The Moose Mountain Wado Kai Karate Club based in Carlyle hosted the Saskatchewan Provincial Wado Kai Karate Championship on Saturday, Nov. 22. The weekend began with a clinic held the night before by Denis Labbé, President of the Shintani Wado Kai Karate Federation (SWKKF) and eighth degree black belt, who also oversaw the tournament.
Labbé was very pleased with both the clinic and the tournament exclaiming everyone who attended did very well.
“In the clinic on Friday we had 35 kids between 6 0'clock and 7:30; we had a lot of fun with that and then we had 23 adults between 7:30 and 9:30 who came out as well,” Labbé explained. “We had a very good night.”
The tournament, Labbé said, consisted of two categories of competition. The first being the kata and the second being the kumite.
“The kata focuses on techniques and they are put together for an imaginary fight,” Labbé stated. “They are then judged on their form, technique, power, and speed. Each level has differences, but all require two katas in order to reach the next level. There's always a goal.”
Five judges score the kata. Determining a score the highest and lowest ones are eliminated and the other three totalled. If there is a tie the highest and lowest scores are then brought in, if this cannot determine a winner then those tied must compete again.
The kata is important for focusing on techniques, which are necessary when taking part in the kumite.
“The kata routine is learned and this strong spirit used within the kata has to also be used in the kumite.”
The kumite is the fighting between others of the same level. It lasts for a total of two minutes, with five judges looking for contact, appropriate or illegal. Contact must be made above the belt and below the neck. Points may be awarded if the individual uses control enough to show they could have made contact to the individuals head, but must not actually make contact or be disqualified.
“We are very family-oriented and want it to be fun,” Labbé explained. “So, judges look for points but also touches to the face, back, or below the belt.”
Impressed with those competing, Labbé exclaimed, “We have a very good group here today.”
Labbé, who is from Ontario, actually studied under Sensei Masaru Shintani the founder of this particular style of martial arts.
“I was 14, in high school, grade 10, and Masaru Shintani, he was my instructor,” Labbé stated. “A teacher at my school emphasized a school karate program. Sensei Shintani had night classes, but would come in at 3 o'clock after school.”
“He had come in to do a demonstration and I wasn't into team sports really, but had wanted to try martial arts, so I was lucky. It kind of turned into my thing and I really enjoyed it, so I progressed from there and had a first degree black belt by the time I graduated.”
After being secretary for the SWKKF for years, Labbé became Sensei Shintani's successor.
“It has been great, it's become part of my life,” Labbé stated. “Every day of my life is lived around it: balance and discipline. Sensei really made an impact on my life.”
The local Moose Mountain Wado Kai Karate Club was also happy with the day as Jayson Humphries, sensei, explained: “We have a good group of people here today with people coming from Manitoba, Saskatoon, and Ontario. We usually have a group from Alberta, but Raith Mokelky, the sensei there, was unable to make it this year due to work obligations. It's actually the first year in 29 years that he was unable to come.”
Both Humphries and Labbé were also very thankful to all of the volunteers throughout the day.
The Moose Mountain Karate Club will submit the results of the tournament to The Observer in the next couple of weeks.