The Markham City Open 2018 had a rush of athletes this year. More than twice as many athletes from the same ratio of clubs, came together for a fun and challenging day of Karate and Kobudo competition. What they got was more than they expected.
The Markham City Open took a risk 3 years ago adopting a double elimination format for a martial arts tournament that included both traditional kobudo (Okinawan weaponry) and karate here in Canada. It was a blended format taking the best from AAU Karate and the World Karate Federation rules. It has never been done before so it was unfamiliar to everyone. Yet a few clubs took part with 75 athletes in the first year. The organizers expected a small growth annually with this year hosting realistically 100 – 125 athletes. Instead, word got out and it exploded to 205 athletes.
Returning from last year were our USA friends from AC-TKO, of Albany, New York, Shiva Fighters from Brampton and Scarborough, Driftwood Martial Arts from Kitchener, CWKF from Toronto, and the local Markham sport karate team of Team Meibukan (NOX Dojo-Club Seiryu) who loved the event so much that together entered 100 athletes alone. The remaining athletes were from Akiyama Karate (USA), Benoit’s Martial Arts (Sudbury), Canada’s Best (Vaughn), Central YMCA (Toronto), Copeland’s Karate (Windsor), Dojo Seienchin (London), Iron Fist Karate (Toronto), Kazoku Martial Arts Centre (Cambridge) Kitchener Karate (Kitchener), Kokoro Karate (Toronto), London Karate Club (London), and Musashi Karate (London), Seiwai Kai (Ingersol), Shindokan Canada (Thornhill), and Shito-Kai Penetangushine (Penetangushine).
MCO2018 also broke ground this year by being the first tournament in the area to feature multiple divisions of Para-Karate to include Kobudo, Individual Kata, and Team Kata. Working closely with Dave Hackett of the Ontario Karate Federation Para Athlete Committee, the event featured athletes who were either a survivor of stroke, seeing impaired, autistic, and more who had their day to shine by setting their goals to compete. It was a touching and inspirational moment for even the officials.
The surprise of over 200 athletes meant the event went over time and some people were understandably disappointed. However, the overall feedback was extremely positive regarding double elimination, the positive energy, and overall organization. Many clubs are already planning for a 2019 return and we have even heard that more new clubs want to be a part of MCO2019. Because of this, we are already looking for a larger location in Markham.
The tentative date for MCO2019 is November 10th, 2019. Look for better everything.
Thank you to Joe Tran and Veronica Ramos for the pictures.