MARTIAL ARTS: Dorchester member secures a first-place prize

TOP OF THE CLASS: Josh Clark shows off his winner’s trophy from the Dragon Tang Soo Do Open Championship

TOP OF THE CLASS: Josh Clark shows off his winner’s trophy from the Dragon Tang Soo Do Open Championship

First published in Sport

TWO members of Dorchester’s Fudoshin Ju-Jitsu Club took part in the Dragon Tang Soo Do Open Championship near Bristol.

This is the second year running that the club has entered the prestigious competition, which brings together students from both Japanese and Korean martial arts, such as karate, taekwondo and tang soo do, to compete against each other in three categories – sparring, weapons forms and unarmed patterns.

For 11-year-old St Osmond’s pupil Zaq Thompson, it was his maiden event and he was unlucky to be beaten in the first round of the sparring by the eventual winner.

His unarmed karate kata im-pressed the judges sufficiently to get him into the finals but he narrowly missed out on a trophy.

In his strongest discipline, the weapons form, his flawless execution with a wooden bokken failed to score highly with the judges, who gave top marks to a traditional jo staff routine, performed by a tang soo do competitor.

It was 12-year-old Dorchester Middle School pupil Josh Clark’s second appearance at the championship and after a trio of second place trophies last year he was keen to go one better and secure that elusive first place.

This year though, he was competing in the black belt division and the standard was significantly higher than he had faced previously.

Josh’s best chance lay in the weapons category and his twin nunchaku pattern that he performed crisply with speed and precision.

But the move up to the higher division meant he was competing against older, more experienced black belts and Clark lost out to a 2nd Dan tang soo do student, who performed a complicated sword routine to a very high standard.

The unarmed kata was also disappointing for Clark, who saw the trophies for first and second go to a pair of students from the Jamie Woodward Black Belt Academy.

In the sparring, the divisions were determined by the competitors’ age, height and weight and Clark enjoyed sweet revenge against the two Jamie Woodward students, who had triumphed in the unarmed kata, beating the winner 2-0 in the first round and the runner-up 2-1 in the second.

In the final, Clark found himself facing Warren Mays from Wey-mouth, a highly-experienced fighter who trains with Nick Bale’s MMAX Academy.

These two well-matched competitors produced a closely-fought match with Clark managing to avoid Warren’s jabbing side kick to win 2-0. Sensei Nick Maton said: “I am proud of both students who tested their martial art skills against the best from a range of different styles and showed what ju-jitsu practitioners can do.

“I am disappointed Zaq came home without a trophy but he has learnt a lot from the experience and I’m sure he will be back next year.

“Josh did what he set out to do and went one better than last year, winning a first place trophy. He also now knows what the standard is in the black belt divisions and what he needs to do to increase his trophy haul in the future.”

* Dorchester Fudoshin Ju-Jitsu train at the Dorchester Sports Centre and the Judo Club on Sawmills Lane.

* There is also a club at the Gryphon Leisure Centre in Sherborne and all details of training times can be found at britishfudoshin.co.uk

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