Report on the 1st Worldwide Sport Aikido Federation Championships. London, August 18th - 20th, 2017 by Ian Box
From the 18th to 20th of August, 2017 aikidoka from around the world and from various associations gathered at the Sportsdock of East London University to compete in the Worldwide Sport Aikido Federation’s first international championship competition. For three days participants challenged each other in team events as well as individual Aikido contests. The atmosphere in the dojo over this three-day Aikido extravaganza was one of fellowship and friendship coupled with fun and excitement. Entrants from many different associations and clubs came together and united under the banner of sportsmanship. More than fifty competitors from the Shodokan Aikido Federation (SAF) made the arduous journey from Japan to London for this salute to Tomiki Shihan.
Joe Adams and Tenri University student, Ikeda san (SAF) win Gold in Tanto Junana hon no kata.
Randori competition was fierce, but the camaraderie never waned and following each contest, players would either shake hands or hug in a show of respect and friendship. In embu events, again the competition was fierce with participants displaying Aikido skills gained from hours, months, if not years of practice.
Nili Roberts and Sara Kovacs beat out Ian Box and Alex Matthews in suwari waza.
The head referee, Mr.David Fielding along with overall event organizer, Ms. Vanda Fairchild, did a fantastic job of holding things together to ensure that the three days of competition ran smoothly and relatively hassle-free. Both these people are commended for their efforts.Thanks should also go to the more than thirty referees and judges who contributed to this three-day competition and helping it become an incredible success. With consecutive contests on each of the four competition courts, these blue-uniformed men and women were kept on their feet constantly as they moved from court to court with red and white tournament flags held tightly in their hands. As for the quality of refereeing, for the most part, it was OK. There were times, however, when competitors and spectators alike were surprised by the decisions made. Hopefully, with the help of seminars and judging courses over the next couple of years, there will be a marked improvement in refereeing at the next Worldwide Sport Aikido Federation Championship Competition.
Yamazaki Fumika (Once a regular at SAF Honbu and now living in and representing Switzerland) competes in randori.
Finally, to the winners’ congratulations. To those that were not lucky enough to stand on the small stage and receive a medal, you should never think of yourselves as losers – your turn will come. Learn from the experience; each experience is a learning process – gambatte.