Joe posted this report of the Cardiff Regional Taikai at Akai Ryuu Kendo Club on Facebook
Well done to the lads.
Yesterday was an amazing success. For everyone involved. After an early start (we left Jeff's at 6.30am), we talked kendo all the way to Cardiff, preparing ourselves for the first shiai of the year. It ws Jeff and Steve's first time so they must have been feeling slightly more nervous than myself.
We arrived at the Akai ryuu dojo at around 9.30 and spent the first 20 mins saying hello as always happens (isn't kendo a lovely community), got changed and warmed up for a 10am start.
We were pooled with Cheltenham, Akairyuu B and Akairyuu C. We were first on against a well experienced team from Cheltenham (the order was Jeff-senpo, Steve-chuken and myself-taisho). Jeff put in an amazing performance coming back from one men down to take it to shobu with good degote but unfortunately lost to a further men. Steve had a baptism of fire (very early on) with a strong competitor who scored two men against him. I fough John Richards who caught my men. I was lucky enough to score men back taking my match to hikiwake.
We found ourselves going straight back on against Akairyuu B (the hosts). Jeff stormed in and nearly had raised flags for a kote and then a men and was unfortunate to end his match in hikiwake. Steve the did the same ending his match in hikiwake. I managed to score kote against their taisho. A blinding result (2 hikiwake and a win)
Our final match was tha last in the pool, so after some shinpan duty we got ready and went out against Akairyuu C. Jeff was very unlucky to have a point scored against him, but Steve managed a sprited effort to pull it back with a hikiwake. I knew what I had to do but was uinabl;e to gain the win we needed (sorry lads I did catch his kote 3 times but I had blocked the shinpan's line of sight!). We were very close to going through to the knock outs / semi-finals but I have to accept responsiblity for that not happening.
I was incredibly proud of being part of the first Liverpool 3 man team to enter the Regional Welsh Taikai and even more proud to be able to fight along side Jeff and Steve. Well done lads, we'll get more points next time. We all have areas to work on and we know what they are.
Thanks must go to James Ogle, Gary Mathlin and Anred Le Roux for organising this event and we need to plan another trip in August.