Sensei Natalie Wright admitted the uncertainty of how they would measure up.
After months of dedicated training at the Kanzen Ryu school at Albion Park Rail, a talented young group were now testing themselves against kick boxers, kung fu fighters and a range of other self-defence disciplines, including taekwondo and judo.
They needn’t have worried, after producing some outstanding performances state championships, after a breakout year at the Australian Martial Arts Championships series.
The team has now qualified for the national titles in a range of events, from full contact and sparring sword combat and sumo wrestling.
“It’s been a great experience, they’ve got a lot of confidence in their training and ability,” Wright said, who with her husband Bob have more than 50 years of experience in martial arts.
“You’ve just got such a contrast of styles. Kick boxers can sustain strong blows to the legs and torso, it can be difficult to compete against in contact events.
“Kung fu fighters are fluid with their spins and turns, so there was some uncertainty, because the mentality is very different from training to competing.
“They’ve had to adapt their style.”
Abbey Wright took out the female full contact event, as well as the 16-17 years black belt sparring.
Oliver Rudland (8-10 years) and Daniel Mawbey (11-12 years) won their junior sword combat divisions, while Ceaig McKenna was successful in the 11-12 years beginners sparring.
Benjamin Wood claimed first in the 11-12 years sparring freestyle and sumo wrestling.
Alayna Wright (13-15 years sparring), Ruth Mawbey (veterans sparring and contact points), Riley Smith 8-10 years sparring and sword combat) also qualified.
They will now compete against the national best at Homebush on December 9-10. There are divisions from full to no contact.
“There’s a lot of respect shown to opponents in these tournaments, as much as they’re competing and showing their skills,” Wright said.