First World Shoto Cup Results
The West Powers Canada at First World Shoto Cup
TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA – Canada hosted the first World Shoto Cup, held over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, October 9-13. For the home country, it was a successful tournament on many levels.
Sensei Frank Woon-A-Tai, who, along with his organizing committee, put on the tournament, was delighted with the way the weekend turned out: the tournament ran smoothly, the Canadian team fired on all cylinders, and, more importantly for him, “the judging was very fair.” In all, 28 countries took part in the tournament.
The Canadian team – 101 members strong – was made up of participants from the across the country. The western contingent, however, was conspicuous by their number and contribution. Marcel Lussier of Saskatchewan, the senior kata and kumite champion, put on a spectacular demonstration that had the audience pumped. The performance, complete with special light effects and music, had the energy of a rock concert. It epitomized the theme of the tournament: Tradition in the 21st Century.
Call it the Calgary Factor. The Canadian team also benefited from the contribution of the many talented students of Sensei David Jones. Led by Laurie Jones (kata and kumite champion), Sensei Jones’s wife, 2008 Canadian grand champions Michelle Novak (kata champion, team kumite champion) and Kenji Doshida (kata bronze medalist, team kata and team kumite champion), the Alberta contingent included: the Villanueva sisters – Leah (kata and kumite champion) and Alexa (kata silver medalist, kumite bronze medalist); Kimmy Nguyen (kata champion); Crystal Burke (team kumite champion); William Houghton (kata silver medalist); Thomas Chin (kata champion); Colin Chin (team kata champion); Brian Nguyen (team kata champion); Travis Head (team kumite champion); and Brendan McGowan (team kumite champion).
The home team got off to a fast start. On the first day of competition, the Canadian juniors made a strong showing, especially in the older age divisions. Leah Villanueva (14-15, girls division) was a double gold winner, Jeffrey Soucy (12-13, boys, kumite champion) impressed, as did Owen Song (16-17, boys), who won the kumite title in convincing fashion.
But it was not all Canada, of course; among those who stood out were double gold medalist Mariam Ramirez Hernandez (12-13, girls division) and Azucena Soto Arellano (8-9, girls, kata champion, kumite silver medalist), both of Mexico, Raen Zulueta of the USA (10-11, girls, kata champion, kumite silver medalist), and Rodrigo Mattner Gaspar of Brazil (14-15, boys, kata champion).
Canadians finished 1-2 in women’s individual kata. Michelle Novak took the gold, Isabel Bordage the silver, and Yvonne Clarabel (USA) the bronze.
The United States dominated the men’s kata competition, placing first and second. Jumbo Banaria (42.2) out-pointed teammate Takamichi Maeshima (41.9) and Kenji Doshida (41.8) to capture the gold.
In women’s kumite, Maria Cecilia Maia (Brazil) defeated Krysten Sewett (Guyana) in the finals; Kristin Hoffman and Marcia Ransom, both of the USA, tied for third.
On the men’s side, Cameron King (Barbados) defeated Rory Ramsay (USA) and Avi Bokler (Israel) on his way to the gold. Bokler and Rasthadeus Wright of Jamaica took home the bronze.
For many observers, the rematch between Kenji Doshida and Cameron King became the most anticipated event of the tournament. The rematch was the result of a scoring mix-up the previous day: a wazaari (half point), scored by King, was awarded to Doshida instead. The rematch, however, proved more suspenseful than entertaining. The tactical match produced little in the way of action. Using his reach and experience to advantage, King slowed the tempo and kept Doshida outside striking range. He held his ground and shifted away each time Doshida attacked. A late wazaari advanced King into the semis.
In team kata, the US women were unlucky in finishing fourth. A costly mistake dropped the team, which had been seeded first by winning the preliminary round, out of medal contention. In men’s team kumite, Brazil edged out Israel for the bronze by the narrowest of margin, winning on aggregate wazaari.
The official theme of the tournament – Tradition in the 21st Century – was a celebration of the practice of traditional karate in the new millennia. The unofficial theme, one equally appropriate and very much in evidence throughout the weekend, might well have been peace, goodwill, and equality among all peoples.
The darling of the tournament had to be Maheengun Shawanda and his family from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Decked out in colorful traditional dress for the opening ceremony, they gave a brief introduction on First Nations culture through native dance.
At the close of their performance, Shawanda asked everyone in the stands to join in the finale. Without coaxing, hundreds of karate-ka, representing many nations, eagerly complied. Holding hands in the middle of the gym floor, they formed two large circles. It was a moving sight, which captured the spirit of the occasion. The celebration of harmony and goodwill was a very fitting way to observe Thanksgiving.