THE FIRST ALL JAPAN LADIES TOURNAMENT 1977
On the 13th of November, 1977, the First Ladies Kyokushin Tournament was held in Tokyo Fuji Television’s Studio. The Tournament, organized and sponsored by Tokyo’s Chanel 8 T.V., was recorded and broadcast in serial form over three Sundays. On the day, 200 fans, mostly male, turned out to watch the 16 participants most of whom were 2nd kyu and above members from the Tokyo Honbu Women’s Class. The programme began at 4 pm with a demonstration of Kanku Kata and tameshiwari. Ladies Kata is considered to be more superior to men’s kata in Japanese Kyokushin-Karate, and this demonstration of advanced kata was very well received. The first tameshiwari demonstration was performed by the Kuwasaki sisters and Miss Imai, the 3 ladies considered to be the strongest. However, none were able to completely break their 10 piles each with any one technique due to nervousness and the fact that the piles were a little wet. Misses Yokota and Mitsui, considered to be Tokyo Honbu’s most skilfull lady exponents, then successfully demonstrated Shihouwari (continuous breaking from 4 positions), and the fighting began at 5 pm. To a grand applause, the, 16 participants filed into the studio, which was arrayed with numerous Kyokushin symbols and flags. Miss Y. Kuwasaki, Shodan, then took the tournament oath, swearing that the participants would fight their best in the true Kyokushin spirit. It had been decided that the tournament -would be run on the accepted International rules, including full contact, however, on the actual day, the tameshiwari was omitted due to lack of time and the fights were limited to 60 seconds each. As most of the fighters were above brown belt, everyone showed good technique, ability and spirit. From the preceding hard fights, the following four emerged as the semi-finalists:- Kakinari, Kuwasaki, Mitsui, and Yokota. Of these four only Kakinari was brown belt, the others all being Shodan. In the first semifinal, Kakinari faced Kuwasaki. They had a fairly even fight until the last quarter, when Kuwasaki was able to get in a Mawashigeri hit to Kakinari’s face. This tipped the scales in favor of Kuwasaki, who won on decision:
In the 2nd semi-final, Yokota versed Mitsui. As they both knew each other very well, neither could score in the first 60 seconds. However, in the extension, when Yokota attempted a Chudan mawashi geri, Mitsui moved in with a strong thigh kick to Yokota’s supporting leg which knocked her to the floor. Mitsui was later able to floor Yokota again with the same technique, and although unable to gain a waza ari, she was able to win by decision.
Before the final, the 3rd place fight-off was held. Although Kakinari was only brown belt, she was taller and heavier than Yokota and thus had a big advantage. She attacked the smaller Yokota so relentlessly with chudan punches that Yokota was unable to do anything other than block. Kakinari won by decision, thus deciding 3rd and 4th places.
The final pitted Kuwasaki, with a strong body, power and speed, against Mitsui who has a supple body and a great repertoire of techniques. Kuwasaki attacked Mitsui, now tired after her long fight with Yokota, with chudan punches and was able to score a direct hit to Mitsui’s ribs which earned her a waza ari. Mitsui never recovered to make up the difference and Kuwasaki was thus declared the winner and Champion.
Throughout the programme there had been demonstrations by the junior boys, Sony Chiba, resident Japanese instructors from USA and tameshiwari demonstrations -by Tokyo Honbu’s highly graded male exponents.
The tournament was an overall success and its popularity will surely ensure its continuation as an annual event in the future.