2017 Junior Nationals

The first Junior event of the year really kicked off the calendar with a bang. 120 competitors from across the North of England came together in Bradford for a full day of competition. The first competition managed by myself in the role of Youth Development Officer since vacating the post back in 2000 and the event has really come a long way.

With the advent of the flag system for kata, to better align to senior and international formats and the inclusion of tanto avoidance, the day had a real competitive feel.

I am always encouraged by the wealth of skill right from the under eights through all age groups. Leeds Central Aikido won the overall trophy, adding to their impressive history at junior level but were pressed closely by Yon Ju Hachi and an impressive showing from Renshinkan. That smaller teams like Bradford and Sheffield are also coming away with medallists, does demonstrate that there is something to take from the day for all clubs, no matter how small or inexperienced.

I would encourage all club coaches to support future competitions and if anyone out there feels that they can’t, then do get in touch with me and let’s understand the hesitation.

If I was to sum up the day in one sentence it would be: Yet another day that demonstrates that juniors are the life blood of the Association.

Garrett Baxter – Youth Development Officer BAA