The UBKC maintains an active and successful record when it comes to competitions. As a club we regularly attend various competitions both locally and nationally. These competitions are always a great experience, and win or lose you're guaranteed to learn from and most importantly enjoy these events.
There are many opportunities for you to attend competitions throughout the year, whether you are a novice or a senior such as:
- Winter Weston (November)
- Central (November)
- Yate (November)
- British Universities and Colleges Sport Championship/BUCS (February)
- Summer Weston (May)
- Art of Movement (May)
More information about each competition can be found below.
Keep an eye and ear out for announcements during training sessions, on the Facebook group, and by email throughout the year for specific dates and more information.
What does competitive karate involve?
Competition karate takes the form of either Kata or Kumite. Both originate from the Karate basics you learn for your gradings and practice in eveyday lessons, and from here competition kata/kumite has grown to become an exhilarating and accessible sport.
Kumite (sparring/fighting) is a one-on-one timed fight determined by points. Although the fights are short (around two minutes for novices), it is tiring. Fitness, timing, movement and reaction speed are developed through practice and training, and usually you have to fight at least three opponents before the finals!
The main objective is to strike (score a point) and recover quickly. Contact must be light so that the opponent can feel the strike, but not too hard that you wind them. Heavy contact or a lack of control is penalised. Kumite is about speed, technique and tactics rather than brute force.
Kumite encompasses the more dynamic fighting aspects of karate. The techniques and set combinations that are taught from the syllabus in linework are now used in a more flexible and reactionary environment when you fight. Points are awarded based on the difficulty of the technique and how successful you are in scoring.
Points are given on a three point basis:
- Uko - E.g. Body or face punches; backfists and other strikes.
- Wazari - E.g. Kicks to the body; strikes after opening a vulnerable area (i.e. the back).
- Ippon - E.g. Kicks to the head; sweeps/takedowns followed by a strike.
This is just an example of how the techniques and points are scaled. The best way to find how certain techniques work is to try it out! Each fight you compete in will always be different and new; this makes it even more fun when you have to think on your feet on how best to score against your opponent and you will always encounter karate-ka from a diverse range of backgrounds.
Kata are a series of movements (forms), which represnt a fight against imaginary opponents. Katas vary in complexity depending on grade. Unlike kumite, kata is performed alone and requires competitiors to strive for good technique, focus, discipline, kime (spirit) and above all else a strong confident performance.
The performace of kata is one way of learning new techniques, stances and movement. During competitions, you perform a kata in each round in a knockout tournament style. Either 3 or 5 judges compare the two katas performed. The winner is decided by votes, by judges raising either a red or a blue flag corresponding with the colour of your belt.
More competition information:
Yate Wado Championships:
A small local competition held in Yate near Bristol. This is great for beginners!
WKU Weston-Super-Mare Winter Invitational:
A regular fixture for UBKC this is a small local competition which is also ideal for first time competitors or anybody wanting to compete.
The main competition of the year where we compete with other universities across the UK on a national scale in both kata and kumite. Split over two days held in Sheffield,this is a great weekend away, an amazing experience and easily the biggest event of the year.
Art of Movement Competition (London):
A friendly competition for the kata lovers out there. No kumite just kata, weapons kata and bunkai. One of the more relaxed and smallest competitions of the year but great fun.
WKU Weston-Super-Mare Spring Invitational:
A regular fixture for UBKC, this is a small local competition which is also ideal for first time competitors or anybody wanting to compete.
The club has regular success at these events, with new members often winning a large number of medals in their respective categories. The UBKC coaching style is developed to encourage everyone to have a go as well as providing the training and support for you to perform to the best of your ability. While we prepare for competitions, we do not exclude those who do not want to compete and the level of training is the same regardless of whether you compete or not.
The most important thing is to have fun. Competition is only a part of what karate is all about but it is great fun and a great experience regardless of the results.