Helen Sweeney, MFHT, massage therapist and first responder, writes about her experience working at an international karate event…
I was delighted to be invited by FHT Vice President, Herman Fenton, to London to provide massage and medical cover for the recent Wado International Karate Do Federation (WIKF) Global Cup, being hosted in the UK for the first time in six years. Held at K2 Crawley from 18 to 22 September, this prestigious event brought together teams from across the world, including the USA, Canada and Europe.
The atmosphere was amazing. The stands were packed with knowledgeable spectators and team members, waving their respective country flags, cheering, banging drums and ringing cow bells, and really getting into the spirit of the occasion. The discipline and mutual respect among competitors in karate are truly remarkable to see.
Medics were allocated to the five competition areas or ‘dojos’, all dressed in our best blazers and flannels but without shoes, which are not allowed on these sacred areas. Fortunately, other than a few cuts and bruises, strains and sprains and a dislocated finger, there were no serious injuries, while a table was provided in the arena for us to give over clothes massage to competitors between fights.
The Wado International Karate-Do Federation (WIKF) was founded by the late Professor Tatsuo Suzuki and is the only group authorised before his passing to represent his teachings, and is therefore the only Wado federation in the world that is recognised by the late Suzuki Sensei.
As a first responder, I regularly cover sporting events, from white collar boxing and university sports teams, to televised cage fighting. However, being tasked to be both a massage therapist and a medic at the WIKF Cup was brilliant experience. The two work in perfect harmony. Working with three other therapists – Herman Fenton, FHT student member Josh Hart, and Dana Irvin – it was an excellent opportunity to work on some valuable continuing professional development. We all had different skill sets, from massage and sports therapy, to medical training and physiotherapy.
I would highly recommend signing up to any local events that require therapists, where you can upskill your professional knowledge and even pass on your own.
Helen Sweeney, MFHT