Xu to take the oath that all would contend these Championships in fairness and in the true spirit of martial arts.

Mr Wayne Morrison, NSW Technical Director took the Officials Oath that they would adjudicate with integrity and fairness to all. Huge cheers rang out as the Bow-in ceremony concluded. With over 76 different divisions, ranging in age from six to sixty, it was time to place the nerves behind and put all the training and dedication to the test. Who would be the 2017 NAS National Champions?!!

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FORMS:

Saturday morning got underway with the Forms/Kata events across all rings. I am always in awe of the focus and dedication displayed in these divisions, no matter what the age or experience level, everyone gave of their best. The Judges have the challenging and unenviable task of trying to decide the winners, on a number of rings; ties were decided by competitors performing a second time to determine the place-getters. Young Michael Mirandilla from PDK Dojo (NSW) impressed the judges to claim victory in the Pee Wee division, with Terrence Li of Double Dragon Shotokan (NSW) in second place with Nina Alexandrova from Winged Dragon Martial Arts (Vic) taking third from a large and exceptionally talented field. The 10-11 Years 5th Kyu-Black Belt division was again a large field, really putting pressure on the officials. Hiyori Sakurai of Epping Shotokan SKIA (NSW) took the day with a polished performance, Caitlin Bunney from One Martial Arts (NSW) coming in second in a narrow margin over Evan Luong of PDK Dojo (NSW) completing a NSW trifecta!

The SYNCHRONISED TEAM FORMS have been a hugely popular feature of the preliminary rounds this year all around the country. Taking a clean sweep of all three places in the Junior Division were the well-drilled teams from Double Dragon Shotokan (NSW). The Senior Division was an extremely close affair with Team Imugi Taekwondo (NSW) taking the day tightly from Team Seishin Ryu (Qld) and Team Funakoshi (Vic) in third place. This event is destined to grow even more in years to come.

Fine performances from some superb up-and-coming athletes in the 14-15 years 5thKyu-Black belt event made it difficult to separate the winners, Lauren Leung from Double Dragon Shotokan (NSW) won out, breaking the tie from Shonique Goosens of Imugi Taekwondo (NSW) in second with third place going to Callum Atwell of Northern Goju Karate (Vic), certainly ones to watch in years to come.

The audience were entertained everywhere they looked and competitors knew they had to be ‘on their game’ to make it through. In the Men’s Novice division, focused contestants put in their best efforts,

rewarded on the day was Daniel Vella of Seigokan Australia (NSW) in first place closely followed by Dmitry Alexandrov of Winged Dragon (Vic), second with Mark Lancaster of Go Kan Ryu Karate (NSW) taking home the third place cup. Meanwhile, on another ring the Women’s Veterans contenders were in the final stages of a thrilling contest showcasing the skills that only come from decades of dedicated training. Phyllis Kwok of Brisbane Kung Fu (Qld) was the deserved victor, with Deidre Lancaster of Go Kan Ryu Karate (NSW) runner-up and Aniko Besley of Go Kan Ryu Karate (Vic) close on their heels in third.

The Championships were off to a fantastic start, dedicated, determined and focused artists were ‘doing their stuff’, the support of their team mates and families urging them on. Tension was high as the Men’s and Women’s Black Belts took to the mats, the best in the country lining up to display their skills. Only the top eight for the Men and top six for the Ladies would qualify for the final later in the day and as each competitor performed, the tension grew. In the Women’s Forms we were treated to the skills of champions such as Selina Nguyen, Kelly O’Brien, Josephine Ngan, Denise Fung and Katelyn Webster to name but a few. Whilst the Men’s division boasted the talents of Vincent Xu, Dean Gould, Tony Gillespie, Ben Cunningham, Simon Pedelty and Josh Wiltshire. Needing to perform two different Forms, we knew we were for a great spectacle! After a nail biting tie break final, claiming the title this year was Selina Nguyen of Tora Martial Arts Centre (NSW) with runner-up Kelly O’Brien of Imugi Taekwondo (NSW) and Denise Fung of Japanese Academy of Martial Arts (NSW). Whilst Tony Gillespie’s of Imugi Taekwondo (NSW) precision took out the Men’s title from Ben Cunningham of Meibukan Goju Ryu Australia (NSW) with Dean Gould of Go Kan Ryu Karate (NSW) in a tight decision for third place. This event is thrilling to watch and a highlight of any Nationals and sets a great bench-mark for all the younger ones coming through in the future. 

WEAPONS & DEMONSTRATIONS/CREATIVE:

A definite feature this year has been the continued growth in numbers and popularity of the Weapons and Demonstration events. A crowd favourite, competitors got the chance to show just how entertaining their arts can be. Again, poise and precision plus co-ordinated teamwork in some impressive displays. Standout performances were turned in by Connor Hall of Gisborne Martial Arts (Vic), Rachael Taylor of Redlands Martial Arts Academy (Qld) Jakeb Gibbins of JMAMA (Qld) in the 0-12years Traditional Weapons, these talented youngsters showing versatility and skill. The crowd responded with gasps and loud applause for the performers in the 13-17yrs Creative Weapons Extreme with Kiara Gerada of Pro Active Martial Arts claiming first, the fast paced display from Angela Touma of Fighting Fit Martial Arts (NSW) claimed her second place with Marco Mitidieri of Proactive Team Freestyle taking out third spot. All eyes were on Danny Goding of Isshin Ryu Australia (NSW) as he took out the Senior Traditional Weapons division, returning to competition after 15 years, his precise and accurate bo kata impressing the judges and the crowd alike. Simon Hall from Gisborne Martial Arts (Vic) and Wayne Abbott of Fighting Fit Martial Arts (NSW) took second and third with skilled displays and emphasised the wonderful diversity of arts being practised around the country. 

CONTINUOUS SPARRING  

Continuous Sparring has become one of the most popular and fiercely contested events in NAS competitions this year and always brings out the crowd to their feet and again, large numbers meant the thrills were non-stop and some close battles.  The fast-paced action continued with the young ladies in the 12–14 years 10th-6thKyu division, Tijana Rancic of Evolution Gym (NSW) faced off with Katina Eyles of Kinetic Martial Arts (NSW) in the final. Katina was quick but the elusive ringcraft skills of Tijana made her a difficult target, earning her the win by split decision in an entertaining battle. Great skills from Kenya Brown of Imugi Taekwondo (NSW) saw her take home third place.

The action kept coming in the 15-17yrs 5th-Black Belt Male division. In the final, Damien Prins of Redlands Karate Academy (Qld) and Kieran Dark of Ta Mo Tao Martial Arts (NSW) engaged in a seesawing battle. In the end, the high/low combinations from Damien earned him a popular victory. Callum Atwell of Northern Goju Karate (Vic) fought hard to claim third. In the Female division final, Ana Nikolovska of Double Dragon Shotokan (NSW) faced Ella Smith of Hoshin Jutsu (NSW) trading blow for blow, each wary of the other’s fighting prowess, in a very close to call, Ana winning out on the day. An impressive display of skill and determination ensured that third place went to Shonique Goossens of Imugi Taekwondo (NSW).

The Open Advanced Continuous events are full of adrenalin, power and speed with several fired-up fighters warned for excessive force and contact as the battle for supremacy unfolded. Reigning champ Nicki Hodkinson of Kenshinkan (Qld) faced off against the talented fighter Sian Fawcett of Chikara Kenpo Karate (NSW) to battle for this year’s crown. Nicki's high kicks kept her opponent at bay, but Sian’s fast, accurate punches weren’t to be denied. Nicki took the win in a close, split decision! Third place going to Katelyn Webster of Kenshinkan Karate (Qld). In the Male division final, it was flat out right from the start. The power and speed shown by Ben Cunninghan Meibukan Goju Ryu (NSW) and Ed Bateman of One Martial Arts (NSW) was hard to contain and resulted in several stoppages for contact. Both fighters drew on all their skills with neither giving an inch. A split decision going to Jeremy as on-lookers cheered their support. New-comer Daniel McGrath of Albany Fighting Fit Martial Arts (WA) fought decisively to claim third place. 

THE STATE vs STATE CHALLENGE

A highlight of the NAS National Championships is the State of Origin Challenge, competitors bond under their state banners in teams to take on the other states for the Team State of Origin Shields.

It is one of the weekend's most hotly contested and popular events. Each state must claim three wins to progress to the next round. The spectators get right behind it in support. NSW was absolutely determined to outscore Victoria in the Female Advanced final. An emphatic 4-1 victory went to NSW to see them claim back the Shield. The Men's Advanced event, saw the highly fancied Queensland team take on NSW in the final. After four bouts it was all tied up, with the fifth and final bout going to sudden-death point. The crowd erupted as Team NSW took the win. In the Junior teams events, NSW was again too strong for a pumped-up Queensland in the 12-14 yrs Female Final. The roles were reversed in the 12-14yrs Male Final with Queensland claiming a popular win. 

FINALS DAY

After an incredible first day, Sunday morning saw the stadium filling up early, everyone keen and anxious to see who would be crowned National Champions for each age group in the Point Sparring contests. The ultimate highlight of the day would be the crowning of the male and female lightweight, welterweight, middleweight and heavyweight champions and then the fight-off for the coveted prizes: the 2017 Champion of Champions.

Fast paced action on every ring, it was hard to know where to look. Some bouts were decided quickly, while others went to a sudden-death point. If you looked away, you could miss some great points. Among the standouts was the Female 12–13 Years 5th Kyu–Black Belt division, in which Rachael Taylor of Redlands Martial Arts Academy (Qld) defeated Nina Bron of Jee Shin Wing Chun (Vic), with Kealy Williams of Kenshinkan Karate (Qld) fighting hard to claim third spot. In the 10–11 Years 10th–6thKyu event, young Ryan Stokesof Goju Ryu Karate Do (NSW) took the title in a close battle with Kane Rancic of Evolution Martial Arts (NSW) with third place going to Mia Coco Faulks of RMAA Shotokan (Qld).

Another exciting event was the Male 14–15 Years 5thKyu-Black Belt division, in which Chase Thoburn of Imugi Taekwondo (NSW) proved too strong on the day for a determined Joshua Lonstein of Go Kan Ryu (NSW) and Callum Atwell of Northern Goju Karate (Vic). In the Female 16–17 Years 5th Kyu–Black-Belt event, Clare Ham of One Martial Arts (NSW) showed impressive skills in a very close victory over Ella Smith of Hoshin Jutsu (NSW) and a determined Carmen Lia of Hoshin Jutsu (NSW). The 16-17yrs 5th-Black Belt Male division saw PDK Dojo’s (NSW) Akira Yamauchi too strong for Damien Prins of Redlands Dojo (Qld) in a tough final. Brandon Townshend of Loong Fu Pai showed skill to claim third place. Meanwhile over on Ring Two, the Women's Veterans competitors had the judges on their toes keeping up with the fast pace. Deidre Lancaster of Go Kan Ryu (NSW) proved too fast on the day, taking the title in a sudden death tussle with Jacqueline Spice of Mudgee Martial Arts (NSW), Lucy Contarino of Tao Gung Fu (NSW) showed she has all the skills in third spot. More tough, enthralling bouts came in the Female Advanced division where Sian Fawcett of Chikara Kenpo Karate (NSW) faced off against Chikara Kenpo team mate Charmaine Huhndorf in the final. A close tussle saw an emotional victory go to Sian on the day, with a focused Georgia Cummins of Capital Wing Chun (ACT) claiming third place in a hard fought bout with Kathryn Miroy of Funakoshi Karate Australia (Vic). 

Then came the time NAS followers wait all year for: the Black Belt Weight Divisions and the exciting elimination fights to decide who would be crowned 2017 Male & Female Champion of Champions.

In the Lightweight division, the very experienced Denise Fung of Japanese Academy of Martial Arts (NSW) took on Jillian Cole of Funakoshi Karate (Vic). Both ladies meant business right from the start, but Denise’s precise hand combinations saw her outscore Jullian for the victory. Despina Veleski of Liverpool Lions Shotokan SKIA (NSW) finished third. The Men's Lightweight title was taken out by Jack Marstaeller of Go Kan Ryu (NSW), needing all his skills to overcome the quick hands of Richard Marlin of Success Martial Arts (Qld) Kyle Thew of Isshogai Do Kai Karate (NSW) took out third place.

The Women's Middleweight final saw Nicki Kennedy of Kenshinkan (Qld) defeat Kelly O’Brien of Imugi Taekwondo (NSW). in a tough match. In the Men's division, Vincent Xu from Chikara Kenpo Karate (NSW) was too sharp for Carl Arganda of Black Eagle Arnis (Qld) winning out in tough bout.

The Welterweight divisions saw Barbara Wood of Bonsai Karate (Qld) outpointing a fast and determined Josephine Ngan of Epping Shotokan SKIA (NSW) to take the title, while in the Men's division, James Avinash Singh of Tora Martial Arts (NSW) scored a comfortable win over Martyn Allwood of Border Karate School (Vic). Past champion, Ben Cunningham of Go Kan Ryu (NSW)     took out third place. 

The Female Heavyweight division saw Tayla Ireland of Winged Dragon (Vic) go toe-to-toe with Monica de Verteuil of Bonsai Karate (Qld), but Tayla was just too quick and used her fast hands to take the winning points. The Male Heavyweight final was a battle of the big boys, with reigning champion Mark Stone of RMAA Shotokan (Qld) and past champion Dean Gould of GoKanRyu (NSW) exchanging in a thrilling battle with both fighters cautioned over contact. Mark’s long ranging kicks were hard to avoid and Dean’s combinations were very fast! Mark taking the win in a close bout.  Third place going to a determined David Hickman of Seishin Ryu Karate Do (Qld).

GRAND CHAMPIONS OF CHAMPIONS

The Champion of Champions elimination bouts were tough, hard, tight-scoring affairs, with each fighter acutely aware of what lay on the line and wary of each other’s skills. After some of the closest match-ups all year, the final contenders were decided:

The Female Champion of Champions final would be between Nicki Hodkinson of Kenshinkan Karate (Qld), a past Grand Champion and stalwart competitor, Denise Fung of Japanese Academy of Martial Arts (NSW). Both were cautious of each other’s fighting style, it would come down to strategy and timing! Denise was very quick with her hands, but it was Nicki’s high-scoring kicks that saw her claim an extremely emotional victory! A great finale from both fighters!

The Male Champion of Champions final saw reigning champ Mark Stone of RMAA Shotokan (Qld) and James Avinash Singh of Tora Martial Arts (NSW) engaged in a tense, see-sawing battle. Neither fighter was able to gain a substantial lead as both seemed to have the measure of the other. As soon as one scored, the other struck back! Mark landed some high kicks but James retaliated with his fast hands and skilful ringcraft. Mark scored with a high kick late in the bout to claim the day and the crown of 2017 Grand Champion for the second year! Event sponsors, Alexsandra & John Nitis of Tora Martial Arts Supplies placed the belts around their waists and NAS President Mr James Casey presented the cups. Nicki Kennedy and Mark Stone were proclaimed 2017 NAS Champion of Champions. It was an emotional moment as the crowd clapped and cheered, team mates and family members rushing in to congratulate them.

The final task of the weekend was the announcement of the winner of the Presidents Cup, the Champion State of this year’s Nationals. Intense rivalry between the states makes this a much-prized trophy! New South Wales, to huge shouts and cheers from the local crowd, claimed the honours in a very close decision from Queensland who have held the Cup for a number of years!                     Huge congratulations to NSW, but they will need to defend it strongly next year! 

What a great weekend and an absolutely thrilling year of competition for National All Styles, right around the country, a year full of high-spirited action, dedication, camaraderie and sportsmanship.      It has been a privilege and an honour to be involved in such a wonderful event and to witness the support from parents and the dedication and commitment of all the coaches and competitors to their respective arts. A huge thank you to all the State Directors and especially all the members of the Australian Referees Board and Table Officials for the truly professional job that you do!  To all the helpers and volunteers who make it all possible. Sincerest  thanks to our Event Sponsors; Tora Martial Arts Supplies, The Park Royal Hotel in  Parramatta, to our dedicated Paramedics, Kristy Heitmann and her team of first aiders, thank you for making the long trip from the Gold Coast to Sydney ensuring all competitors where in safe hands.  Also wish to thank Mr John Nitis for the great action photos also mums and dads who shared on face book 

Any club, instructor or competitor wishing to get involved in the exciting NATIONAL ALL STYLES TOURNAMENTS in 2018, give your local State Director a call, see us in Blitz Magazine or visit www.nationalallstyles.com.au 

Yours in respect to all Martial Arts.

 

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