Karate: British Open next for Edinburgh’s latest champion

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Edinburgh’s Ashihara Karate Club was well represented at the 2012 Kyokushin Karate Scottish Open where their success was reinforced by the performance of Krzysztof Atemborski, who achieved first place in his weight category of light under-70 kilograms.

The 26-year-old had to progress through three rounds, fending off threats from fighters from both Aberdeen and London before establishing his place in the final at the Jack Kane Sports Centre.

There were further creditable performances from the Merchiston club’s performers in Shaun McNeish and Michael Gray.

Atemborski said: “It was a great moment to win the title. I’m really chuffed with myself. The standard of fighters was really high and I faced some good competition. I hadn’t trained in the last few weeks as I’ve been suffering from an infection but I’d been working really hard prior to that and I know my fitness levels are really good.”

The annual competition which is open to all karate styles and organisations has proved hugely successful. Ashihara, a style of karate that is based on circular movements with the individual’s flexibility and control tested during combat, has reunited Atemborski with his desire for physical activity.

“I used to just play computer games after work and didn’t really do much so I wanted to become involved in something on a regular basis. I was introduced to the style by an ex-girlfriend and have now been training for three years. I also go to the gym and do kickboxing so I train about five or six times per week. The style of Ashihara really suits me as I’m not very big. I’d maybe struggle in other forms where the competitors are a lot more physical.”

The Stevenson College student who is enrolled on an HNC Sports Coaching course arrived in the Capital six years ago from his native Poland. His attention has now turned to competing at a second national competition – the British Open as well as thanking Shihan (Grand Master) Metin Tuncay who has aided his development.

“He has helped me so much and taught me everything I know. He has been very supportive from the beginning and helped me understand the skills of this specific style.

“I am looking forward to the British Open later this year and have spoken with last year’s champion about organising a few training sessions together in preparation.

“There are fighters there from all over Europe but if I keep training hard and keep my mind focused then you never know.”

Shihan Tuncay was also delighted with the success achieved by his students and he believes the experience will prepare them mentally and physically for future national and international events. Tuncay, the founder of Ashihara Karate Scotland, has an impressive pedigree himself and had the privilege of learning under the late Master and creator Hideyuki Ashihara

He said: “I am very proud of all my fighters. For Krzysztof to take first is really impressive and a big success. We were fighting with some rules that were not included in our style.”