Congratulations to Chief Instructor Digger Barnes for a hugely successful weekend at the WKC Karate & Kickboxing English National Championships in Manchester.
Unexpectedly, Digger found himself having to fight in the heavy weight division (over 85 kilos) so this meant a massive rethink on the strategy as Digger would have to face much bigger fighters out on the mat.
As all Storm students will know, Digger likes to fight very offensively and to try and overawe opponents with speed and aggression. However, when facing a much taller and heavier opponent team Storm knew this would be difficult due the opponents height, weight and reach advantage.
So, along with Wokingham Academy Instructor Dan McCormack, they found a corner, got the pads out and drilled every counter attack they knew to adapt to this unexpected turn of events.
Digger’s first fight started badly. Really badly. The new ‘counter attack’ plan got forgotten about due to the nerves, crowd noise and pressure. The opponent was a giant and Digger was down 3 points within 20 seconds as his opponent was steamrolling in and using his height and weight advantage to great effect.
It’s been a long time since Digger has fought on the tournament scene and it was clear he was very rusty. He got knocked down by a really heavy shot but got up, gave Dan a massive grin and you could see a switch turn on. Digger switched stance, calmed himself down and patiently waited for his opponent to attack. Each time he slipped the attack by using better footwork and angles then dropped in with a counter attack. The new strategy started to work and very quickly Digger pulled back to a draw and then stormed ahead into a convincing win.
Fighting much bigger opponents was tough and by the time Digger got to the final (Gold/Silver match) it was clear Digger was getting tired (a polite way of saying he was knackered).
He came up against a very skilled fighter who took the bout 6 points to 3. No complaints from team Storm. We did everything we could and got beaten by a better fighter in the final.
Digger is delighted with the Silver medal. But what really made the day was Digger being selected to fight for England at the World Championships at the end of the year. A huge honour to represent the country !