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Arena in Morocco

posted 15 Aug 2010, 06:54 by Nina H   [ updated 15 Aug 2010, 09:47 ]
Morocco was the destination for Arena’s chief instructor Billy Brennan 8th dan last Month (July 25-29) spending a few days in Kenitra accompanied by students Stef Doran, Andy Cornish and Nina Hall. The group took up the kind invitation of Moroccan Karate Master Salaheddine Fadel 7th Dan to visit his home town to train and compete. View photos

After arriving in Kenitra late on Sunday evening and a somewhat warm nights sleep the group accompanied by Fauroux, Fadel’s daughter and top Kata student Salma Assila headed for the beach for a bit of sun bathing and a swim! After a bite to eat it was to the dojo for a bit of light training or so the students were lead to believe. However after a 90 minute Billy lead training session in around 40 degrees heat there wasn’t a dry gi in the place! Although very hot, sweaty and some a bit sweezy both Moroccan and Arena students really enjoyed the session. 

Fadel organised an event at his dojo the following evening featuring Kata demonstrations by some his students and a team match. The Arena students borrowed a couple of Moroccan’s to make up the team. Nina was up first holding the Moroccan (under 21) kumite number two to a one all draw. Next was Stef who fought against the deceptively tough Fayoux and beat her 3 – 2 after forcing several jogis. Andy fought incredibly well against a former Moroccan champion never giving up despite being peppered with kicks! This was Andy debut on the Kumite mat. The next two fights were fairly close but unfortunately for the Arena team their honouree team mates did not win their bouts. So the match was one by the Fadel's team. 

After a bit of lazing around the hotel pool on the third morning the group were driven to a town near Rabat for another team match again borrowing a couple of Fadel's students. The hosting club demonstrated a few katas as did some of Fadel's students and then it was on to the team match. This time Stef was up first who dominated the bout; the highlight being a perfectly controlled back leg Jodan round kick. Stef kept up the pressure throughout the whole match finally winning 8 – 2. Next up was Nina who uncharacteristically used her head rather than wild punches and scored 2 Jodan round kicks and a couple of solid Chudan reverse punches and also won the match 8 – 2. 

Andy in only his second competition fight ever put up another sterling performance hunting his opponent around the mat but was beaten by a few points in the end. Arena’s borrowed team mates put up very strong performances both beating their opponents conformably. So the match went to the Arena team! 

Billy and his students were treated to a traditional Moroccan meal after the competition and experience the novelty of eating a tagine with their hands followed by a nice drink of Moroccan tea!