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Karate in the Olympic Games Part 3

by on October 29, 2009

Based on a recent interview with Okazaki Sensei published by “The Shotokan Way” (see here), it seems unlikely that karate will ever be in the Olympics under the governance of the ISKF. This should not come as a surprise to many, however, given that the WKF has already been identified by the IOC as the “governing body” of karate. Not that karate will be in the Olympics in the near future .

Okazaki Sensei’s comments re: Judo bring to light an issue that has been swirling in my head since talk of Karate in the Olympics first came onto my radar. Does sport competition really turn the martial arts into less of a martial art? On the flip side, does increased competition make things better?

Sensei Yaguchi’s new book “Mind and Body: Like Bullett” expands on this concept at one point, explaining that free sparring was set up to last for only 1 point because any more and competitors would lose the “life or death” feel that is integral to martial arts. I think this is the key component to whether sport competition detracts from the “martial art” aspect of any of of our martial arts; the mindset that you as the competitor have towards the tournament and/or training.

I both agree and disagree with the aforementioned masters, I think that sport competition has the potential to cause the arts to become more of a sport and less of a martial art, but only if we let it. Only if we as the competitors go into competition with the mindset that it is just a game will it turn the arts into something else. Indeed multi-point rounds, such as those used by the WKF, do not have to cause you to lose site of the “life or death” mentality, though I can see how this would happen for many people. By always having a second chance the severity of being scored on does not sink in.

Perhaps the point that the aforementioned masters are trying to make is that there are no second chances in real life.


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