Big weekend… grading and tourny
I can now offer the more traditional congratulations to our 5 new MVD black belts! Yes! All five survived and passed the test along with 12 other candidates from across NZ, Timaru to Auckland. For different reasons we are full of admiration for all 5 of our guys, Jamie, Chetan, Darsheka, Dom and Christian. It was a big day and they stepped up and demonstrated their unique strengths and collective hunger for the new grade.
We’re equally proud to be associated with the huge team who travelled to the bay to support the candidates. At one point during a 2 minute break I was moved to find myself among a swarm of MVD members and families around each candidate. Towels, energy snacks, squeezies, ice and water bottles were flying! As much as any personal test can be, it was a real team event!
I’m sure the candidates would want me to mention their partners too. Each candidate chooses a partner to be their ’second’ on the day. This person puts in hours of work in the months preceding the test ‘attacking’ the candidate and helping them work out their individual self defence sequences. While this is a great learning experience (candidates usually choose someone who may be doing the same thing in a year or two) it’s still arduous.. and sometimes painful!
On Sunday we had fewer entrants than usual in the Friendship Tourney as most travellers shot home to do labour weekend chores and be with family. Our fighters were all colts, Chris Eades, Josh Struthers, Mike Kotlyar and Olivia Eades. Chris fought Cory Burford from Palmy first. Cory is a seasoned fighter and a machine. Chris, who may not realise what a fantastic fighter he actually is, struggled to find his distance with the shorter fighter and lost by decision. Mike had a cracker of a first fight. He pushed his taller opponent once around the ring then popped up a looping left mawashi, clipping his opponent on the jaw for a classic KO. His very proud father has footage which I’ll post when I get my hands on it! Mike lost his next fight to a strong green belt from Mahia. Again the lanky teen struggled to find distance against a strong and stockier fighter. Obviously something Chris is keen to work on! We were interested to see how Josh, who we know is super strong physically and mentally, would go against the far more experienced Cory. Josh hurt Cory fairly quickly with a knee to the ribs and was experienced enough to follow up (like a pit bull), eventually taking the fight by ippon (maybe it was called a wazaari, I can’t remember… but it was a clear ippon!). Josh’s next fight was against the stocky green belt who had taken out Mike and it was interesting to see the green belt fight a completely different fight, staying away from the inside which was clearly Josh’s comfort zone. Josh kept working his knees which worked even though it was a bit of a reach. So Josh won the division. Mike was happy with his KO and Chris had to satisfy himself by taking the high score on the ‘Dragon Punch’ game back at the hotel (beating not just every person who had ever used the game but also Chris and Jamie – ha ha!). Olivia went straight to the final and proved the Eades left mawashi (and attitude) is definitely hereditary! She went two extensions to take her division. Very good result and fun day all around. Congrats to all!