Vale Karate once again underlined that they are, even after many years of being at the top, still the Number one Karate squad in Wales with some fine performances at the 2019 Karate Wales Youth Open, which took place in Merthyr on Sunday Feb 10th.

This competition was smaller than in previous years, and like many other clubs, Vale Karate entered a smaller than usual squad, nevertheless winning over a quarter of all available categories!

Jakob Bartush at only just seven is the latest of a long line of brilliant youngsters over the years to come from the Vale Karate stable, and was the star turn in Merthyr winning each of the three categories he entered, the Under 9 Jukuren Under 8 Boys Kata and U8 Boys Kumite! In his Kata category another possible ‘star of the future’ was revealed as young Zander Riches earned his first ever medal, a bronze.

The Lee family had a great day, as Alysha won the Under 16 Kumite and little Mayzi won bronzes in U9 Jukuren and U8 Girls Kumite and a silver medal in kata!

Elle-Mai took a gold in the U10 Girls Kumite, a silver in 9-10 Jukuren, a bronze in 8-10 Female Kata and to top off a great day, alongside Amelie Fisher and Talia Efstsathiou, Vale Karate won the Team kata!

Elle-Mai’s team mates Amelie and Talia were also among the individual medals as Amelie won a bronze in Jukuren and Talia took bronze in the 9-12 Female Kata and a silver in the Jukuren behind team-mate Emillie Thompson! Emillie also won a bronze in Kumite where Leia Wong took silver.

The Special and Para categories were a Vale Karate whitewash, with Connor Ashill taking gold in the 12 and Under category and Bradley James triumphant in the 14+ event where Lucas Widdrington was silver medalist.
Brad then beat Connor in the Special & Para Jukuren!

Gregory James was in the top two in both the Shotokan and Open Kata events, winning the Shotokan and taking a silver in the Open.

Elliot Butcher although having been around a long time now, is relatively inexperienced in competition, but is talented and his U16 Bronze is testament to his steady improvement.


Bradley and Lucas reach a milestone at the Winter Grading.

Over eighty of our students earned new ranks at the Winter General Grading on December 16th 2019.
The Gradings, as ever, were an all-day affair from 9am until after 5pm, as all students were staggered, attending in small groups, with Sensei Rob scrutinising all students in detail, from Tigers as young as 4 years old, to adults in their 40s and 50s, and from absolute beginners to those attempting Black Belt.

Three youngsters of first Kyu reached the milestone of Black belt; Kimi, daughter of our longest serving Dan Grades, Kee, was joined by Bradley and Lucas.
Brad and Lucas started Karate several years ago as such younger children in the Special Needs class. Both have worked tirelessly over the years, graduating to our mainstream classes and though it took them longer than most, have made quite incredible improvements. It was a proud day for Vale Karate when they were awarded their Back Belts!

Well done all. As always, a great way to end the year!

Vale Karate land two WUKF European titles!

Karate Wales can reflect on the 10th WUKF European Championships For All Ages, in Malta, as a milestone.

Ranked eighth of fifty-five federations present and with a squad of forty-nine athletes and six coaches, amongst almost two thousand total entries, Karate Wales earned their best ever tally of ten gold, four silver and eight bronze medals, which could have been an even more impressive tally, as there were many Welsh Karate athletes who shone, but were unable to clear the final hurdle to reach the podium.

Vale Karate, based at The Dojo at Barry Leisure Centre had eight members of the squad and every one of them impressed!

Jakob Bartush, just six years old, was the youngest member of the squad. He competed in both the Under 7 Kata and Kumite events.

Last season’s Welsh Karate League Under 8 Kata Champion, he is already used to pressure and wasn’t overawed by the huge arena packed with competitors, officials and supporters and reached the finals of both events, winning the Kata and earning a silver in the Kumite!

Talia Efstathiou, was the class act in the 10 years Girls Kata event and established a substantial lead in the first round, adding to it in the final to comfortably take the Gold medal.

Mayzi Lee, the youngest of three sisters in the squad showed grit and determination to progress through the rounds, earning a great silver medal in the Girls 7 years Kumite, 10 year old Elle-Mai, in a larger group also had to dig deep, earning a bronze medal.

The eldest of the Lee’s, fifteen-year-old Alysha, had the toughest job ahead of her going up against many seasoned internationals!

She was in brilliant form winning round after round, and missed a place in the final by a whisker, earning a bronze medal.

Alysha and team-mate Grace McIntosh were members of the Wales Female Cadet Team, which reached the final, only to lose narrowly to the strong Romanian team, earning silver medals.

Emillie Thompson is regarded by the coaches at Vale Karate as possessing huge potential! Her talent is unquestioned, and she was unlucky not to progress to the latter rounds.

Chiara Baker was the final Vale member of the squad, competing in one of the biggest categories, the 13-14 Girls Kata.

Twice previously a WUKF European Champion Chiara easily negotiated the first round, being in the top six of well over thirty competitors.

Her second round Kata also earned her a good score but she was tied with two others for a place in the final six.

Her next Kata was the subject of controversy as the tatami chief suspected a mistake, although this was not the case, and video evidence wasn’t looked at, lower than expected scores were the result and Chiara missed the final by the narrowest of margins.

Vale Karate has long been Wales’ most successful club, and has won the Welsh Karate League for the past six seasons! This season however, they are in second place after four of seven events, so the WKL top club award is in the balance!

WKL 5, takes place at Cardiff City House of Sport on 25th November.


As has become tradition, The Summer grading on July 21st and 22nd brought the curtain down on the end of term, and as the kids break up for the Summer Holidays, Vale Karate reduce our classes for the Summer, go to Classes for the Summer Schedule.
Fifteen Tigers (our 4-6 year olds) showed great discipline and talent to progress while at the other end of the spectrum, years and years down the road, we had four new Black Belts, two Juniors, Holly and Jay and two adults, Dennis and Mark.

The grading  throughout was very pleasing, showing what perhaps is obvious, that a big club, with many small classes is a recipe for high standards.

Well done to everyone who undertook the challenge and emerged triumphant.


Only a small Vale Squad competed at the Karate Wales Open held in Merthyr on July 15th, but were nevertheless third on the medal table and as almost always, the most successful Welsh club, actually one of only a handful of squads comprising a single club.

Sensei Leah once again led from the front with two Golds, Winning both the Ladies Open Kumite, and Ladies Shotokan Kata.
Also Welsh titles for Jakob, Ed, Bradley and Talia!

Amelie, Alysha, Lucas, Mayzi, Greg & Connor also found rostrum places.
And a number of good performances which weren’t rewarded with medals on this occasion.

Many thanks to our coach; Sensei Luke for supporting the squad and of course our referee Doru our table officials Kiki and Jenny and the massive support of our children’s parents!
Full results and the medal table available on the Karate Wales website.