This years Shiryodo Karate annual tournament Womens grand champion is Melissa Donaldson. The title grand champion goes to her for accumulating more points across the divisions she competed in than all the other women. Melissa came back to training a couple of years ago after originally starting at Shiryodo karate in 2008 and getting her green belt before stopping a couple of years later. Melissa has been training hard since returning to the dojo and earlier this year graded to brown belt.
INTERVIEW WITH MELISSA:
What did you like best about the tournament? The comradeship amongst competitors was amazing. We all cheered for each other, offered tips and support, and genuinely wanted everyone to perform at their best.
What practice did you do before the tournament? I attended in the sparring strategy classes regularly on Saturday to learn the rules for each type of sparing division. I also went to kata classes on Wednesday evenings, and attended the breaking seminar.
If your going to the next tournament, what will you work towards? I would like to aim to break two boards with each hand next year
Why did you decide to go in the tournament? I wanted the experience of competing without the additional time of travelling to Melbourne and stress of completing against strangers.
What do you like best about karate? I love challenging myself physically and mentally. I appreciate progressing to gradings at my own pace and after each grading there are new techniques and kata to learn. I also really enjoy the friendship and social activities at the dojo.
Have you done the tournament before, if you have how did you go? I returned to karate after a 7 year break in January 2018, however, I did participate in the annual tournament last year. I only entered in kata and came 4th out of 4 competitors in my division. I have previously participated in a number of tournaments when I practiced Kyokushin Karate and came 2nd in a full contact tournament in 2003.
What are your goals for the future in martial arts? I really want to improve my techniques and have a firm grasp on the Japanese terminology for all our stances, moves and kata. I never thought I would get to brown belt, but now that I am, black belt seems like a realistic goal.