Hey all,

Last weekend ( 23, 24, 25 March 2012, Torres Novas, Portugal) I fought my first international championship: the 2012 ICKKF all styles championship.

The ICKKF is a pan-european organisation housing various Kajukenbo, Kempo and traditional ( Chinese) clubs. The championship itself was open to everybody, from any style.

Competition was divided in all kinds of forms, light -, semi - and full contact divisions, submission fights, knock down fights (basicly stand up with groundwork, a bit MMA ish), and self defense demonstrations ( each performer was required to demonstrate self defense techniques before judges) and much more...

The organisation of the event itself was chaotic. Competition started at 9.30 each day, but there was no known schedule. One just had to wait for his or her name to be called to know where and when one had to perform or fight. There were too many divisions, and competition went on well into the night ( midnight on sunday). Not ideal.

I was a member of the Belgian delegation from the BKO ( Belgian Kempo Organisation) representing my club Zen Kenpo Systems ( American Kenpo). I took part in semi - and light contact competitions, and did a form as well ( American Kenpo long form one). Full contact was not an option, allas. I broke my left hand recently and didn't want to take the risk to hurt it again. In hindsight this was a good thing.
And anlthough I'm not displeased by my performances, I sucked. Being 30 I was lumped in the "Masters" division for all competitions. This division knew no grades so as a yellow belt I had to compete against guys way more experienced than I was.
In semi - contact pointfighting my elemination was imidiate against a german Kung Fu guy representing Wun Hop Kuen Do. He had ten years of training and competitions on me, it was only natural.
Light-contact continuous point fighting faired better for me. My first opponent was a black belt from a style I can't recall. I won somehow, trying the "guerilla" tactic my coach advised ( get in quickly, land punches and kicks quickly, get out and circle). My first win, the sensation was incredible. I lost in the second round to a spanish guy who also competed in full contact. I could not get inside his reach, and when I did his punches landed. He knocked me down twice. Fair enouch, he was my better, and a nice guy to booth. Went on to win a place on the podium. Light contact regularely degraded in full contact bouts. I have a feeling that a lot of competitors train full contact with light as an afterthought, but they are different beasts. Judges had a hard time restraining the competitors.

The full contact division was dominated by competitors from Romania, Uzbeckistan and other Eastern European countries. And they went full on. Blood and injuries all over. My hand wouldn't have taken that kind of punishment.

I performed my form in front of three Kajukenbo Grandmasters ( one of them was Rick Kingi, stern but a nice guy) who graded me 81/83/84. I was satisfied by my performance against higher ranked performers.

All in all a very weird weekend. I clearly lack training and experience, but I don't feel I did that badly given the circumstances. Exhaustion was an issue, and I'm not looking forward to get back to work today.
Just wanted to share, shoot questions and comments freely.

Wouter