THE one-match challenge format appears likely to return to the local martial arts scene after competitors and crowds alike embraced the concept at the Riverina Kyokushin Karate Championships, held at the Griffith Leagues Club on Sunday.
More than 150 fighters from as far and wide as Sydney, Melbourne and Geelong took part in both the non and full contact divisions at the tournament with plenty of skill and determination on display.
Most of the non contact divisions were full and those that reached the finals had at least three or four fights under their belt.
“The kids were fantastic and the future of karate is assured with the depth of talent shown, from ages five years and up,” Sensei Frank Cirillo said.
However, it was the full contact division – which was given a huge shake-up by competition organisers – that stole the show.
Due to the glut of karate tournaments on in the latter half of the year – including the Chinese and New Zealand nationals – a smaller than usual contingent took part.
Cirillo decided to make the most of the numbers, using the one-match format, which pitted competitors of close to equal weight and grading against each other in two round fights.
There were 14 matches in all, from 14-year-old colts right up to the senior divisions – and it was a hit with the capacity crowd on hand.
“It was very exciting to watch – I will look at doing a separate one match tournament next year because it was so successful,” Cirillo said.
The competition was overseen by seventh dan blackbelt and AKKA branch chief Shihancho Gary Viccars, one of the original group that founded Kyokushin Karate in Australia and was given the mandate to run an organisation in Victoria by the founder of the discipline, Sosai Mas Oyama.
“It was a real privilege to have him here,” Cirillo said.
Cirillo said the tournament would not have been possible without the RMA & Total Fitness family, the volunteers who helped set up the day and sponsors West End Wines, who contributed bottles as prizes alongside the trophies.
“We have done this for years and it’s one of the reasons people keep coming back,” Cirillo said.