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!

A Comment 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.

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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

10 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.

  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.

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