A Visitor from London. Fred Kamara from the BAA (British Aikido Association)
Fred Kamara from London competed in last year’s Kansai Taikai – December 4th, 2016. Below is Fred’s message to all Aikidoka.
I guess its only fitting for me to talk about Osaka first before delving into the competition. I enjoyed visiting Osaka more than visiting Tokyo. Osaka is a beautiful place, and the people have an overall warmth and friendliness that is unique only to them.
The highlight of my visit happened when I was on my way to the competition venue. I met a Japanese man who asked me where I was going. After I had explained, he went out of his way to lead me directly to the competition dojo. It was at least a 20 min walk. That kind of friendliness is rare.
My first impressions of the venue were pleasant. The mat space seemed big enough, and there was an excellent turnout of competitors which is always pleasing to my eyes because it means that there will be more competition.
Despite the numbers, everything ran according to schedule (the Japanese staff was superb at that), so I shouldn’t have been surprised but needless to say, I still was.
The kyu grades were given their chance to shine which is very important to ease their transition into dan grade events, and I was impressed by their level of skill.
One event I found interesting was the Buki embu event (weapon techniques) which was a nice change of pace and a rare opportunity for me to see this performed under competition conditions.
The competition format for the men’s individuals was interesting because there were three competition courts so it meant that there would be a winner on each; this allowed for a round robin situation between the three winners. I would have loved to have participated, but I lost in the previous round. I guess that left me with the resolve to return next year and win.
It’s something I’d do again given the opportunity but only time will tell. To anyone that might be in the Kansai region of Japan around December, they should attend this competition especially because it’s unique in that there are hidden gems that might not be able to travel to international competitions outside of Japan.