This weekend was the WKC Canadian National qualifier. Elizabeth and Erika were both competing for spots on team Canada.
Friday was round one of kata and weapons, Saturday was round two as well as round one for sparring and then sparring round two was Sunday. With team kata Elizabeth was doing 7 divisions so both Friday and Saturday were super busy. This year the number of people competing was back up to more normal levels (divisions of 12-16 people seemed to be pretty common) and they have also dropped the qualification numbers back down to only the top 4 instead of top 6 like last year. As such it was a more intense competition. On Friday Elizabeth placed top 4 in all of her divisions and felt pretty confident going into day two. Erika was in a super tough group and was a bit disappointed to not score better. As we told her even competing at nationals is a huge achievement. The girls did manage to place 3rd in round one of their team kata. We felt they looked pretty sharp and had a chance at 2nd if they didn't make any mistakes on day two.
On Saturday the judges didn't seem to like Elizabeth's efforts quite as much as the Friday judges had but she still managed to earn medals in 4 of her 5 individual forms and weapons events including a gold in creative weapons making her the 11-12 girls Canadian champion (proud dad moment). In team forms Elizabeth and Erika really nailed their form and moved up to 2nd place. The girls were absolutely thrilled and it looks like Erika will be joining Elizabeth in Ireland in the fall. Later in the day one of the judges pulled them aside and told them that with a relatively minor change to their team choreography they would have had 1st for sure.
In sparring Elizabeth has moved up a weight category and combined with the age level she is now in the completely terrifying class of sparring. She fought a girl who is definitely the toughest opponent she has ever faced. On Saturday right off the opening her opponent spin kicked her in the head. While she managed to block a bit of it she quickly realized that this girl was not messing around. After that she stepped it up and actually almost managed to get the girl with a spin kick of her own. She lost the match but learned a lot and wore her opponent down for teammate Remi to then finish off in the next match. On Sunday she ended up fighting the same girl and while again losing the match she really made her opponent work for any points, faking her out on the spin kick attempts and completely exhausting her. Elizabeth sadly had a number of points waved off as the judges didn't all see them. In the end Elizabeth ended up with a bronze but has a new found understanding for the next level of sparring competition and has finally gotten over her fear of trying some new moves in the ring.
Final results saw Elizabeth earn medals and qualify for team Canada in 6/7 divisions. Gold in creative weapons, silver in team forms, traditional and extreme weapons, bronze in hard style forms and individual point sparring. Classical forms she finished 5th as the first alternate. As she has also won the wildcard spot in the virtual series she will be able to compete in classical as well.
We were quite impressed with her standings given that last nationals she managed 3 bronze medals and the competition was definitely not as tough. So it seems that both the girls will be off to Ireland in the fall for the world championships. A big thanks to Sensei Cody and Master John as well as the many others who continue to help make dreams come true.