Belfast’s fighting supremo James Brunton made his mark at the Wado-Kai World Cup held in Nagoya at the weekend as runner-up in the male senior event.
James blazed his way to the finals taking on some of the world’s top athletes in the discipline of karate, one of the four recognised styles of the art, at the global gathering which takes place every five years.
First out he came up against England’s Martin Bladely, a win over whom took him into the second round where he met Japan’s Naotaka Ishihama. Securing his second victory, James went on fight Harinda Fonseka from Sri Lanka. A win over Fonseka secured him a place in the final. Although James demonstrated the winning moves which has made him one of the top fighters in the British Isles, he had to concede to Japan’s top fighter Kai Kudo, settling for a silver medal.
Speaking from Nagoya, James said: “The hospitality I have received during my time here has been outstanding. Also the knowledge and expertise passed on from the Japanese masters has been phenomenal and something which I treasure as an exceptional gift.”
He was not alone representing Northern Ireland at the World Cup as several days before the competition began, he was joined in Japan by a delegation of fighters from here, headed up by James’s father Oliver. Oliver is well known in Japan where he trains regularly, and where several years ago he took the rigourous examination achieving the grade of 7th dan (black belt).
The Northern Ireland team fought in the senior men’s fighting competition, and Oliver himself took part in the masters technical event. Now in his mid-70’s Oliver was up against men over 20 years his junior, and proved even in his senior years he was still up for a challenge.
Ecstatic over James’s medal win, Oliver said: “I am so proud of the way he has applied himself to his training, the way he conducted himself at this competition, proving he really is a champion.”