British Open 2017

BUTF Championships Report

On Saturday 28th October commenced the 2017 BUTF Championships, the first competition since the passing of the founder of the BUTF, Grandmaster Raymond MK Choy IX Dan. The day began with Grandmaster Au IX Dan, who has now taken over as the new head of the BUTF, being warmly welcomed with applause from instructors, students and spectators before she commenced to give her opening speech and offer words on Grandmaster Choy, a man who devoted much of his life to Taekwondo. Grandmaster Choy ensured the betterment and development of the BUTF and as such carried his duties as the head of the BUTF up until 5 days before his passing. His impeccable commitment to the BUTF ensured we are able to practice unadulterated Taekwondo today. A poster of Grandmaster Choy was displayed where many medallists and their instructors took pictures besides. A massive thank you is due to the printer  Arron Carter who arranged this on such short notice.

Prior to the start of the competition, new promotions to black belt and Dan grades were honourably handed by Grandmaster Au. As the most senior promotion, it was Rakesh Sudra from Croydon first who was handed his well-earned 4th degree followed by David Shakespeare of Great Missenden being promoted to 3rd Dan. There were many new people who had been awarded their IL Dan belts but one man in particular who attained his black belt, Harry Burgess-Wall from Chesham at age 67  proved with hard work and commitment that age is just a number.

The junior white, yellow and green belts kicked of the competition with their patterns and fiercely battled it out for the medals. Sharp performances from all proved the spirit of the competition was very much high, with special mentions for Mia and Paige from FSMA for putting on such a display.

The competitive spirit was followed by blue and red belts with many of them attaining high scores and some performing their best patterns. It was a bittersweet ending for a few individuals who managed to get through to the second round but forgetting their pattern allowed their fellow competitors to seize the opportunity to grab medals.

After performing their patterns, the colour belts geared up for sparring. With the combination of well managed rings and referee’s the competitors showcased their talents scoring using a variety of techniques and combinations. Proud parents, friends and family cheered as the colour belts battled it out for the gold.

After all colour belts had finished, black belts followed suit and warmed up for patterns. The high standard of patterns embedded with the BUTF reflected well within the Black Belts. Karina Naik from Tooting, performing a sharp and powerful pattern saw her take Gold in the female black belt patterns. It was Joe Rigg who got the Gold in the men’s Black Belt patterns performing an excellent Eui-Am to score the highest points. Credit has to be given to the new black belts who also performed great patterns but fell ever so slightly short of a medal position.

The long awaited Black Belts sparring by many members of the audience began after the conclusion of the patterns. Tactical thinking, variety of combinations, speed and skill from many black belts did not fail to impress. A true reflection of perseverance and indomitable spirit was present between many competitors as they battled for a position on the podium.

With the conclusion of the sparring, the Black Belts prepared for breaking. Many black belts took the boards with full power to break using a 360 degree back kick and twin foot jumping snap kick. A recently promoted Sheldon Childress certainly made an impression by breaking 3 boards with a jumping twin snap kick allowing him to take home Gold.

With the final medals in breaking being awarded, a once again successful BUTF Championships came to a close. Many medals were won by a range of schools and there were faces of proud instructors, competitors and parents all around.

Michael Snelders