21st SKDUN World Championships

SKC England sent a small squad of 15 competitors to compete in the SKDUN 21st World Championships in Serbia.

Thursday 10th October
The team arrived at Heathrow, proudly wearing their new tracksuits.

This was a good opportunity for a group photo before we left. It was a close call for Luke, who had only collected his passport that morning.

Bags checked, next security.

Anas kept the squad on their toes with his antics throughout the journey and after an entertaining flight we arrived in Serbia and got the coach to our hotel.

Checking in.

Friday 11th October
The squad took the opportunity to train at the hotel before the competition.

These training sessions were a good opportunity for the squad to bond and although they were light hearted sessions, everyone knew there was an important job to be done.

It was also a good opportunity for some team photos.


While the squad were practicing, Sensei’s Gerry, Eric and Mark attended meetings at the stadium. On their return a short meeting was held to clarify the rules for the competition.

Saturday 12th October
An early breakfast was followed by a short walk to the stadium with our loyal supporters.

And to the competition.

Eager to start…

The first event was individual Kata with the senior males competing first.

Followed by male cadets and male juniors.

And mini cadets.

All performed well, progressing through a few rounds.
Sam and Oliver got through to the final 8

Our veteran competitors won the first medals of the competition for SKCE with Tami winning bronze and Duy winning silver in individual kata.

In the Kohai competition, Margaux  came 3rd in her category winning another medal for England.

The next event was team kata. This required frantic dashes between mats, as all competitors involved were competing in more than one category.

The teams all performed well against some strong competition. The Senior men (Anas, Nick and Duy) and Junior mixed team (Sam, Hazel and Rhiannon) just missed out on a medal coming 4th in their categories.

For the Junior girls (Hazel, Rhiannon and Hannah) there was a moment of confusion as it was unclear if they had been awarded Bronze or Gold. Sensei Graham clarified the result. SKCE had its first Gold of the competition.

Before the Kumite started the organisers put on an opening ceremony featuring a local choir and a group of break dancers. The highlight of this ceremony was the kata and bunkai demonstration of Empi by the Serbian team.

Next came the mini-cadet and Kohai Kumite events.

This was the first time these SKCE juniors had competed at world level. Margaux, Oliver and Josh fought well, with Oliver progressing into the second round.

Sunday 13th October
The last day of the competition was devoted to Kumite. SKCE competed in a weight catagorised event, an open event and a five man team event.

As you can see, once again, our seasoned SKCE competitors unleashed their true fighting spirit. With Leon Gordon winning Gold in his category.

The final event of the whole competition was The Masters, in which only one competitor from each country was allowed to compete. SKCE’s Anas was chosen. This event included kata and Kumite.

Our small, but elite squad came away with no less than two bronze, one silver and four gold medals.


Gold– Individual Kumite.
Leon Gordon.

Gold– Junior Girls Team Kata
Hazel Jenkins.
Rhiannon Hackman.
Hannah Mercer.

Silver – Mens Individual Kata
Duy Nguyen.

Bronze – Ladies Individual Kata
Tami Wilmot.

Bronze – Kohai Individual Kata
Margaux Derakhshan.

This was a great trip in many regards but i was most impressed with the exceptional team spirit it generated. Everyone helped each other from the time we left London Heathrow Terminal 4 to the time we returned.

International events are always expensive but we at SKCE are adamant that the people selected to represent SKC England should be properly looked after, at least as best we can afford. We pay all team costs. We believe that this is the best approach, and judging by the number of medals we have achieved in international competition over the last few years, it has proven very worthwhile.

Overall, the team’s achievement was considerable compared with much larger and government sponsored team entries from Eastern European countries.

I have to commend our top two international referees, Sensei Eric Pich and Sensei Mark Tetsola who again asserted their control on their respected areas and set high standards of refereeing which demonstrated to the other 90 odd referees and judges the standard that is essential if top international events are to be unbiased and well judged.

It was a great venue and a very well organised Championship by our Serbian hosts and a great achievement by our team, ably lead by their coach, Sensei Graham Mercer, who had the added enjoyment in seeing his daughter win Gold as part of the female Kata team.

All in all, a most successful event and one where everyone in our party immersed themselves in the full support of the England team.

The England party were clearly respected by other competitors and we were very proud of how well they conducted themselves.

Very well done everyone.
[/ba-quote] – Gerry Grey, Chairman SKC England


  1. Editor on November 17, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Thank you to Rona Hackman for collating the photographs and providing the insight.

    Thanks to Rhiannion Hackman for capturing the action.

  2. Graham Mercer on December 1, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    SKC England’s incredible international competition success continued with 2013 being rounded off by producing 4 world champions. This was also backed up with silver and bronze medal winners, who fielded 1400 competitors at the SKDUN World Championships in Serbia.

    I have been very fortunate to have worked with a dedicated and talented team, that has continued the trend of our previous championship winning teams of the past 30 plus years. This has only been made possible by the continuous fundamentally routed and basic training delivered by our senior instructors, based on the foundation laid down by the leading authority of Shotokan Karate in the UK, the late Enoeda Sensei.

  3. Hazel Jenkins on December 1, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    These Championships, like any competitions we have done before, have really shown how strong we are as a squad. A bunch of medals aside, the support and cheers from the whole team really made this trip special. I don’t think I would have had half the confidence without all of the team behind me.

  4. Ollie on December 1, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    My favourite moment was when Leon managed to win the men’s individual kumite with an ippon in the last 5 seconds and we actually cheered so loudly a referee said we needed to be quiet, which really showed how much we cared about our squad.
    Ollie made another interesting observation saying that it was great for the three kids to spend time getting to know each other, as opposed to just training. He felt it really helped to bond them together.

  5. Sam Hackman on December 1, 2013 at 7:26 pm

    The SKDUN competition in Serbia was another great opportunity offered by SKC England. Hav-ing thoroughly enjoyed Scotland, I did not want to miss the chance to compete internationally with the same group of people, with the addition of a group of fantastic junior squad members. Although this competition did not result in a medal for me, I gained further confidence and was pleased to have progressed as far as the final 8 in my category. I would like to once again congratulate all those who did medal and all those who competed, as Sensei Gerry said while we were there, it was an incredible team effort and everyone supported each other through every moment of the weekend, both at and away from the competition.

  6. Hannah Mercer on December 1, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    On Thursday 10th of Oct we flew out to Serbia for the world championships. The flight there had us all on our toes as Anas the prankster was busy drawing on people’s faces with lipstick whilst they were sleeping and throwing Bon-bons at everyone.
    When we got to the hotel, everyone was so excited about the pools… you couldn’t get us out!
    As I wasn’t the baby of the team anymore I made sure I looked out for the three youngsters.
    I am so proud to say that me and my kata team Hazel Jenkins and Rhiannon Hackman are World Champions! All of our hard work paid off. On the last day all of the instructors and the whole team were in the pool playing water polo….. it was great fun.
    I would like to say a big thank-you to the rest of the team for cheering us on and well done to the other winners in our team. Also a massive thank-you to all the SKCE instructors for making this trip possible.

  7. Leon Gordon on December 18, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Ummmmmmm, I thoroughly enjoyed being away with the team in Serbia. Our living conditions were great; in fact it was exceptional for Serbia. However, the Serbian food was making havoc on my insides lol. As for the comp, I found most decisions were not going England’s way and we always had to be miles better than any other country or needed the creamiest point to win. Facilities were great but it was very long days. As for my performance, I think I did very well – and better than expected. I achieved this is by always thinking two things: 1 – if the other person hasn’t hit you, you can only lose on decision, 2 – hit your opponent before he or she hits you, it works every time!

  8. Luke on December 18, 2013 at 8:50 pm

    My time in Serbia has given me a lot of memories and experience which I would like to thank Gerry so much for. Also I would like to thank Sensi Graham for all the squad training leading up to Serbia and for the coaching at the competition. I had an amazing time and well done to all of SKCE squad!

  9. Rhiannon on December 18, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    So much hard work and dedication went in for this competition and it was great to see everyone trying their best, supporting each other and generally just having a good time. It was a tiring weekend but I am thrilled to finally be able to say I’m a world champion and I couldn’t have done it without my wonderful team mates Hannah and Hazel and the help from the Squad coach and members.

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