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Brighton Tournament - 1998

The morning of the tournament began as I woke up at ten past nine in the morning; this wouldn't have been so bad had I not been in the depths of north London, and the tournament in Brighton. I leaped out of bed and ran round the house attempting to clothe and feed myself, not doing either particularly efficiently or quickly. A mad dash across London to catch the next train from Victoria then ensued. Finally, we reached Brighton station, and a short while later, the tournament itself. Upon our arrival, the pattern competition was in full swing. I wasn't actually competing, so I didn't have the prospect of having missed my turn. The first thing I noticed was that the room seemed to be spilt down the middle by an invisible line dividing the London and Brighton clubs. As the day wore on, the inter-club rivalry became more and more apparent.

The contest consisted of people at every grade performing their patterns in front of a panel of judges, their peers from the club and the rest of the audience - quite a pressured environment! Despite this, everyone performed well and no one made any drastic mistakes. The patterns competition was organized so that there was a prize for the person judged to have performed the best example of a specific pattern, with prizes for each of them. At the end of the morning and the patterns segment, the panel of instructors Russell, Tim, and Dave, performed a small but impressive selection of their patterns. For a while I thought that I might eventually get to see Dennis perform a choice pattern, but it wasn't to be.

We then had a break for lunch. There were sandwiches and snacks available at the competition throughout, but a group of us thought we would explore the culinary delights of Brighton town. This random episode ended in the discovery of a Burger King, and not too much else, so we ended up settling for a whopper to fuel us for the afternoon. As we returned, the sparring competition was just getting under way. This had been split up into weight groups. Each match was split up into 2 One-minute rounds, with points being awarded for techniques used and takedowns. There were some frantic and exhilarating fights, as well as an eye-watering demonstration of why the guys should be wearing groin guards - courtesy of Chloe. Twice. In one match. This lead to Jerry making it to the next round by default of Chloe's disqualification, but I'm not convinced from his expression that he was that pleased at the time! The heavyweight final ended with a classic London vs. Brighton situation, a perfect peak to the club rivalry that had been building all day. It was a good match, but of course ended with London's Glen victorious. This was followed by a final competition regardless of weight, again won by Glen.

The day ended with the prize-giving ceremony, where all the winners were one by one presented with their medals. With this the day ended and everyone went their separate ways until the next time.