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Rodrigo Rojas: Disputed Funakoshi Cup Champion 2017

Rodrigo Rojas has shown incredible skills during the 14th Gichin Funakoshi Cup in Irland in 2017. Unfortunately, his victory was overshadowed by his lack of etiquette. A report and commentary by Dr. Christian Tribowski

First non-Japanese Victory since 1998

In 2017, the ground shook. The earthquake of that day changed the landscape of traditional Shotokan Karate for the next decade. Rodrigo Rojas from Chile broke the winning streak of the dominating Japanese Karateka. It took place in the kumite competition at the 14th Gichin Funakoshi Cup, the official JKA world Championship in Limerick, Ireland. Since 1998, no non-Japanese won the JKA world championship. And nobody expected Rodrigo Rojas to change this. However, he did and the surprise was huge.

Rodrigo Rojas Behavior caused Criticism

Right after his victory over Okada Yasunori many critics raised their voice. The most of them revolved around Rodrigos behavior during his fights. While nobody accused him of unfairness. Most of the commentators criticized his way of dealing with the judges and his way of celebration when he scored a point. Both, how the critics described it, were not bushido-like but rather cocky. Exaggerated cheering after scoring and head shaking after several decisions of the judges were perceived as disrespectful and a shame for traditional Shotokan Karate Do.

We do not know Rodrigo. We do not know his intentions, his character, upbringing, convictions, or his way of live. And it is not in our aim to judge anybody.

Rodrigo Rojas also Fights in the WKF and Karate Combat

However, whether somebody agrees with the critics or not, the case of Rodrigo Rojas reveals the deep differences between traditional Shotokan Karate Do and Sports Karate like it is practiced within the WKF. Rodrigo himself has been fighting in the WKF for several years now. He is also part of the highly commercialized Karate Combat tournament.

Do less important in Sports Karate

In both organizations athleticism, medals, and sponsoring contracts are more important than respectful behavior. As everybody could see during the last WKF World Championship in Madrid, many fighters behaved in a cocky and emotional way. Apparently, Sports Karate does not put much energy in the education of the mind, manner, humility, moral consciousness, spirit, and Do.

Shotokan Serves Ethical Purpose

For us, however, Shotokan Karate Do empowers people. Shotokan helps them to reach their full physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually potential as human beings and free them from negative influences. It also civilizes the world and guide people in a non-violent, respectful, and humble direction. All that happens when they follow the 20 Precepts of Gichin Funakoshi. Do is paramount for us. This is our Way of Shotokan.

If you agree or disagree leave us a comment below and let us discuss. Oss!