2013 Faye Allen Event Draws Teams from Virginia to Toronto

October 27, 2013
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Laurel Faust throws Mark Smith in their demonstration of the Nage No Kata

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

 

The 2013 Faye Allen kata tournament and clinic was held on Saturday, October 26th at the Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington, D.C.  The long-standing annual event was attended by kata teams from Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Toronto, Ontario, as well as kata enthusiasts who attended just for the clinic.

A number of kata luminaries from Shufu attended, including Senseis Jim Takemori, Edwin Takemori, Karen Whilden, and Fran Vall, all of whom were judges for the competition.  Edwin Takemori was also the head clinician for the clinic.

Terence McPartland

Terence McPartland

 

Tournament director Terence McPartland was very pleased with the day’s activities, which included a kata tournament for novice, intermediate, and advanced teams, followed by a lasagna lunch and the afternoon kata clinic.  “This is the second Faye Allen that we’re hosting at D.C. Judo, and we’re very happy to continue this tradition and to substantiate the really powerful work that Faye did when she was around, and Sensei Edwin had picked up that ball and now he’s passing it to a new generation to carry it forward.  We love that it’s in D.C., because it’s a big city and we believe there’s opportunity for great judo here and it’s part of the growth of judo overall.  Most of the participants here today actually practice judo in the District of Columbia.  The D.C. Judo club, the D.C. Recreation Center, and the Washington Judo Club are all clubs in D.C. We’ve also drawn people from Canada, Charlottesville, and Pennsylvania, so it’s really a regional tournament but it’s based on activity and the life of judo here in D.C.

Sensei Edwin Takemori stated that “She (Faye Allen) represents kata because she was a national champion.  The event is named after her because of her because of her

Edwin Takemori

Edwin Takemori

 

 

contributions to judo in the Shufu area as well as nationally.”  When asked about the value of an event such as the Faye Allen, Sensei Takemori continued: “I think the fact that this tournament exists, plus the fact that it’s open to everybody at all levels.  Sometimes people are intimidated by the fact that they may have to do all the sets, but in this case, no.  It depends on the rank of the players, but still, a player that’s just starting judo, and is relatively new, can come here and do five techniques.  How hard is that, compared with having to do fifteen, and competing against open players?  This way it gives players a feeling of what kata is about, and to grow with it.”

Rosaura Gonzalez, Chris Mattern, Brad Foster, Justin Schaffner, and Tim Redden

Rosaura Gonzalez, Chris Mattern, Brad Foster, Justin Schaffner, and Tim Redden

Tim Redden, sensei of the Charlottesville Judo Academy in Virginia, was also very pleased with the opportunity to bring three of his students to Washington: “My guys decided on their own that they wanted to learn katame no kata.  They’re going to learn nage no kata next, but they came to my wife (Rosaura Gonzalez) and me and said, “would you teach us katame no kata?”  And so they started studying it and they told me they wished they had started earlier.

“Brad (Foster) just started judo, and this is part of his yonkyu test – I made it part of his promotion requirement.  They had to compete here, because I make all my guys compete in at least one tournament before I promote them.

“So they started really enjoying it.  They got to learn the nuances and they watched the tape, and started filming themselves.  And then last weekend they came in on Saturday and Sunday to practice on their own.  I’m really proud of them.

When asked if he makes kata an important part of his judo

Chris Mattern (top) and Justin Shaffner

Chris Mattern (top) and Justin Shaffner

teaching, he said, “Absolutely.  It’s a critical part.  We make everybody do nage no kata and katame no kata because it teaches them the fundamentals of standing techniques and matwork.

“Justin (Shaffner) told me that because he was practicing so much as uke and tori that he began to see things that he was doing wrong and he self-corrected so his groundwork actually got better.  He couldn’t believe that by practicing katame no kata that his randori would get better.  I’m anxious to see how they’ll do when we start nage no kata.”

Among the teams competing, there was a mother/son team and a father/daughter team.  Ten-year-old Martin Veloso and his mom, Michelle Veloso,

Martin and Michelle Veloso

Martin and Michelle Veloso

from the College Park (Maryland) judo club, performed the first set of katame no kata.  When asked why he does kata, Martin was enthusiastic: “I enjoy it a lot.  It makes me feel good.  I like learning new skills, and with my escapes, it really improves them.”  When asked how he likes doing kata with his mom, he said, “I like it because we can practice at home whenever I want.”  Martin also said that doing kata with his mother was “Sensei Edwin’s” idea.

Michelle and Martin Veloso demonstrating Katame No Kata

Michelle and Martin Veloso demonstrating Katame No Kata

Michelle mentioned that “(Martin) has always liked kata, and has always been interested in it. We both need work on our groundwork, and so we’ve done katame for the first time.  It’s a great opportunity to see what you know and what you don’t know.  There’s nothing like working and practicing something for competition, because it really puts you to the test in terms of pushing yourself a little bit harder.”

Lindsay and Grant Kuramoto demonstrating Katame No Kata

Lindsay and Grant Kuramoto demonstrating Katame No Kata

The Kuramoto family, hailing from Toronto, Ontario, made the 12-hour drive to Washington D.C. on Friday so that dad Grant and daughter Lindsay could compete and attend the clinic the next day.  Lindsay, a blue belt, is a 15 year old tenth grader and has been practicing judo for 8 years.  When asked about doing kata with her dad, Lindsay responded, “It’s educational – I learn a lot more that way. He’s a black belt and can pick on what I’m doing.”

Grant, a Sandan, originally lived in Vancouver with his family, but moved to Toronto about ten years ago. He has been practicing judo for 37 years.  “The reason we started getting into kata was that we found that Lindsay tried shiai competition but she really didn’t enjoy it. We found that by doing kata it was a way to keep her involved in judo and that it really strengthened her judo by having to do the moves, particularly in ju no kata, where you need to strengthen your back and your stomach to maintain those positions during the lifts.  We found then by taking those skills that she learned in the kata it improved her “regular” judo.  In randori when she’s fighting the boys she’s certainly holding her own in the dojo now.

“Kata is good for us.” he said when asked about the long trip to Washington D.C. from

Lindsay and Grant Kuramoto demonstrating Goshin Jitsu

Lindsay and Grant Kuramoto demonstrating Goshin Jitsu

Toronto.  “We enjoy traveling and it makes for a mini-vacation for the family as well.  It’s nice that we’re all involved.  My son is 12 and interested in kata, and he may start next year when he’s a little bit bigger.

“Lindsay and I have been competing for about two years in kata, and she’s getting bigger and stronger. And the size difference isn’t as noticeable as it was when we first started.  We started off in ju no kata, and last year we added goshin jitsu, and then katame no kata this year.

“We are very interested in seeing the Shufu tournament being promoted as a kata-only event, which we found was very refreshing to see.  And having a tournament as well as a clinic means we can maybe even learn something.”

 

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