The Olympic Dream of the WKF is Over! And rightfully so

The Olympic Dream of the WKF is over
The Olympic Dream of the WKF is over!

The Olympic dream for Karate is over. And the decision by the french Olympic Committee was right. A commentary by Thomas Prediger

The Olympic Dream of the WKF is Over

It did not last long – the Olympic dream of Karate. Last Friday, the organizers of the Olympics 2024 in Paris proposed to the IOC to remove Karate from the shortlist. The Shotokan Times reported about the decision. Instead, Breakdancing and Skateboarding should be included. This is especially sad for all Karateka who sacrificed so much to make their dream come true. Karate at the Olympics will only be a brief intermezzo.

For some it appears as if the participation of Karate at the 2020 Games in Tokyo would have been an acknowledgment to the host country Japan. But it is striking that in France, the country with the largest national World Karate Federation (WKF) section, Karate was excluded. The reason for the rejection of Karate might lay deeper and within the WKF itself.

WKF does not Represent the Global Karate Community

The WKF was recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1999. Since then, it is the sole representative of Karate at the IOC. Like no other organization the WKF has claimed to represent the global Karate community. However, this is not the case and it might be that the committee in Paris realized this. Too many countries and associations did not want to follow the WKF way of Sports Karate. Although it was the only way to the Olympics. Especially, more traditionalist associations had difficulties with the 8-point system, gloves, and foot-protection. Not everybody dream t the Olympic Dream of the WKF. The bureaucracy (e.g. at tournaments), the imposition of WKF rules on national competitions and associations, the stark similarities between Sports Karate and Taekwondo, and the gradual commercialization and exaggeration of competition were the straw that broke the camel’s back

For many, the WKF has become unattractive. But it did not do much to open itself to other opinions, rules, and standards. Maybe it was hubris after the recognition by the IOC in 2016. Or it was managerial dilettantism. We do not know. The rejection, however, has shown that the WKF does not speak for the global Karate community. It is just one association among many. And its future has become uncertain – since last Friday.

The picture shows the Dojo Finder.

Opener Picture: Crumbling IOC by Elhan Numan

15 Comments

  1. Its big organizational failure of WKF and Franch Karate society. What they did make it long lasting event like Tekwendo or Ushu?? though Karate is more popular then any martial arts in this world!!

    • I totally agree with you that Karate is not a sport and shouldn’t be looked upon as a sport. Once you include it as a sport into the Olympic s.. It then will no longer resemble a true martial art and will have lost its Budo.

  2. well Shotokan certainly DOES NOT represent karate either. The JKA is the most insular, inward looking group that there is in the world of karate. You represent absolutely NO-ONE but yourselves. You are the most arrogant and style there is… I’m a wado guy and I have nothing but contempt for the JKA, KUGB etc.

    • How come phil if you have such a bummer on the Shotokan style does an online magazine dedicated to the style you dislike so much, peak your interest enough to slag off Shotokan in a definite display of non unity and non harmony ?

      oops phil you have put your foot in it now!
      As the JKA under Nakayama were instrumental in and the first organisation to develop run and promote a competitive outlet for the practice of the karate-ka;s techniques in a “sporting contest” shortly after Funakoshi;s death in 1957. and They had a model with worldwide structure to promote and spread the the word of “Karate” to every continent

      Firstly im not here to defend the two organisations you mentioned as i can plainly see how you can have legitimately arrived at that opinion.

      Especially as the British organisation you mention appear to be serial participants since the 1960s in the formation of and hopping to and from “governing bodies” and i use the term “governing bodies” advisedly. Bodies such as the bkcc mac ekf ekb ek eku then they came back with the resurrection of previously used acronyms under, so called new management.

      But there again they were not alone there was and is a divisive core of organisations at the time , and one of their co-conspirators in the formation and the disillusionment of some of these “governing bodies” was the leading Wado-ryu organisation of the day, who hopped ship with them on numerous occasions.

      The product they offer is sound but i can see how your contempt quota is high for these organisations.
      The British example you quote were the first shotokan only style group in the uk. So anyone who has been around prior to 1966 will remember them breaking away from the BKF to form. Then they broke away from the JKA after Enodeda’s death. They are currently planning yet another body creation led by the core for karate unification.

      Or is it the self perpetuating BS factory that surrounds the two organisations you mentioned that gets up your nose ? Because they were the first UK Shotokan group anyone who has been involved in Shotokan since 1966 then they will have been members of the group at one time or another. And as many of these long term Shotokan Karate-ka have long since flew the the coupe and formed their own groups. To display to others how long their involvement has been in KARATE they falsely reminisce of day long gone when the were members. This increases the ego and esteem in their own eyes as being a sage by falsely extols the virtues of their old group.

      The question to ask is, if life was so good with them , then why did they leave ? Did they feel oppressed or that they were feeling stifled by the “arrogant insular” nature of the group ?

      Style envy is not becoming or in-keeping with KARATE_DO

      the two groups you isolate your venom towards offer a good product in a good way
      and are thought of by many inside and from outside of the style as being arrogant and insular as you state but they have a following from inside and outside of their membership due to them being the first group dedicated to the style. They are led by an inner clique that is impenetrable so until that strangle hold is genuinely broken then it will always be the same.

      Get over it

    • oops phil you have put your foot in it now

      Firstly I’m not here to defend those two groups.

      the two groups you mentioned as being insular and contemptible i see exactly why you hold that view and the arrogance they display towards outsiders and members alike is clear in their administrative restrictions and their closed shop approach in the choice of management positions. You are not alone in this view as their are thousands of good instructor blackbelts who have displayed their displeasure by voting with their feet and leaving their membership.

      I’m not questioning the approach used by the management teams of these two groups, because like any business they are both keen on maintaining their market share.

      I’m not questioning their dedication to karate or the ability of their skill.

      I am however, in a position to say that the myth and legend that surrounds them is not as vivid neither is it as miraculous, or as wonderful as is made out to be.

      This overblown self image that they hide the sour truth behind has been allowed to be presented without being questioned for many years, simply because they have been around the longest.

      If someone says a thing long enough even if it is an exaggeration then even that exaggeration becomes exaggerated and in time the exaggerated exaggeration becomes the truth.

      People in Karate are no different than in any other walk of life. Because there are people in karate who try to ingratiate themselves and their status by riding on the coat tails of the exaggerated legend of these groups.

      Because some former members who have broken away from the “insular and arrogant manner” of these groups; as you put it, are themselves in search of market share, and or of recognition.

      Then misguidedly through association they too continue to perpetuate the myth in an effort to be seen as better karate-ka because they were once very tenuously linked to these groups.

      Its these factors and the fear of being the person who exposes the truth about “the Kings is actually butt naked and is not wearing an amazing suit of the finest thread” that allows these groups to perpetuate the myth.

      The JKA are recognised to be the first group to run and develop a karate competition in 1957.

      The JKA were the first group to have a worldwide campaign to promote and spread the karate style in a structured, professional and martial manner throughout the world.

      They are two examples that could hardly be looked on as insular, yet paradoxically their air of superiority and self reliance is in conflict with some of the 20 principles of karate-do and can and does lend itself to being called out as adopting an insular, and self appointed elitist stand point with their members and outsiders.

      While they are to blame for their air of unapproachability and the BS exaggeration of their achievements as a group, they are not the only ones who are responsible previous members and misinformed fans who are of the psychological nature of someone who will always be desperate for someone or something even if mythical to look up to.

      the question is if these groups are so perfect and wonderful why did so many people leave them over the years. And why did the UK example you gave, leave the BKF to form and after Enoedas death did the leave the JKA. Follow the money ! and you will soon see why they don’t want the myth shattering and why they are insular and have such a tight stranglehold on their closed shop group.

  3. “There are no styles of karate-do, just varying interpretations of its principles” – Soke, Kenwa Mabuni

  4. Ok time to be real here.. I have been training in Shotokan Karate for 56 plus years and have seen the ultra traditional and the sport schools emerge and try to cut out their piece of the martial arts pie.. Tae-kwon do was very smart about how they got TKD into the olympics,, making it a sport first and MA second was the key, plus they manipulated the folks looking at it into believing it was the national sport of Korea.. Not tang soo do.. Not Hapkido etc.. ( the just gave the emphasis to the AOC that TKD was the same as the word Do in other sports.. so it became as an example Tang Soo Do Tae Kwon Do so to speak and so on.. plus they had a well established sport system in place .. Karate is so fragmented as a whole because so many want to protect their own turf.. or money or schools or reputations and will not sacrifice any power to promote the ideals of Karate Training as a whole.. It is true that in a school of 100 that only 10 to 15 percent will want to compete.. . That said the other 85 to 90 will be exposed to both the traditional and the sport aspects and can then make the choice which direction they want to go.. the largest schools teach both.period.. Karate should be in the Olympics yes and if someone is watching , it is presented in both venues.. as a sport in “sport kumite” and in Kata traditional values.. In my humble opinion France killed the karate entry because they were not in on the money end enough to suit them and it is retaliation, plus it is like their national sport and they are fearful of not performing well and losing face.. (pretty Pathetic,) Yes it is a set back but only if we do not try to move forward , realized the value if properly taught and put in perspective both sport karate and traditional have a place along side each other.. I have met so many who are the type to only want to protect their turfs and that is a weakness in them and in the karate world in general.. time for us to grow up for the greater good.. Oh yes and to all of you I have offended , ask yourself why.. .. Why do you teach? for your own ego,, or to enhance and mentor your students lives in as many ways as possible, both sport and traditional.. Some will have to suck it up and learn the sport rules and methods while other will have to dig deeper to get a better understanding of the traditional part of their arts.. But hey we are either about overcoming challenges or not.

  5. WKF are an insular organisation who know that in member countries some of the best Karate competitors are excluded from competitions because they are affiliated to other karate organisations (WUKF for example). How can the WKF say they are representative when they will not allow competitors from other karate organisations compete against their competitors at national competitions they host as the so called pathway to the olympics. More political bullshit that has come back to bite them and deservedly so…

  6. oops phildoherty49 you have put your foot in it now

    Firstly I’m not here to defend those two groups.

    the two groups you mentioned as being insular and contemptible i see exactly why you hold that view and the arrogance they display towards outsiders and members alike is clear in their administrative restrictions and their closed shop approach in the choice of management positions. You are not alone in this view as their are thousands of good instructor blackbelts who have displayed their displeasure by voting with their feet and leaving their membership.

    I’m not questioning the approach used by the management teams of these two groups, because like any business they are both keen on maintaining their market share.

    I’m not questioning their dedication to karate or the ability of their skill.

    I am however, in a position to say that the myth and legend that surrounds them is not as vivid neither is it as miraculous, or as wonderful as is made out to be.

    This overblown self image that they hide the sour truth behind has been allowed to be presented without being questioned for many years, simply because they have been around the longest.

    If someone says a thing long enough even if it is an exaggeration then even that exaggeration becomes exaggerated and in time the exaggerated exaggeration becomes the truth.

    People in Karate are no different than in any other walk of life. Because there are people in karate who try to ingratiate themselves and their status by riding on the coat tails of the exaggerated legend of these groups.

    Because some former members who have broken away from the “insular and arrogant manner” of these groups; as you put it, are themselves in search of market share, and or of recognition.

    Then misguidedly through association they too continue to perpetuate the myth in an effort to be seen as better karate-ka because they were once very tenuously linked to these groups.

    Its these factors and the fear of being the person who exposes the truth about “the Kings is actually butt naked and is not wearing an amazing suit of the finest thread” that allows these groups to perpetuate the myth.

    The JKA are recognised to be the first group to run and develop a karate competition in 1957.

    The JKA were the first group to have a worldwide campaign to promote and spread the karate style in a structured, professional and martial manner throughout the world.

    They are two examples that could hardly be looked on as insular, yet paradoxically their air of superiority and self reliance is in conflict with some of the 20 principles of karate-do and can and does lend itself to being called out as adopting an insular, and self appointed elitist stand point with their members and outsiders.

    While they are to blame for their air of unapproachability and the BS exaggeration of their achievements as a group, they are not the only ones who are responsible previous members and misinformed fans who are of the psychological nature of someone who will always be desperate for someone or something even if mythical to look up to.

    the question is if these groups are so perfect and wonderful why did so many people leave them over the years. And why did the UK example you gave, leave the BKF to form and after Enoedas death did the leave the JKA. Follow the money ! and you will soon see why they don’t want the myth shattering and why they are insular and have such a tight stranglehold on their closed shop group.

4 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Funakoshi Autobiography: Translation Problems and False Convictions. By Henning Wittwer -
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  3. The Olympic Dream of the WKF is Over! – BOEC.COM
  4. Masao Kagawa: The Competitor and Teacher - The Shotokan Times

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