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Cambridge University Karate Club - Japan Tour - 16th September 2007

The winning Cambridge University Team

Pictured above is the winning Cambridge University Team with their opponents the Keio University Team.

In September 2007 the Cambridge University Karate Team travelled to Japan in order to train with and compete against several Japanese University teams.

Members of the team were Richard Poole (coach) Ian MaCleod (men's captain) Paul Smith, Simon Picot, Gareth Bradley, Adam Tun, Chris Andrews, Andrew Routh, Madeleine Wood (ladies captain), Stephanie McTigh (club president) and Katerina Pateraki.

Much of the training was centred on the dojo in Keio University in Tokyo. The Keio karate club is 83 years old and Keio has the distinction of being the first University at which Gichin Funakoshi taught. This tour celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first visit of Cambridge University to Keio in 1987. We were fortunate to be joined by four of the original Cambridge team members.

Shortly after our arrival we were introduced to the Keio students by their chief instructor Sensei Norihisa Nakura and Sensei Kubota and we settled in to a routine of one or two 3 hour training sessions each day and matches against other University sides who travelled to Keio University. We were also invited to the JKA headquarters in Tokyo and thoroughly enjoyed training there.

Prior to the main event - the kumite match between Cambridge and Keio, we were fortunate to travel to the historic city of Kyoto and the hot springs at Hacona.

The latter proved especially entertaining given the choice of communal bathing in water, red wine, sake or green tea.

The main match took place at Keio University and following numerous demonstrations and welcoming speeches, including those by Professor Atsushi (Keio University Karate Club Patron) and Satoshi Fukuda (Club President), the rules were agreed with each fight being of 3 minutes duration and four ippons. It was refereed by an independent delegation from the JKF, the governing body for karate in Japan.

Each team consisted of six men and two ladies (two of our competitors were injured during training and could not participate). In a very challenging encounter the end result was very close with Cambridge University enjoying a victory by 4 wins to 3. Paul Smith was singled out for praise in a speech by the chief referee for his fighting spirit and spectacular use of kicking and punching combinations.

At the reception following the match it was very humbling to swop stories with the members of Mokukai the Keio Old Boys Club whose average age was 74 years. One of the participants in the team kata demonstration was 83 years old!

Members of CUKC were enormously grateful to Miki Waterhouse, Kurono Masashi and the members of Keio University Karate Club for their hospitality during our visit and also to Steve Mannion, Simon Hastings, Grant Leaity and Jason Purcell, the Cambridge University old boys without whose support this visit would not have been possible. In addition thanks are owed to Ken Hori the Cambridge Old boy whose Japanese heritage enabled him to prepare us for the intricacies of essential Japanese etiquette.

We have extended a formal invitation to Keio University for them to visit us next year in November. This would provide the opportunity for a match between Keio University and a KUGB student team at next years KUGB students championship.

Cambridge University Karate Team and the Keio University Team
Cambridge University Karate Team with the Keio University Karate Team and the old boys from both clubs.


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