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

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.

Opener Picture: Crumbling IOC by Elhan Numan

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Spirit, Style, Community! Our Dojo of the Month: The Rio Grande Valley Shotokan Karate Club

We asked the Rio Grande Valley Shotokan Karate Club (RGV), our Dojo of the Month in March, what spirit, style, and community mean for them. Because that are the principles The Shotokan Times stance for. The RGV puts its heads together and wrote us these fantastic and moving answers. They show deep understanding of Do. See yourself. Oss!

Spirit

Spirit means for us… maximizing each individual’s potential.  Although some may have natural abilities greater than others, everyone must “endeavor” to do as much as they are capable of so that they are “seeking perfection.”

Spirit can be evidenced by the passionate teaching in the dojo.  The instructors impart a passion for their art to their students.  As a teacher, I’ve rarely seen a class where 100% of the student population wants to be present 100% of the time.  Yet, this is the reality at RGV Shotokan 5 days a week…every week that classes are offered.  Students can often be heard discussing how they would like to go more often when they are not able to.  There is a longing to be present!  Passion for the art leads to inspired teaching and the students can’t get enough!

Style

Style means for us… tailoring your style of karate to benefit you the most.  How can you incorporate the style of your techniques to suit your own physicality? Even though we are lead by SKIF guidelines, these are to make sure we stay focused on the way, but it is important to experience variations of techniques from other systems to better understand our style as a whole.

Style-Shotokan is a strong style which features hard strikes and long, deep stances.  Body conditioning is prevalent, preparing the karateka to achieve some pretty amazing goals (higher jumps, faster motions, etc.).  Compared to other dojo’s in the area, RGV Shotokan comes across as super-legit!  Students are required to train hard in order to advance, and Black belts cannot be earned in house.  Shodan, and subsequent ranks, can only be tested for once a year in Houston.  Candidates congregate to be judged by instructors from SKIF headquarters in Japan.  This brings a high level of authenticity to the goal of earning advanced ranks!

Community

Community means for us… leaving a place better than you found it.  Sometimes this takes understanding and adaptation, but sometimes this takes plain hard work mixed with repetition followed by reevaluation. Whether this is our small dojo community, which includes not only dojo member but their families, or the local community people and natural wildlife.

RGV Shotokan is more than just a dojo, it’s a community of instructors, members , and parents, who go out of their way to support other members outside of the dojo. From attending each others’ plays, concerts, musicals, and other sports events to planning parties for the members of the club; RGV Shotokan is a place to truly feel welcomed and encouraged!