2010 All American Open
September 18, 2010
New York, USA

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On Thursday September 16th we were en-route to New York City for a busy weekend packed with sightseeing and exploration. After a lengthy time circling above Newark, New Jersey, due to unstable weather conditions, our plane had to land in Rochester, NY, to re-fuel before returning to our desired destination. We finally arrived in the Newark Liberty Airport, NJ, at around 7:30 PM and quickly jumped into a cab and made our way to Manhattan in downtown New York City. Our hotel was right in the heart of Manhattan with Times Square only a few blocks away. We met up with Sensei Brad and Sempai Michelle who had also arrived that night by train from Philadelphia. After a quick walk through Times Square and a nice meal at a great Italian restaurant, we called it a night because we had a lot to do on Friday.

Friday morning we made our way down to the New York dojo so that I could do my weigh-ins and get all of the tournament information. With that out of the way early, we had time to walk around New York and take in the sights and shop. That evening we attended a Major League Baseball game between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves. Sadly, the Mets lost 6-4 to the Braves but it was a great game full of excitement and expensive junk food. It was the perfect end to a busy Friday spent touring New York.

Saturday was the day of the tournament. I made the decision to sleep in so that I would be well rested for my fights that werenft scheduled to take place until around 4:00 PM. I arrived at the venue at around 2:00 PM to ensure that I would be there for opening ceremonies and to give me enough time to get comfortable and get warm. The atmosphere in the fighterfs room was subtle. I was blown away to realize the company I was in. There were fighters from all over the world. Fighters like Lechi Kurbanov from Russia and Eduardo Tanaka from Brazil. Fighters that I had only seen on video that were well known and successful in the international circuit. It was a little nerve racking, but at the same time I was anxious to fight. In the fighterfs room I met up with Michi Nagase and Kris Erickson from the Vancouver Dojo as we all waited anxiously for our fights.

Kris Erickson had the first fight out of the three of us. His opponent was the well-known European Champion Nicolae Stoain. Kris did well and fought hard but lost by decision. My first opponent was Keiji Ouchi from the New York dojo and I was up next. I was both nervous and anxious to fight because I had never fought Keiji before but I was ready to go. We had a good fight, and he was extremely quick and accurate with his attacks. He was light on his feet and when he moved around he used the entire ring. I had never fought anyone like this before, but I knew going in that it would be a tough fight. We had a close fight and I lost to Keiji by decision, he was a very skilled veteran fighter. I took away a lot from this fight and I hope to use this experience to better my fighting so that I may become a smarter and better fighter in the near future for upcoming tournaments. Now Michi was the only fighter left from western Canada. He fought a student from the New York dojo in his first fight and won. In his second fight Michi took on an opponent way bigger than him from Japan. Michi used his quick techniques and stayed busy and took the Japanese fighter to two extension rounds and he won by decision. Michi had now advanced and was set to fight Keiji Ouchi. Michi and Keiji had a great fight and Michi fought very well but lost to Keiji by decision. But in the end Michi had placed in the Top 8 (7th place) at the All-American Open in New York.

After I had lost, I just stood on the sidelines and watched all of the other fighters. I was blown away at the skill and endurance of all of the renowned international fighters. Their technique and their power was something to be admired and they all put on a show. All of the fighters did excellent and it was an enriching experience.

I would like to thank Shihan Gorai and the New York dojo for hosting such a successful event. I would also like to thank Sensei Brad for the support, the training and all of the help he put in to help me prepare for the tournament. I had a great time and it was definitely an eye opening experience and I hope to return next year and better myself as a competitor. Thank you.

Osu

Jordan Forget


OSU,
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On Saturday September 18th, All American Open was held at Hunter College in New York City. 

This year, the tournament had a total of 31 competitors in the men's open division including world-class fighters from Brazil, Europe, Russia, Australia and Japan.  The caliber of the tournament was very high since many of them have competed in the last World Tournament in 2007. So it was a perfect tournament for me and Kris to find out where we stood now and what we would have to work towards the next World Tournament.  

In preparation for this tournament, I went to the dojo for regular class and fighters class to improve my skills. I particularly focused on developing the lateral movement and block and counter. I also trained in Crossfit about 4,5 times a week to gain the strength and explosive power needed to fight against a heavyweight fighter. You must possess a certain amount of muscular strength and endurance when you fight in an open weight category like this tournament.

Krisfs first opponent was the European Middleweight Champion, Nicolae Stoian from Romania who was well known for his powerful punch.  When the match started, as we had expected, he aggressively came in-close with a flurry of his signature punches. Kris quickly responded with well-timed left low kick. Stoian momentarily slowed down as the kick landed on his right thigh. (I know how hard those kicks are, believe me.) But the Romanian kept pushing down on his gas pedal shooting out more punches. His aggressiveness stood out as a little edge over his opponent, and the decision went to Stoian at the end. The match ended without seeing Kris deliver his favorite knee kick because Stoian wisely kept distance away from the tall opponent. However, the narrow loss at least let Kris learn a valuable lesson: "Move the body to use the knee".

My first fight was a fighter from New York dojo. I managed to get Ippon by left middle kick and advanced to 2nd round. 

Second fight was against Ken Iwai from Tokyo, Japan. He weighed about 264 pounds and was the heaviest competitor in this event.  I had practiced the lateral footwork on the assumption of facing a big opponent like him. This match would be a perfect opportunity to test out the fruits of the training.  But before thinking about those physical strategies, it was far more important to me to psychologically maintain my poise through the match. I'd experienced too many losses in the past by failing to keep cool under pressure. Avoiding the mental breakdown before and during a match and stayed completely focused were my primal goal in this event.

At the beginning of the match, I was not able to relax and felt a bit stiff. But the towards the end of the round, I began moving sideways to deflect the massive force I felt from the opponent.  The lateral move was working well. However, Iwai persistently kept on charging me in the attempt to push me back. The match went into an extension round.  As the fight went on, my lateral steps combined with the inside low kick, worked more effectively than in the previous round. But Iwai's low kicks and punches did not cease. Thus, we were to fight the second extension. There, I strived to keep on the move and stay on top of my opponent in terms of the number of techniques thrown. But Iwai's pressure remained strong and persistent. We fought through two extensions, and luckily, I won the match by decision.

In the quarter finals, I fought against Keiji Ouchi from New York. Despite the fact that he is a fighter of very small physique, this Japanese has a superb tournament record. With his unparalleled agility and unshakable fighting spirit, Keiji is always taken as a formidable contender.  My goal for this fight was to stay calm and fully analyze the opponent moves and focus on lateral footwork with counter attack.  I think we evenly exchanged techniques but during the last 30 seconds of the match,  I lost my balance a few times by his well-timed inside low kick. It cost me the entire match and resulted in a decision in favor of Keiji.

I was pleased to see all my hard training coming together to bring me the best result I ever got in New York. But I still have so many things that I found to improve in this event. My ultimate goal is to establish my own style in Kumite and make the most out of myself in next World Tournament in 2011. I will keep training hard! 

At the last I would like to thank Shihan Gorai and New York dojo staff for giving us a great opportunity to fight in such a high caliber tournament. And all the Vancouver dojo students for their support to prepare us for this event , especially Sensei Tats for giving us special training session and Mark for holding pads for us (Yes, his big body was much needed and worked great.) and of course to all the fighters class students for their support as a strong team. I wouldnft have gotten this result without you all. 

I will keep training hard and aim for the better result next year.

Osu! 

Michi Nagase
Vancouver Kyokushin Karate


Michi Nagase, recorded as the 4th Canadian to take
a top 8 spot in All American Championships
after Dominic Adam, Johnny Leblanc and Tats Nakamura.
Congratulations!

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