I recently received an e-mail from a guy in Australia, telling me in no uncertain terms that I was ‘a dinosaur’ and needed to ‘move with the times’ – this gem of wisdom related to some clips I’d posted on you tube-during the 2013 - ‘K is coming’ campaign. The text that accompanied the clips stated that I believed there was a case for sport karate and all its new rules and officials, but it was getting further and further away from Budo - getting more and more like a game of ‘tick’. I did reply to the e-mail, pointing out that I had no issues with sport karate, as the you-tube text clearly stated. This martial arts master replied that I ‘didn’t know what I was talking about’ - ‘he’ had been doing karate for 9 years and could go (in his words) “Head to head with any so called traditionalist” - I think his reply says all that needs saying about him!
My view remains unchanged, I do believe that there is a wide interest and ever increasing demand for sport karate, but I also believe that there are many dojos and organizations, that promote fast sport oriented karate, above the solid basics that many of us ‘dinosaurs’ did. Peter Consterdine (British Combat Association) – himself a high ranking Shukokai exponent and former British karate team member puts it well when he says that traditional karate will always teach skills that are important; speed, power and targeting, but sport karate is just that – a sport.
I’m sure there will be many who jump to the defence of sport karate, but it’s not necessary; please bear in mind what I’ve said: there is a place for sport karate, and I must also stress that I intend no disrespect to the karate-ka who enjoy and excel in sport karate. However, you only have to read the many comments that the clips we post on https://www.youtube.com/user/200374 attract to see that traditional karate is still held in high esteem.
On a final note, what really does disappointment me is the lack of respect and protocol that seems to be the norm now: karate-ka jumping up and down, fist raised in the air in triumph, even before the referee has given a point, and OMG if the referee doesn’t award the point, then we might have the spectacle of the karate-ka remonstrating with the referee! I recall an incident (although taekwondo) where an aggrieved competitor actually attacked the referee, and although it hasn’t come to this in sport karate (as far as I’m aware) – I have witnessed outbursts from fighters to officials.
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