GLOUCESTER CLUB WINS MASSIVE MEDAL HAUL
AT EUROPEAN KARATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
14th June 2022
Whilst the rest of the country were enjoying the sunshine and festivities of the
Diamond Jubilee weekend, eleven members of Gloucester’s Kenbu dojo
donned the Union Jack and travelled to Malta to represent Great Britain in the
Kenpo Karate European Championships.
Over the four day event, the Gloucester team won an incredible 69 medals,
including 29 golds, and saw senior instructor Sinéad Byrne crowned as
women’s European Grand Champion.
The team, the youngest of whom was only 7 years old, competed across
multiple disciplines ranging from demonstrations of specific forms (techniques
linked to flow together, scored for precision and style), creative self defense
scenarios, weapons techniques and adrenaline filled knock-out sparring
competitions - and between them won medals in every discipline.
For martial arts club owner, Sinead Byrne, this has been the culmination of
two years of hard work and determination:
“We originally intended to compete in the 2021 championships in Holland but
that was cancelled due to Covid. I’m super proud of all the kids on the team –
they kept going despite everything and a year later we finally got there.”
“For me, the trip was all about adventure: having my students meet new
friends and make memories that will last a lifetime. The medals are just the
icing on the cake!”
“My highlight of the trip was the team sparring event, where I competed
alongside two other team members and against 6 foot tall black belts. I am
one of the youngest on the team, and we still managed to place 1 st , it was
amazing!” – Finley Balodis, Age 12
“I really loved the whole trip, the atmosphere was something I had never
experienced before, I got to learn from so many different teachers across
Europe in the seminars. I loved watching my team members succeed and do
so well at the tournament too. – James Probert, Age 16
As well as competing in the championships, the students also had the
opportunity to attend seminars with some of the most senior Kenpo Karate
instructors in the world, expanding their knowledge of the sport and perhaps
gaining a few tips for the next competition – in Rome, 2023.
Overall, the Gloucester team won: 29 gold, 26 silver and 14 bronze medals
plus a Grand Champion title in Female Sparring at the championships.
Making them the most successful team at this years event.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to our sponsors Little Man Project. Who very kindly supported the team throughout our fundraising events and covered the full costs of our amazing hoodies. Which each of the team will treasure forever after this amazing event. Thank you from each and every student, parent and club member. We are very grateful indeed.
Thank you to IKKA Europe for hosting such a fantastic event and giving these kids such a great first introduction to competing at this level within Kenpo. All instructors and fellow students were a pleasure to train and compete along side of. We cannot wait to see you all again in Rome 2023.
Notes for Editors
Kenbu Dojo is a family orientated martial arts club in the heart of Gloucester
catering to both children and adults. Run by eight times World Kenpo Karate
Champion Sinead Byrne, the club teaches a unique mix of Kenpo Karate and
Bujankan Budo Taijutsu which allows the students to learn both a modern
sporting system and a traditional martial art.
Kenpo Karate, sometimes known as American Karate, is a modern martial
arts system based on ancient martial methods but applied to modern world
scenarios. Founded by the late Ed Parker in the 1950s, Kenpo Karate
emphasizes using fast attacks to disable an opponent, employing a wide
range of punches, strikes and kicks as well and joint locks, throws and
weapons techniques. One of the most famous Kenpo students was Elvis
Presley, who reached 9 th Dan black belt in the system.
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