Once again, one of the northernmost Full Contact tournaments was held – Bergen, Norway. The event is top class from the organizer, and for almost twenty years the Bergen Karate Club has served this yearly. This year’s event brought together athletes from Poland, Sweden and the whole of Norway.
Like the rest of Europe, it is hard to arrange championships. Especially if you do not have an EC, World Cup / Championship, Grand Prix relation. Few, if any, Open national tournaments have managed to hold an acceptable number of participants. With high profile tournaments on every street corner, this image is enhanced. But there is something these smaller tournaments have that is not found in the high-profile: soul.
Throughout the day we got to see a lot of good matches, and this year’s tournament gave us a clear impression of the young up-and-coming fighters who just gets better and better. It was in the audience to judge the novice classes that attracted the most interest. And not to forget the “novices” who attended the regular classes as well.
Faithful Sweden. Sweden is the nation that has for years faithfully contributed to the Kyokushin Open getting a lift across all classes. Top nation Poland. Poland has also been important with its highly skilled practitioners. The Polish team this year, led by Matuesz Garbacz, showed us top fighting – which is particularly important for the junior categories, as this will be a “window” to Europe. In previous years, the tournament has also been so lucky to be visited by a very good Italian Makotokai team.
As mentioned, there was good matching in the novice classes, and the men’s category under 80 kg was a good class with several good fighters. What one saw at one time was that practitioners had a greater composure and radiated more confidence in their behavior. This in turn helped to get more technique – and not “aimless punching” and less controlled fighting. Also worth mentioning Swedish fighter Leo Rønnebro, who came up from the class below.
Men -80 kg was also a category that gave us some good match ups. Quite even category, with fighters from Norway and Sweden. In the women’s category a another young Swedish fighters was notable, Ki Pasanen. Just coming into the senior division, and not only keeping up with the seniors – but challenging them all the way. Losing the final on weight against the veteran Stine Haugsdal / Norway – that’s a strong achievement, as the Norwegian fighter keeping a strong pressure trough the fight.
In the junior division, several great categories came trough, and one did of course notice the Polish team – captured four tittles. In the -70 kg (15-17 years) we witness a very good category, and a really great final between Jakub Owczarek / Poland vs Mirza Hukic / Sweden. Hukic took the title and the best technic award – defending his tittle from last year. In the category above 70 kg, Polish fighter Filip Nowocien impressed many with his performance in the final. Not only neutralized he his opponent much longer reach, he did also manage to score to secure the victory – and also a special award.
The junior division girls light weight – 60 kg, with fighters from all three nations, was a category to follow. Once again Poland was the strongest nation, Oliwia Matecka made it all the way to the top. With Norway and Sweden on second and third places. In the lighter categories, Poland had most impact among the nations – not totally unexpected.
A really good organized tournament – once again. But as mention, the format of today’s tournaments i Europe are changed, and it is most likely that it will never come back to what we has been used to see. What the future will bring is hard to tell, but one is grateful for contributions as Kyokushin Open Norway