EC 2017 – I saw good tournament… but (updated)

Picture by Oliver Sperling

When I see something good, I have to say it.

So I saw a very good organized tournament, everything starting on schedule and looks really nice on live video. But… there is always “but”. . .

Disappointment of the draw stayed long in my soul. Why didn’t they change it? Because they’re afraid of change. Any kind of change. My opinion, shared with others as well, is this was a stupid draw – not only for Bulgarians, at least for half of them the draw was not good. Who is to blame? Everyone in that room where the draw was made. Because we all care about our fighters as usual, but on second thought we must care for all fighters, because we are one.

Bulgarians started day with 3 beautiful wins: Violeta Litovska, Georgi Lotarov and Hristo Alexandrov went through their opponents with finesse and tactics. After that we (I mean we all, not only Bulgarians), wanted to see Marius Ilas and Vasil Vangelov, but the director of live streaming decided to show the other tatami. And I saw that everyone, really everyone watched tatami B, but us on live streaming did not. Good job, guys.

For bronze results of BG team will share only this: more, we need more and they will show us more. You will see it!

After that the day became strange, from some “smart” decisions of the judges. Yes, I’m not there, but some of decisions was strange and it seems they (judges) can not understand who just jump and imitate fighting and who is really a better fighter on the tatami (about “jumping” is critics for girls, especially Lithuanian). I’m happy that I saw really good women’s semifinals and final fights! Personal congratulations to Zsófia Szabó and Sara Hägge! You made me proud women! Osu!


For men division… Konrad Kozubowski from Poland surprised me – 1st on Kata and 2nd on Kumite -65 kg. This is rare and I like his style. Next category 65-75 kg. – very difficult winning for Andrius Miseckas (Lithuania) but deserved!  Men 75 – 85 final Valdemaras Gudauskas (Lithuania) and Marius Ilas (Romania) – I’m not agree with this, but I wasn’t there, right. Last +85 kg category and new king in European HW is Maciej Mazur (Poland). I shared my opinion with some people that the best European fighter, Valery Dimitrov, dropping out because of old injury, I was sure that Maciek will become champion! I follow his evolution, his progress since 2012 and It was a matter of time before he becomes Еuro champion in HW. Congratulations again! Osu!

In general all was very good. There are some little things that could have made the internet presence much better, but I will not share which I think that it. Soon you all will see, one of the best internet and social medias presences of Kyokushin karate tournaments. Soon…

That’s all… for now.

Pictures by Oliver Sperling


Men and Women Kumite 
Juniors Kumite 

If you think this is just my opinion… read this

Federatia Română de Karate Kyokushin

European Championship in Roskilde
So good, so wrong
This year, Denmark had the very difficult task of organizing the European championship, and they did such an amazing job. Everything was perfect, from organizing the arrivals of delegations, to best accommodation, from perfect timed transfers to respecting schedules. The competition itself took place in a beautiful decorated sports hall, with great lights, perfect sound, live broadcast on Internet, very nice demonstration, incredible guests from Japan and Europe, polite and professional staff. Everything went smooth in an atmosphere of real Kyokushin-Shinkyokushin that would made Sosai very proud of us.
Of course, there were some minor mistakes regarding referees, especially in the first day of competition and in the first rounds of the second day, but this has nothing to do with the beautiful organization. It has to do with too many inexperienced referees that were put up to a task too big for them. In kata, the technical aspect seemed to matter less than other criteria. In junior fighting, so many points not seen, so many changes of decisions during the same fight, referees that just copied others decisions, fights that should be awarded wins were awarded equal and vice versa. Things changed absolutely for the better when experienced referees were present on the tatami. This is common and we are used with it, referees need experience, but maybe the European championship should not be the place for experimenting. This is nothing new and no big deal, we have seen it in the past, we will see it probably in the future. We are an amateur sport so it is almost normal. And for sure it should not throw a shadow at the final result which was a fantastic Championship with so many great fighters and amazing fights. Again, congratulations to the organizers, you did an amazing job!
Something BAD stood up from the norm and it was on everybody’s lips: the abnormal draw of the -85 kg senior male category. I don’t know where to start, because there were so many wrong things with it that it makes it really difficult. First of all, I want to make it clear that the Lithuanians (because strangely enough not only for me, EKO uses only the Lithuanian soft and Lithuanian staff to make the draw in the EC) did not break any written rules. It was common sense they were stepping on. How the hell can you have on one side of the draw two European medalists and on the other side seven of them? How in the hell can you have multiple European medalist Vasil Vangelov fight in the first round with multiple European champion Marius Ilas? How the hell can you have European medalist Marek Wolny fight in the second round with the winner of Marius and Vasil? And on the other side, Valdemaras Gudauskas, which I really like and respect, he is a very kind man, had a free round and only almost unexperienced fighters to face. No harm intended, but almost all his opponents, with Tamas Popovics of Hungary being an exception, did not want to fight Valdemaras and offered him the fights as a gift. In total, until the final, Valdemaras fought maybe for 3 minutes. Marius had 15 hard rounds when he finished the competition. You call this fair? It’s bullshit, and I am not afraid to say it! Can you accuse me that I have very reasonable doubts regarding the draw when it was made by Lithuanians? Please, do it. So many time in the past, when a draw looked unbalanced, the draw was done again. In Sofia, Bulgaria, last year, it was done five times so it was balanced and everybody satisfied with a good championship. At this drawing session it was completely different, although many people protested, including me, Valeri Dimitrov, the representative of Poland etc.
Is this only my opinion, you will ask? Of course not. Everybody, at the highest level had the same opinion: this was wrong and it was crazy and unfair. I talked to many EKO Board members, they agreed with me. Sensei Tsukamoto said that something like this would never happen in Japan. It is wrong for the competition to face two great fighters in the first round, it is wrong for the organization, it is wrong for everybody. It was wrong even for Valdemaras, who is such a great fighter, that he was offered this path which he would never choose by himself, if given the opportunity, I am sure. It made his victory so much less worthy and it was not his fault. Valdemaras, unfortunately now you will never know for real if you are better than Marius, because he walked through hell and you had a pleasant walk into the finals. You deserved more, but you know whom you have to thank. And it could have been different with just a little common sense and good intention. But there was no room for good intentions in that room where the draw was made.
Again, no rule was broken, just the rule of common sense. Our organization is now a little weaker and more poor because we lost two great fighters in the first two rounds. If given a better chance, both could have ended on the podium and we could have a better European representative at the World Cup in Kazakhstan. I bow to the way of Japan!
And please, respond to this question: if it was so correctly done, how come that from the next year we will have it made differently? How is it that instead of having Lithuanian people making the draw with Lithuanian software, from next year we will have a mixt commission from different countries and manual drawing, and maybe a new ranking system? How? I tell you why, because it was wrong!
I hope this will not throw a shadow on an exceptional Championship other way. Again, our federation wants to thank from the bottom of our heart to the organizers for making our stay in Roskilde amazing and for taking so great care of us. My article has only one reason: I want our great European organization to be even greater and stronger, but with so much power in only one hand, things will become unbalanced and from there it will just go wrong. I am, on the other hand very grateful that I can express my free opinion in a democratic organization. I cherish this! Osu!
Harris Wallmen, Romanian national coach

Conclusions… we need changes asap! @nadin4e