In 1986, nine years old, I started practising karate in Västerås. There was not much to choose from in the martial arts world at that time, so it became karate. I was drawn to the fight itself, the physical and technical as well as the psychology of the fight. The faster and the more technical the better sport it was to me.
Thirteen years in the karate national team
Three / four years after I began practising karate, I won for the first time Sweden’s largest youth competition (Kodomo Cup) in what is called “kumite” (sparring / fighting). A few years later, at the age of 16, I was accepted to the Swedish karate national team after winning my first Swedish Championship in 1992. There after I’ve competed a few loops around the world and represented the Swedish national team for 13 years until 2004. The last competition with the karate national team was either the European Championship in Moscow or one of the Golden Leuge tournaments Dutch Open. In terms of physical shape, I was on top that year.
In addition to competing with the karate national team that year, I won the European Championship for the third time in the style of “Wado-Ryu”. I also won the Swedish Championship again. Bronze at the US Open may also have been the same year or 2005. Don’t remember and the medal is in a packing box in some storage room in the yard :).
Everything has its time
After my time in the karate national team until 2004, I gradually reduced the amount of exercise. Even so I did some international competitions before I “completely stopped” competing, at least on a regular routine. I cought two World Championships in the Wado-Ryu style, one in Dallas in 2005 and another in Portugal in 2007. Many years after that, I tested my shape and fighting skills again, at the Swedish Championship 2012, which resulted in a silver. Whether it is my last karate-medal or not I have many years to decide;).
I have competed against the best, won and lost. Everything has its time, for everyone. In retrospect, I think I should have continued for a few more years considering the shape I was in 2004. However, the decision to quit the karate national team was right for a number of other reasons at that time. With so many years in a very focused lifestyle, it is impossible to understand how good or bad you really are, compared to yourself. Not until many years after my time in the national team was I able to appreciate and understand my qualities.
For many years I have had my small collection of merits packed in packing boxes, but in order to retain the memory visually I unpacked and shot the picture above. Most often it is the small medals that are of a “higher merit value”. An example is the “Great guys & girls’ badge” which is awarded according to certain merit criteria, and after a decision from the Swedish Karate Federation Board. You should have at least “15” points, where 1 point is for example a silver medal at the Swedish Championships or Junior European Championships bronze. World Championship bronze corresponds to 5 points etc. No “style contests” are counted (for example Wado-Ryu, Shotokan, Shito-Ryu and others).
On the question which merit I value most
The answer to this question is not obvious, because there have been competitions when I performed really well without getting on the podium. On the contrary, there are also results I can hardly remember even though I was at the top of the podium. A lot has to do about which fighters I met at each competition, the size of the competition, what is at stake about my own efforts, conditions and so on.
Basically “Open competitions” such as The Finnish Open can be just as difficult to win as a European Championship. Most of the world’s best karate fighters are located in Europe, and this may mean that they also participate in various “open competitions”. Speaking about performing well but still not “merit-wise” make an impression, I remember just one occasion that was Finnish Open. There I fought several fighters from the world elite, including Michael Braun from France. The result was a bronze. Not much for the world, but a tough competition with many world-renowned fighters.
Junior European Championships
To reconnect to a merit that I value highly, I return to the Junior European Championships every time. Small margins usually determine on these competitions. I lost by two points if I remember correctly, against Michael Braun (who I later got revenge on at the Finnish Open). Michael went to the final and won, and I got to repechage. Finally I ended up in a fight for the bronze. When it was about 30 seconds left, I was down by 4 points, but managed to work my way up to one point’s lead in a very intense fight. At the last second I finished by kicking down the opponent so he fell backwards on the mat sitting, and I won the bonze. It was great cheering and an incredible feeling considering the turn in that situation.
Similar scenarios arose at the 2004 Golden League competition Dutch Open, but instead I lost on the margin against Turkey and had to settle for a shared fourth place.
Many competition memories I have accumulated over the years, not only from the time in the national team but also from the time “before and after”. Remember the feeling of “unbeatable shape” from some competitions, where it both resulted in good results (World Championship bronze (Wado-Ryu)) and also a real setback – World Championship (Wado-Ryu) in Dallas 2005. For the World Champion in Dallas I was in a very good shape, despite that I’d left the national team two years earlier. Day 1 we competed in teams and it goes well until we meet Venezuela. I fought the guy who wins the World Championship in -75 kg the following day, but at the same time I hade a strain in the abdominal muscle. Despite that, we fought on but lost in the team shortly thereafter.
Day 2 was the time for individual competition and I would normally fight in -70 kg (weighed in at 68 kg which was record low for being me). However I tried to relieve the pain but I couldn’t move my upper body because of the strain. Had to throw in the towel, which is extra painful on occasions when the shape is really good at such a big competition. Of course, I wonder how it had gone for me if I had not been injured. And how it would have gone for me if I had continued with the national team for a few more years, because I was at my physical peak when I quit. A lot can be thought about, but there are reasons for most of it, and good reasons I usually had. It was time for the next chapter in life.
List Of Qualifications
Here is a small list of a selection of merits – the ones I think are worth mentioning. Have also included some qualifications from my time as a junior. I have competed in – 65kg, -70kg, -75kg, – 80kg, -84kg, open class and team – all these categories are included! </ B> </ p>
|World Championship (Wado-Ryu)||1|
|European Championship (Wado-Ryu)||3|
|European Championship (Junior)||1|
|“Great guys & girls badge”|
|Scandinavian Classic Open||1|
|British Open (Team)||1|
|Nordic Championships (Team)||1|
|Budo Nord Karate Open World Cup||1|
|International Liven Cup||1|
|Swedish Championships (Junior & Senior)||10||6||5|
Karate Open Camp