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The traditional form of Judo raising excellence and numbers in competition.

Judo enthusiasts are eagerly anticipating this year's kata competition. Everyone is wondering if the number of entries will surpass last year's event which was the biggest in Australian judo history.

Certainly the competition is also getting tougher with both numbers and proficiency levels on the rise. Regular state competitions and competitors training year-round and attending international events is lifting the level of performances seen at the Nationals.

Last year the Tandean brothers Bjorn and Berhardt won Australia's first ever medal at world championships, in the under 23 years Katame no Kata (groundwork kata). Gaining a medal at the national kata competition is part of qualification for international competitions. Kata is a growing form of judo participation all over the world. Both males and females can compete together and it is a great way for all ages and abilities to do or continue to do judo.

There are five competition kata and all are contested in pairs. One of each pair takes the attacking role and the other the defender's role. While it seems anti-climactic that the defender always prevails, the devil is in the detail of the performance.

Pairs start with the maximum score and the judging panel deducts points from each sequence according to errors in positioning, movement, balance, execution of techniques and so on. There is always a debate about what is stylistic versus realistic judo.

To be successful the players increasingly need athletic preparation as well as the focus on the demonstration of technical prowess. The kata contest will be on display at this year's Nationals from 1.30pm in the competition arena on Friday 9th June.


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