The Spring Osaka Tournament
All over the world the weight division system is used in tournaments, already for a long time. In Japan it is rather new, as in Kyokushin tournaments the open class system is applied. But last year Kancho Mas. Oyama wanted to give the weight division system a try. He argues it is always good to try something new, to have the experience, however he never liked to have a Kyokushin tournament with weight divisions. But as he called last year’s Spring Osaka Tournament a success, it was repeated this year. Kancho says it is a nice experience for the participants, especially the Uchi deshi. It should make a higher level of fighting. Kancho is very glad to have given it a try, but in November, for the All Japan Tournament, the open class system will be applied.
This tournament was held in the Osaka Chuo Taikukan Hall. The 111 participants were divided in 3 weight divisions: 48 participants in the light weight class, (up to 65 kg), same amount of fighters in the middle weight class (up to 75 kg) and only 15 in the heavy weight class. Most heavy weights weighed about 80 kg with the only big exception of the
19-year old sport Yoshitaka Nishiyama, student of world champ Makoto Nakamura.
Generally speaking, the fighting of all 3 weight classes seems to become a stereo type, there is too much concentrating on low kicks and all variants. This does not satisfy Kancho that much, he only praised the fighting style of some light weights, their highly finished techniques. Kancho had nothing but negative critiques on the thrashing of the heavy weights. It was clear that instructions were given to limit extensions to a strict minimum.
In the first round of the light weights Toyoda Nobukuni did not show what we are used to see from him, but his opponent was only 1,55 m tall and had prettily adopted his fighting style to this fact. The later winner of this weight class, Midori Kenji produced a beautiful mawashi and ushiro mawashi resulting in an ippon gachi.
In the 2nd round Toyoda got a well-deserved ippon for his ushiro geri. Midori Kenji delivered again a beautiful fight. Minami from Honbu had to take a terrible kinte geri, I should state the boys here do not wear any kind of protection. The 3rd round was of a higher level, the atmosphere was better. In Japan rare or seldom you will see a wild enthusiastic audience. But now one started to scan names, shout advices and the time which was still to do. Midori Kenji won with an ippon for his jodan mawashi. At first Toyoda played a waiting game, but he sure made the tall Nakae (1,82m) fall into oblivion. Unluckily Toyoda lost in the quarter finals, just like last year. Midori Kenji got an applause for winning the fight with Tsuda Hisayoshi. It was a technical and spirited fight. This in contrast with the panicky fight of Suzuki, he lost from Sadamoto Hiroyuki.
The final between Miwa Hirayuki and Midori Kenji was beautiful. The referees decided it was Midori to win.
First and 2nd round of the middle weights mainly low kicks were given. Low kicks which were worth ippon, as some people could not get on their feet again! Some competitors were eliminated as they did not have enough stamina. Hashizume Hidehiko got a ganmen punch which arranged his lip terribly. And because of the bursting open of the doer’s fist, it became a bloody affair. 3 extensions were necessary to point out that the “lipvictim” won. In the 3rd round we admired the timing of Miwa Jan and the good tai sabaki of Shibata Mireki. Ireki Takehisa won after an extension, his opponent did not have enough stamina to continue. Hashizume won this round as well, notwithstanding his ugly injury, he performed some beautiful combinations. Next round Miwa Jan finished his opponent with a perfect mae geri. Ireki had a vicious fight with Shibata which he eventually won.
The semi final was of a good standard. Miwa Jan and Ireki equaled, but the nice combinations of the latter made the referees decide to his victory. The crowd was cheering when Mitsuishi Konichi lost from right Hashizume. It was a fight of faints and dangerous hiza geri.
In the final the exhausted Hashizume received a lot of punches and had to content himself being the runner up.
The heavy weights were few in number. It were mainly low kick fights. In first round Mori Yoshinichi won because of his spirit. Kaneyama Hirufuni got a waza ari for his shita tsuki. Nishiyama Yoshitaka finished his opponent with low kick. Even during the fights he listens carefully to the advices shouted by his ‘club mates.
In the 2nd round Shichinohe Yasuhiro set at work only slowly, he won the fight after an extension. Koi Yoshiharu won this round thanks to his strong left punch and powerful low kick. Nishiyama simply browbeaten his opponent with his mawashi and Shita tsuki.
Because of the few participants in this weight class, things proceeded quickly. Shichinohe and Koi both got a warning because of holding. The punching duel that needed 2 extensions ended in Shichinohe’s favor. Nishiyama was strikingly stronger than Kaneyama, he won with a waza ari for his low kick. This made that the final had to be fought between Shichinohe and Nishiyama. Last year as well they had to face each other in the final. The only difference was that Nishiyama gained another 5 kg, so that the weight gap of the competitors went up from 10 kg to 15. Things of last year were repeated. The crowd was very excited, people were cheering, and both parties were encouraged. The competitors themselves were as determined as last year to win this hard and vicious typical heavy weight fight. Two extensions full of suspense; punch versus low kick. Shichinohe eventually could retain his title.