Karate: Sensei takes gold at provincials

Chito-Ryu Karate Sensei Scott Hutcheson won gold in long weapons and silver in kata at the impressive Olympic Oval.

Chito-Ryu Karate Sensei Scott Hutcheson returned from the B.C. Karate championship in Richmond last week a little richer than when he left.

The Beaver Valley resident won gold in long weapons and silver in kata at the impressive Olympic Oval, joining nearly 600 competitors ages 6 to 75 years old from across B.C.

To recognize its 40th anniversary, KarateBC introduced a few wrinkles, changing the judging from a points-based system to a flag-based system.

This year, two competitors squared off in a ring and performed their kata, while the judges decided the duel by raising a flag. The winner needed at least 3-of-5 flags to move on to the next match, and so forth, until there is only one remaining.

With the new system, a competitor would have to perform up to five katas to capture the gold medal, performing a different kata in each competition.

“Travelling the near 1,000 kilometres one way for one kata performance of 60 seconds or less was a costly endeavour,” said Hutcheson in a release. “Now kata is decided in a match, like a Kumite fight almost.”

Hutcheson scored 24.1 to win the Men’s Masters Black Belt Bokudo Long weapons category, then in the Kata event, Hutcheson defeated Mark Bretell from the Okanagan and Robert Simkens from Penticton only to lose to Ali Najafi in the gold-medal match and settle for the silver.

“It was really exciting to compete this year,” added Hutcheson. “There were many aspects to my training I intensely prepared for that I may not have otherwise if I was not competing at the provincials; and to have a gold in weapons and silver in kata was worth the effort.

“Now we can at least say, for this year, we are the best in the province at what we do and we are doing it right here in the Beaver Valley.”

Fruitvale resident Macy Verigin also qualified for the provincials but was unable to attend.

Those interested in training with B.C.’s best can call Kelly Walker at Beaver Valley Recreation at 367-9319 for more information. Chito-Ryu Karate trains Mondays and Wednesdays 6-830 p.m. at the Fruitvale Elementary School and Saturdays 10 a.m.-1130 a.m. at the Fruitvale Hall.