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Whistler fighters come out swinging

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Local full contact karate club athletes first and second in home tournament

Karate clubs put their skills and their bodies to the test last Saturday at Spirit Whistler 2003, the second annual full contact Karate Tournament hosted by the Full Contact Karate Association and Shinseikai Karate.

When it was all over, two Whistler Shinseikai fighters were standing tall – a little sore, but tall.

Catherine Bachelor, who has been training with Joe Rankin and Whistler Shinseikai for two years after moving here from New Zealand, won two matches to take the women’s title for a second year in a row.

A black belt who fought competitively with another karate discipline in New Zealand, Bachelor dominated both of her fights.

She regularly spars with guys during training, and says that has given her a psychological edge. "There’s a psychological thing, battling guys. You hit them but you don’t seem to hurt them, so you’re always going a little bit harder and harder until you’re used to it," she says.

It was only Bachelor’s second full contact tournament, and she says she is looking forward to attending more in the future.

"It’s great. You train and you train right up to the minute you get in the ring, and it feels pretty good, like this is exactly what you trained for," Bachelor says.

Judging by the reaction of her opponents, Bachelor punches and kicks pretty hard, and she likes to own the middle of the ring. "You have to know where you are in the ring all the time. When we get close to the edge, I pile in on and push (my opponent) out. It’s good for the judges because it makes you look like a strong fighter."

Bachelor’s first fight went the full three rounds before winning the decision, but she ended her second and last fight against Christianne O’Carroll of Enshin Victoria early in the first round with a strong kick to the side of her opponent that left her winded and shaky.

Although she had a few bruises to show for her day, Bachelor says she would have liked to have kept going. Next year she hopes that more women come out for the tournament.

Although the fighters don’t pull punches or kicks in the contests, she says there is a good camaraderie among athletes. "We don’t take anything personally. That’s part of our training. I also think it has to do with your personality – hotheads don’t last very long. You have to have a level head."

In the men’s light and middle weight division – competitors fight according to weight, not belt level, Whistler’s Eric Hould made his way to the finals after two long and intense fights went his way.

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