In a speech in 1857 Frederick Douglas delivered a speech towards the emancipation of West Indian slaves. The most quoted line within the speech is “If there is no struggle, there is no progress”. This was written in a different time but over a century and a half later it is most apt for Genesis Martial Arts outing at the Watford Open.
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2012 was a coming out party for the Genesis Martial Arts Unleashed fight team and culminated for success for many of its junior members. All the fighters within the team have demonstrated improvement each time out and the coaches at Genesis constantly look to push them beyond their comfort zones seeking improvement and development of their fighting spirit. Well the Watford Open certainly delivered a tough test for all.
In his first ever competition Ethan Rapsay demonstrated the promise he has shown in class and progressed to the second round in the boys semi contact before being edged out by a single point in the second round. Ethan didn’t let the intensity of the light contact section daunt him but it did mean he struggled to fight his fight. As expected Ethan performed well and maintained technique and poise throughout although did and excellent job for his first ever outing.
Fighting in the boy’s semi contact intermediate and advanced sections under 150cm Liam Blandford’s goal is to get as much mat time as possible to get up to speed to catch up with his more experienced piers. In the advanced section Liam fought an experienced blackbelt with excellent timing and feints, which kept Liam off balance throughout and left few openings for him to capitalize on. Despite the defeat Liam showed growth from his previous fights and increased confidence. In the intermediate section Liam scored a moral and technical victory in the first round and a much needed confidence boost before losing in the second round.
Kieran Johnson looked to compete in the double semi contact and light contact sections at intermediate level over 160cm for the first time since growing 5 inches in 2012. At 162cm Kieran was one of the smaller competitors in both sections and struggled with the size, range and power of his fellow competitors. In light contact he fought a tough first round against Watford Freestyle Fighter Max Chapman Tripe. Max’s continuous pressure fighting was ultimately slightly to much for Kieran who was forced to fight on the back foot throughout.
In the semi contact section Kieran was able to use his speed and timing to win the teams only medal of the day with a spirited performance, which earned him 3rd place.
In the boys advanced black belt sections over 160cm Archie Thompson had difficult match ups in both semi contact and light contact being undersized in comparison to his opponents. Never one to quit Archie acquitted himself well in both sections but the size deficit was slightly to much for him to overcome and he was beaten in the first round in both sections. Look out for Archie in the same section in 2014 as he will have grown into given the time.
Louise Birkett was up next in the girls over 160cm black belt sections fighting in semi contact and light contact divisions. Going into the event Louise was carrying a nagging back injury, which hampered her performance and ability to kick. Unable to perform at her usual level Louise was unable to progress past the first round in semi contact but her grit and determination allowed her to win third place in the light contact section. Louise will now look to recover and bounce back from the injury.
Armid Akram was keen to demonstrate his form of 2012 and improve over his Kwon Grand Slam performance. Demonstrating decent movement throughout the first round, Armid failed to pressure his opponent or to provide any deterrent for him to attack which cost him the match. In semi contact points can be accumulated and lost quickly and a lead of 1 or 2 points can easily be negated with a go for broke competitor in a single attack. Still young in his Martial Arts career Armid will be working hard on his ability to secure match winning points at will.
Anchoring the team Adam Spittles fought in the men’s semi contact intermediate section over 75kg. Like Liam, Adam is a beginner who is transitioning into the intermediate section and is gathering more experience with each outing. As with life in competition experience is key. With 2 seconds left in the round Adam was level with his opponent on points and just needed to stall out to go to a 30 second overtime. The other option in this situation for a confident fighter is to go for broke and score the point leaving no time for any comeback. Either option can provide a winning outcome and when you fight for long enough wins and losses will occur either way. In this instance Adams last second attack was countered and he lost the match however the bold attack has proven successful in the past for Adam and shows that he is an all or nothing fighter.
2013 will be a long year with competitions throughout the calendar and despite the Watford Open resulting in the lowest medal haul for Genesis (a single bronze) in 2 years the team is fighting at a much higher level and against much better competition and for some in categories which they are at the bottom of. Regardless of the results the team remains positive and are motivated to train harder. They will return and are always aware that “If there is no struggle, there is no progress”.
Thank you as always to parents in attendance, Steve Birkett, Stewart Thompson, Dave Blandford and Sharon Barlow who bought Shannon along to support the team while she recovers from her knee injury. Special thanks to Andrea and Jason for supporting Ethan and allowing him to become part of the Genesis Team.
If you would like to join the Genesis Team and fight with them on the competition circuit, join them and train alongside them at Genesis Unleashed Squad Training 6.30 till 9.30pm on the 5th March 2013 at Genesis Gym. http://www.facebook.com/events/335891339852535/