Superfight, International Fight and Breakfast with His Highness…
In the middle of March a mail arrived to the Tsu Shin Gen headquarters with an invitation to a Knockdown championship in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates! The invitation was under the patronage of H.H. Sheik Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan´s – Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The invitation was very special and got our attention because it was Kancho Waleed who was organizing the championship. He is an old acquaintance Soke from the early days of Kyokushinkai!
After some problems with the communication by mail it was decided that we were going to Abu Dhabi only 3 to 4 weeks before the competition date! It wasn’t easy to get a fighter who was willing and able to accept in such short notice! Erik Viklund from Tsu Shin Gen Piteå in Sweden, accepted the invitation if he could get time off from work! Erik has good semi-contact and MMA national results but he hasn’t competed at an international level before!
Not a good start…!
After some intense training for Erik and a positive answer from his work we stood 6 o’clock in the morning at the taxi station in Piteå for transport to the flight to Stockholm where we were going to meet up with Soke. With us we had gifts from our local government in Piteå to His Highness in Abu Dhabi and we were looking forward to arrive after hopefully an easy trip to the Arab Emirates!
This didn´t happen, the travel wasn’t easy! It started with flight delay in Sweden and a stressful running to try to get on the transfer flight in Turkey. When we came to the gate the flight was also delayed. Then when we arrived in Dubai at 3am there was nobody there to meet us as they had promised! After several attempts to contact someone in charge we had to take a cab to Abu Dhabi (160 km)! When we arrived at the hotel where we had reservations they told us they didn´t have any rooms! By then we had not slept for 20 hours and are getting a little irritated! We tried to get another hotel but all the hotels in Abu Dhabi were fully booked! After a couple of hours the reception changes from nightshift to day shift and suddenly they found our reservation! They still did not have any rooms but as soon as somebody checkout we would be the first! After one hour more we got a temporary room and could finally get some sleep! One hour later there was a knock on the door! It´s Kancho Waleed and he said that we had 10 minutes before we should go to the competition arena for official pictures and rehearsal of the flag ceremony! It took some time before all the Teams are ready to go to the arena and when we arrived the photographer had left! We were all kept waiting again and it was late in the evening before everything was finished and we can have some food and go to sleep in our own rooms! I felt sorry for Erik who had not got the best preparation for his fight the next day!
Erik did get a good night’s sleep! Of course the heat there in Abu Dhabi was a little problem when we are coming from 00 degrees in Sweden to 400 degrees Celsius but it was OK!
When we arrived at the arena named the Equestrian Club the parking lot was already full with very nice cars and in the surrounding the area there was all the national flags! It´s pride one feels when one sees our own national flag!
The following countries were represented: India, Cyprus, USA, Russia, Italiy, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Kuwait, Pakistan, Kazakstan and Sweden.
When we came into the arena floor and looked up we could see the honorary section with VIPs and the rest of the public section. There was not so many spectators here, maybe because it´s an exclusive club! But the press and TV were there.
After the opening ceremony it was time for the competition! We were waiting for the competition draw to see who was going to be Erik´s opponent! When the news came it was good that he hadn´t the first fight but he had the second! His opponent was Lechi Kurbanov from Russia! This wasn’t the beginning we had hoped for! Lechi is a top fighter in Knockdown and has won this tournament a couple of times before; he has also won the All Japan Knockdown Championships. But Erik said “I’m here to fight so let’s make the best of it”. Just before the fight there was a little bit of confusion! We believed it was going to be a tournament, and so did most of the other fighters, but it was just going to be one fight and Erik´s was a Superfight! Well it was too late to worry about that Erik could only do his best! Below under “Fight report” you can read about the result from the fight!
Abu Dhabi 3rd International Open Karate Riyu Jitsu Championship
Place: Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club
Match date: 18th of April 2008
Competition form: Knockdown
Match duration: 3 x 2 minutes
Superfight Sweden - Russia
Erik Viklund, TSG Sweden (84 kg) - Lechi Kurbanov, Kyokushinkai Russia (93 kg)
Lechi working in the distance against a stationary opponent and he opens with heavy punches against Erik´s shoulders and body! Erik is almost paralyzed from the hard and intense attack and only a minute in to the first round Erik is put on the floor by a hard punch to the lower ribs on the left side! Erik gets up before being counted out and can continue the round! This is a wakeup call for Erik to start defending himself. He tries to keep Lechi from coming in at short distance. This doesn’t work all the time and on a couple of occasions there were dangerously situations but he manages to survive the first round!
The Russian fighter still attacks hard but Erik´s tactic with strait punches and low kicks and keeping middle distance is starting to work! At first Lechi doesn’t block Erik’s kicks but is force to after a couple of well-aimed heavy kicks! Erik is trying to cut angles and counterattack and Lechi seems a bit frustrated when his favourite attack, the back kick, doesn’t reach its target! In the end of the second round Lechi is forcing Erik to the ringside and attacking with high kicks that almost hit Erik’s head! This round also goes to the Russian but Erik is giving a good fight!
The effect from Lechi´s attacks is starting to give result! Erik has a hard time to straighten his punches and keeping the middle distance. Once again the Russian comes in on short range and Erik can’t keep up with the intense and heavier attacks! The weight difference and the fact that this is Erik’s first international competition and he is fighting an international top ranked knockdown fighter have drained him of his strength! Halfway in to the third round Lechi makes a direct hit with a round kick to the same place that he hit Erik in the first round! Erik goes to the ground and doesn’t come up before the referee has counted him out! Erik’s hard debut is over!
Erik put up a great struggle against a superior fighter! He had almost gone the full time against one of the best international knockdown fighters who has won this competition two times before and been top ranked both in Europe and in the rest of the World! After this fight the referees, other fighters and Lechi himself congratulated Erik for his good techniques and great fighting spirit!
International Fight Sweden – Syria
Erik Viklund, Sweden (84 kg) – Mohamed Al-Mousa, Syrien (90 kg)
Thanks to Erik’s effort against the Russian fighter Lechi Kurbanov he was offered an international fight against a Syrian fighter at the end of the competition. The opponent to the Syrian fighter hadn’t showed up and Erik, who had now recovered from the earlier fight, immediately took the chance to have one more fight even if there was only 10 minutes before the start of fight!
Erik had a hard time to get his adrenalin up! Despite that Erik hits his opponent with several heavy low kicks and straight kicks to the stomach! The Syrian fighter Mohamed is forced to the floor a couple of times during this round and Erik takes the first round clearly!
The second round starts as the first and soon his opponent starts limping on his left leg because of the heavy kicks from Erik! Mohamed tries to come in on short distance but ends up hanging on Erik. The fight has a relatively slow tempo! Erik is tired from the first fight but after wakeup calls from the corner Erik raises the tempo at the end of the round and lands a nice high kick that takes his opponent to the floor! The round goes to its end but Erik is clearly in the lead!
Mohamed has now a hard time to move fast and Erik hasn´t much power left. Erik just sees to stay in the lead to the end of the round! When the fight is over Erik stands as winner in this international fight!
After all fights were finished it was time for the prize awards. Lechi Kurbanov got the prize for “Best Fighter” and Erik got the prize for “Best Fighting Spirit”! Erik was much surprised to get this award but he deserved it and he was very happy to get it!
Official dinner and next day breakfast with His Highness
Later that evening we had an official dinner at a 5 star Japanese restaurant. The food was excellent and it was a good and nice times to get know everybody! The next day we had the honor to be invited to His Highness for breakfast and an official meeting! The food was traditional Arabic breakfast and was very good! After breakfast it was time to go the official audience hall where we had the chance to give our gifts! Soke also gave a gift to His Highness! It was a copy of his Kyokushin Power Karate books and a Tsu Shin Gen Fighting Drill DVD. To meet His Highness was really a great honor and a lifetime memory! We are very grateful that this was possible!
Despite the problems in the beginning of the journey the result and all friendly people we meet made it all to a happy experience!
We are honored that the Swedish Tsu Shin Gen Team was invited and got the chance to participate at this Championship! To all our new friends especially Shihan Syed Hassan Raza from Pakistan and Shihan Ali Reza Ahmadi from Iran and Shihan Ahmad Ismaeil from Lebanon and Shihan Fulvio Lorenzetti from Italy and Shihan Shahzado Saleem Memon from Pakistan and Shihan Ahmad S Baraoundi from Syria we hope to see you again in the future! If I have missed a name I do apologize!
Many thanks to Kancho Waleed for the invitation and all the help during our stay and also personally big tanks from me and Erik to Soke who made it all come true!
Coach of the Swedish Team