EC Denmark 2017 – write up!

ec2017 (4) – KopiEuropean Championship in Denmark 2017 are now history, impressions and memories will make us remember and steer our direction. The Danish organizer made a strong impression with well timed and enjoyable event! The level on the Tatemi was very hard and even, and it is no doubt that the level in total has increased. And as always several moments that were worth giving a little extra attention and contemplation..

Picture by Oliver Sperling

The European Championship will always be a highlight, and some times if possible even more will be at stake – as this year when the competitors fought about the last spaces in the World Championship in weight categories later this year. It has been very hard work throughout Europe at the forefront of this European Championship, which could be seen during the weekend.

The write up: (women write up will follow)

  • Organizing 
  • High level, unusually draw
  • Light, middle, heavy and super heavy weight
  • Thoughts, styles, 

dku_LogoThe Danish Karate Union has been working very hard to make this EC at the standard we would like to have. And this was a very good European Championship from the organizers. From the countries arrived at the airport – to they left after the tournament, did the Danish Union work as a well-oiled machine.  The venue for the EC was a good choice, and combined conference center and sports hall, the place was also well working for the sayonara party. IF it was something, it would be that the “warm up” area could be a bigger. 


Technology has been given a central role in today’s setting when organizing tournaments. This weekend we could see a system that included live updates draws, and a big screen in the hall. This made the fights go without stop, in full control for all parts. The streaming, and this has been a theme before. One mat – one camera…. two mats – two cameras. The breaks through the day, was also kept at a minimum, and this is also a major factor to keep the schedule on time. The Danish Union showed in total very good skill pulling of a big tournament, and at the same time have a large team of fighters compete.

The European Championship Shinkyokushin holds a very high level, and of course that would everybody say that are a part of it. But during the last years several fighters has been competing in other World Championship and European Championships, and that with good results. Measuring those results up against the results now would be naturally. But, this is on a wide specter and not individual cases. Many EC and even World Tournament medal holders from other organizations did not reach the podium this time, and that tells us what capacity one must have to reach the the top. 

The DRAW was, and still is a very hot topic. (short version) With a system out from Lithuania, that gives last years top four a seeded space, and with a “lottery” machine to pick out the rest made some unusual results. Well, the fighters did they best, some well known that they would have to fight several “finals” at an early stage. Worth to mention that only results from the Weight categories would count in this case, not open weight EC.

m70-85There are many opinions on how to have this done, but there is no doubt that this must be taken into consideration as soon as possible. And the first thing to get done is a system that ensures everyone, so it is known which lines to be followed, and what to deal with. Well we made our own “Possible Draw” no machine, just for fun.

But to the end of this, we can ensure that harder the path to the top, more respect earned the fighters – that`s a fact and of course the logical way of thinking for a practitioner of Budo and common sense.

17854802_1310227402399923_1446200068524498418_oThe lightweight category ended up with a “change of four” related to the results last year. The winner Emin Ismayilli, Azerbaijan powered through his opponents, and meet several strong fighters on his way, Jonas Eimontas, Lithuania in the first fight, Ziyafatalla (milad) Samizada,Sweden in the second fight, and this one was extreme hard and demanding. Third fight promising Karczub Zalán,Hungary and in the final Polish technician Konrad Kozubowski. Even do Ismayilli powered in this victory, was it Kozubowski who drew attention. Reaching the final showed his great skills, also winning the Kata tournament the first day made him the right winner of the technical award! ⇒

In this category the line up was filled with top fighters from nations this year, Azerbaijan, Poland, Lithuania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Georgia also have top fighters in Georgi Lotarov and Andrei Zinchenko. Last years runner up,Lotarov lost to Kozubowski in a firework of a fight, that the polish fighter took scoring a superb waza-ari, after a huge pressure from the Bulgarian fighter. Also reign champion from Georgia Andrei Zinchenko, ended outside the podium 

17879875_1403243259733527_3259486573684284998_oIn the middleweight division Lithuanian veteran ⇐Andrius Miseckas made it to the top. It is over ten years since he was on the podium for the first time, and since 2006 this was his 4th final, but now he eventually made it all the way. The setting for the final was the same as 2011, when Andrius Miseckas met Georgian top fighter Mikheil Tsiklauri. Miseckas with his always pushing forward physical grinding style. The question was how many inside lowkick could he receive?!

Jonas Pivoriūnas picture

In the semifinal he met a hard task in Tengiz Bastoiani, working his inside for more than one round before loosing on flags. Tsiklauri picked up where his team mate left, but even he with several hits at the same spot could not slow Miseckas down! Miseckas lost in the final against Salahat Hasanov, Azerbaijan last year, but this time he succeeded!  (far as we know) the reign champion did not fight this time.

17855297_1309800425775954_8346219249330520546_o ⇒

This category was also at a very high level, but in the early rounds, more than one questionable decision was taken. Seeing fighters dominate their opponent for almost the entire fight, but loose when the other fighter going for “hummingbird aimless punching-style” the last 20-30 seconds was spotted more than one time. Many hard and even fights was fought in the opening round, ⇒ Jimmie Collin/Sweden beat Lithuanian fighter Domas Sutkus, Mikheil Tsiklauri/ Georgia against a very good Igor Lamot / Poland, Etaj Humbatov/ Azerbaijan won a questionable victory against a stronger Bjørn Eirik Orstad/ Norway, by weight decision, and later on the same pattern by decision, the first initiative is in the 30-20 final seconds of the round. This kind of decisions sends a message that would be difficult to understand: should we only fight the last 20-30 second of each fight?  This category had 30 fighter registered, and as we said the level was very good, tough and hard! Anyone who steps into the Tatami would be winners.

17800268_10211348677747179_6922173033629741843_nLight heavyweight was the category that drew most attention in relation to the draw. The level was sky high, but the big question was who would make it through from the “death position”, and in what condition?! Top fighter Vasil Vangelov/ Bulgaria, against the most merited middleweight fighter in Europe  Marius Ilas/ Romania and the winner of this fight would met talented Marek Wolny/ Poland!! Further in the tournament most likely Yasir Mammadov or Vytautas Cepla, both with several EC medals. And in the end of that, reign double champion Valdemaras Gudauskas, Lithuania would be ready in the final. ⇐ Oliver Sperling picture by.

17834395_1403242783066908_8006155404699459316_oMarius Ilas was the one who manage to defeat Vasil Vangelov, Marek Wolny and Vytautas Cepla/ Lithuania. Cepla had on his side won a 9 minutes long fight against Swiss fighter Sacha Décosterd who recently became IBK / KAMAKURA World Champion in March. Sacha Décosterd made an Ippon against a very strong and promising Bergström from Sweden. On the other side Valdemaras Gudauskas, fought Sorin Buciuman/ Romania after Sorin won against Buga/ Latvia. Next fight for Gudauskas was against Tamas Popovics/Hungary, who was one of the ( Jonas Pivoriūnas ⇑ picture by) better fighters in the line of the draw, but he could not match the double EC Champion who are well known for his skills. Last one in the way for Gudauskas before the final was Georgian fighter Levan Verulidze, who ended third. Verulidze did a good tournament, winning against Sergi Gnes / Ukraine, and against last years 3rd place holder Mubariz Agamaliyev Azerbaijan.

17883970_10211355377194661_7241393533227784034_nThe final was as last year, Gudauskas vs Ilas – and we are so lucky to have this level of fighters in our organization! The final was a tactical fight at very high level, and both showed techniques and moves that will be copied – for sure. Gudauskas dangerous with his reach and high kicks especially – Ilas, always a hair ahead his opponents, capable of pulling a rabbit out of the hat, and solid lowkicks that lands in a combination with combing his hair. The fight goes on, and they are very even.⇐ Oliver Sperling

In the last round Gudauskas uses several techniques and connects randomly, as Ilas working the same leg of Gudauskas. last part of the match is will rather than technique (naturally after several round would one think) , and Gudauskas has saved up for this finish, Ilas has no other choice to answer with same style, not many clean hits but the judges find Gudauskas as the winner.

Super heavyweight once again we could see a really high class line up, even with some drop outs the start field was impressive. After the first round, the favorites advanced, and the second round was clearly tougher now also the fighters with Walk 17880522_1310218589067471_4302242607638331743_oOver came in as well. Edgard Sečinski / Lithuania, tears down strong French fighter Jean-Paul Jacquot after a hard fight. Fredrik Johansson Sweden passes barely home-fighter faddy Allan in a very physically demanding fight, that captured the crowd! This was the second win of the day for the Swede. Runner up from last year Macej Mazur / Poland seems very convincing winning against Andràs Dàvid / Hungary. ⇒

_4091567-2Swedish powerhouse Simon Pålsson ready for next round, by defeating Kakha Burdiashvili / Georgia. Pålsson will always be a hard challenge, and one could feel that he was good prepared. ⇐ Valeri Dimitrov / Bulgaria finds the thigh and gives excellent Ukrainian fighter Anatolii Zhuravel a ticket out of the tournament with powerful and good timed inside leg-kicks. ⇐ picture by Svein Olaf Bennæs

First “big one”, home-fighter Brian Jakobsen tames the wildness of Open weight EC champion Eventas Gužauskas / Lithuania, and out of the tournament at an early stage. Etibar Agalaroglu of Azerbaijan also made an advance, and shows good fighting winning his two first fights against Cristobal David Vidal / Spain and then Krzysztof Górecki / Poland.

17883977_10211348673307068_557702463744147845_nDorin Margarint / Romania up against Edgard Sečinski in the next round, where the Lithuanian fighter takes it. Mazur scores a ippon almost from the start, hitting Johanssen with a high kick that seems to also connect  to Johanssen`s eye. Fast fight for Mazur. Pålsson up against Dimitrov, the Swede makes a good impression and aiming for Dimitrov`s leg with lowkicks and knees. Dimitrov works the body of Pålsson, and the fight goes on! Dimirov takes notably punishment to the leg, but gets a Waza-ari with punches, witch the Swede not are agree with. But in the fight Dimitrov get his leg (think knee) injured, when Pålsson falls on the leg during a roll kick. This means that both are out of the tournament. We hope Valeri Dimitrov are back on his feet, soon as possible. Leaving the tournament at third place. ⇓

17522922_1309804319108898_6869388585313293295_nBrian Jakobsen earns a ippnon against Etibar Agalaroglu, after some evaluation from the judges. With Dimitrov our with injury, means that Jakobsen will be ready for the final. On the other side Mazur really shows his strength taking on Sečinski and giving him non chance punishing him with devastating lowkicks. Sečinski can barely walk down from the podium, and that tells us a lot. Third place for Sečinski.

The final and the last fight of the day : Brian Jakobsen vs Maciej Mazur. The final becomes a little anticlimactic, Mazur turns up the heat and intensity, and Jakobsen can not follow! A very convincing victory and EC tittle for Mazur, and a well deserved as well! 2nd place for Jakobsen, for the  time of his amazing career.

This EC was a really god tournament, and it gives us the standard we hope to have. Poland are promoted as the next organizer and we know from before that they have what they need to follow this level. As mention, the DRAW was the big issue and topic this time, and as said this must be dealt with. But we also see hoe much this means to us. The issue are all over internet, and on one side that is good. We need to get this right. But remember all the/you fighters did their/your best, and it is not addressed to you. 

As repeatedly said, the level of fighters are really good, and the fights are so even now and then that we do not envy the judges who must make decisions in those games where it is at its most even. That said, we see that in total the fighting are split in two directions. 

Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress..

never give upOn the one hand there is the natural evolution where athletes, coaches and countries are working to preserve and develop Full Contact Karate. On the other side we have cynical side where all that matters is winning and it at any cost. These two aspects are everywhere in sports. For full contact Karate its part does it mean to reduce technique and focus solely on the physical. If there are more of the type of fight style we saw on occasion conducted under this EC, which more or less is only savagery and aggression that are displayed in the 3x2x2 etc. – then we are in practice done. If this is rewarded by the judges with a victory, we are on the wrong track. If you do not get rewarded for learning techniques that are the base for our style, and following the road that we are required as practitioners of Kyokushin Karate of Mas Oyama, it’s the beginning of the end. Anyone can do ” hummingbird aimless punching-style”, Karate training or not. Athletes like Konrad Kozubowski, Brian Jakobsen, Maciej Mazur,Valdemaras Gudauskas, Marius Ilas, Valeri Dimitrov to name a handful of skilled fighters that brings us in the right direction.

17634884_10211355388034932_7652708005107162259_nThe European Championship 2017, was a great success, and it is very hard to thank everyone who worked hard for this event. Shihan Jan Bülow of Denmark has showed us what the Danish Union are capable to do, we can only thank. In the picture together with Shihan Midori, and that was also very important, the support from Japan really shows that we are all connected, across borders and countries. From the homeland of Karate and to the smallest nations that practice it. 

Next time for the European Championship – Poland 2018! And we are looking forward to it all ready!

And besides the EC we all are really excited thinking of the World Tournament in weight categories coming up in Kazakhstan in just a few month!  OSU!