I am gutted. I have just been phoned by my sensei to be told that as I am the only woman to enter my category the category has been cancelled for Sunday's competition. How are you supposed to get competition experience if you have no one to compete against? Usually when there are few entrants for a category the categories get condensed together so this cancellation must mean that I was the only female entrant over the age of 21 in the whole of Britain who practices Shukokai karate between 6th and 4th kyu! Yet there must over a hundred women who were eligible to enter. Why don't women like entering kata competitions? It's such great experience and there is nothing like competing to help you raise your game.
In the two competitions I have entered I have been really impressed with the standard of kata performance - it is much higher than the average standard at club level. I think you put much more effort into learning your katas when you know you are going to be on show and it is so inspiring when you see how good katas can look when you watch good people performing them in competition. I think everyone who is learning karate should at least go and watch a competition just so they can see what is achievable with a bit of extra effort.
Why can't men and women compete together in a kata competition? After all there is no real gender bias in kata so we can compete on a level playing field. This would ensure that there were sufficient entrants to prevent categories being cancelled and ensure that women don't fall behind men in standards of competition.