On the 29th of January 2022, the second club competition at Westwood Karate Academy took place in Essex!

It has been a long 2 months since the club’s first competition after the pandemic, but the members are still going strong. I managed to speak to two of the club’s own Junior Black Belts (1st and 2nd dan grade) about the competition and how their karate training has been affected by COVID-19. Junior Black Belt Sofia told me that she “hadn’t lost any interest in karate” and her and friend Jasmine, also a junior Black Belt continued to train on Zoom during the pandemic.

One of Jasmine’s friends left the club due to COVID-19 and they have unfortunately lost a number of members due to the pandemic. According to the two girls, the competition was “less empty than the first competition back”. There wasn’t as many people at the competition than there used to be before the pandemic, however, “the urge to get to my 3rd dan” helped Jasmine stay motivated and the “competitions kept me going” for Sofia after 6 years of training, and 10 years for Jasmine. They said that “Kumite (fighting)” was their favourite aspect of Shotokan Karate and they were very excited for the competition.

The members weren’t required to do lateral flow tests before the competition due to the current government guidelines but the two I spoke to still did. The area where they competed was nice and spacious with the sports hall offering a watching balcony as well- should you want to socially distance- as seats on the lower floor.