“Should Karate Be Olympic?” [Infographic]

In three days, Karate could come closer to the Olympics.

Eight sports (baseball/softball, climbing, roller sport, squash, wakeboard, wrestling and wushu) will present to the International Olympic Committee in St. Petersburg, and only ONE will get the single spot on the programme at the 2020 Olympics.

But the Karate world is split into two camps:

  • Those who are for Olympic Karate…
  • …and those who are against it.

What side are YOU on?

I made a quick infographic to show you the stats, facts and quotes about Karate and its inclusion in the Olympic Programme – to help you take a stand.

Feel free to share it with your friends and followers.

(Click to enlarge:)
 Olympic Karate Infographic

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PS. For more info about Karate and Olympics, read my previous 2-part interview with the President of the WKF (Mr. Antonio Espinós) here.

54 Comments

  • Te'o
    Jesse-san, nice graphic!!! I believe that if Karate is to become an Olympic sport, it will most likely go the way of TKD and be a Kumite sport only. My personal opinion is that Karate would be a more viable sport than TKD for olympic competition. Did you see the last Olympic TKD competitions? Lame and boring!!! Even my TKD friends agreed!! But really, it will be the Olympic committee and how they view it globally in terms of interest and ecomomics. Just my two cents, and I would love to see it come 2020! Have a great weekend!
  • Marko
    I think that karate should be olympic but rules must be changed in order to bring a more spectacular karate to the larger audience.
    • John
      The statistics are nonsense. Millions may participate in karate, but very few of these participate in sports karate.As an example, take a UK championship in one category. There appears to be no qualifying, 6 matches and less than 20 minutes fighting and you are the champion. How many people turn up to fight in a competition? May be not even 100. Yesterday was a competition in Worcester. 32 boys fought for a medal in one category. Even those in the last 16 who lost can enter the nationals. This is a joke.Sports karate is not worthy of a serious sport. To become a UK champion is meaningless. There is very little real competition.Take other sports, you need to be club chmapion, city champion, county champion, regional champion and the go to a national competition. There is an structure. SPorts krate is a not organised, may be 5% of those who do karate do "sports karate".It is also so boring to watch.
      • magoof
        Maybe the UK karate is not as organised as you would like. That explains why there is always Italy, Spain, Turkey, maybe France, in EKF championships top places, and never ever UK. Sports karate, from my point of view, is a serious thing, and only the countries who organise seriously create a real challenge for those with an olympic dream. BTW I'm from Panama, a very nothing-serious-about-karate country in the PKF area, so I understand what those silly, (put any offensive adjective here) national championships are.
  • John
    Great graphic! You make a compelling case for karate's inclusion as an Olympic sport, but what about the other side of the argument? The graphic emphasizes the pervasiveness of karate, but in a way decidedly slanted towards the "sport" aspect of the practice. What about the art in martial art? Was Nakayama wrong to write about what he felt was lost with the increasing emphasis on sport karate? There are those who feel the art won't be helped by its inclusion as an Olympic sport. Did judo get better as an art after its inclusion? Like many other Olympic sports, the emphasis is (or will be) on winning and there are too many examples of how this imperative negatively affects athletes and the sport in general (I'm still trying to get the image of the taekwodo competitor kicking the referee out of my head). Just food for thought...
    • magoof
      Sorry John for my late response. Wasn't judo a sport since the beginning? OTOH, surely there are many old school masters who think karate is going to lose something, or has already lost. I just watched a video on thekihap.tv in which sensei Yamazaki says good and not so good things about karate going to olympics, and the general consensus is that it can't be helped, change in karate cannot be stopped.
  • NO IT SHOULDNT! This would be the beginning of the end for REAL karate! Who will care about Kata or kihon and self defence anymore? Traditional Dojos will disapear slowly beacuse many kids that dont have a clue about real karate will simply not start doing traditional self defence anymore! Lets be honest. Sport-Karate has nothing to do whit real Fighting anymore! Sure, they look fancy whit their uramawashis and leaning at each others (i hate it so much) but call it "point fance fighting" but NOT karate!! (Sorry for my english)
  • Pasquale
    NO
  • Hank
    I hope not
  • Masoud Mokhtari
    Hi dear Jesse: As you probably know, this is the time of presidental election in my country, Islamic republic of Iran. Nowadays, Every Iranian wants to demonstarate his or her suit candidate can do for Iran progression! but for us, lovers of Karate, is a goal to describe Karate accurately and enjoy to achieve agreements about being olympic! We just like to manifest our great sport and spirirt, karate. this is our duty as an ideology!
  • Charles
    YES.I don't get the argument that a major event happening every four years would draw everyone away from kata or otherwise affect the art in ways regular championships haven't already.Also saying that a WKF competitor can't fight is getting old and tired. A full fledged kizami tsuki done in this fashion is extremely effective.Furthermore many masters have encouraged competition to help karatekas overcome fear, learn to evaluate distance and otherwise adapt the techniques to their own personalities and physiology. Point sparring is a good way to do this without risking too much injury.Those that chose to can still go a more traditional route although I'm really not sure it is as sure a way to become a better fighter as many seem to think.
  • I hope wrestling stays in and Karate doesn't make it to the Olympics.Karate is not a sport and 'sport Karate' is not Karate.I cannot see any benefit for Karate from the Olympics.
  • Brian Okello
    NO!Absolutely not. Non-karate folks respect the art simply because ts never in the olympics. Simple as that.
  • Marcelo Viera
    Jesse san se nota tu interes en darle un boost a la campaña de la K pero en un grafico no muestra nada del punto de vista de los que no queremos el karate DO en las olimpiadas ademas solo iria la parte de kumite competitivo y daria en la mayoria de los dojo aun menos enfasis a la practica de kata y bunkai
  • There are a hundred million *active* karateka?!? I find the number rather doubtful... What group did this calculation, how was this calculated, and with what sort of data sampling method?
    • Ryan-san, the data was taken from "The K is on the Way" official campaign website (http://www.thekisontheway.com/). The number seems to fluctuate...
  • Roberto
    NO, NO, NO!!!!
    • odilon cruz
      Why not
  • Thanks for the information Jesse-san. Unfortunately they provide literally zero information on the method of calculation and type of data survey used (most likely because they don't exist). Reminds me of when I once read that there were 250 million alien abductees in America, which would be over 70% of the total population. ;-)I doubt there are even 100 million martial artists on the planet, much less 100 million karateka.Just IMHO of course...
  • Bill L.
    I vote an emphatic "NO!" I agree with John Pagonis. I think olympic inclusion can be only detrimental to karate. To me, karate is not a sport and should not be considered a sport.
    • So... What is it then? Isn't there a contradiction when we preach non-violence but yet keep thinking that karate is "budo" (the art of war)... and, anyways, what war are we getting prepare for? Saying that karate can't be a sport is as much non-sense as saying that fencing, archery, javelin, etc. aren't sports! Track and field started because an Ancient Greek ran to deliver a message...
  • Szilard
    It should be Olympic. As an Olympic sport there will be a big chunk of sport karate around, and this will make more space and resources for "real karate" too, and lots of people with advanced karate skills to join the ranks of karate geeks. I believe all the roads lead to the same place, with practice there will come enlightenment, and "all the bottles are good, there is no best bottle".
  • JP
    As I celebrate 40 yrs in Karate (Shuri-Ryu) and Martial Arts (Iwama Aikido & Taiho Jutsu) I look how the whole landscape has changed. The absolute proliferation of the dreaded "mcdojo" and the lack of courtesy, intellectual achievement and total loss of any technical acumen. Ok, I'm and old retired Green Beret that happens to think that while there are many roads to Mecca there are still just plain right and just plain wrong ways of doing things. The mere term "sport karate" is wrong! Nothing wrong with tournament competition but with technique, you know actual Karate. I can't see making Karate an Olympic sport helping the cause of the true Karate-ka. I just see millions of dollars invested in thousands of glossy, beautiful mcdojos teaching karate. Not any particular style, just karate. You know, with music and flips and really high jumping kicks. Not a bow to lineage or tradition... kata kumite? kihons? totally gone out the window but hey, maybe if you train hard and sign up for the 3yr blackbelt plan you can be an olympian. That is exactly what I think will happen. You know we are fighting this fight everyday as it is. I don't want to come off as the Karate hermit, but there has to be a stand made or we will lose the very essence that Martial Arts was built upon. Martial Arts, Mars,.. from the latin .... Roman god of war... not tag you're it. But war, these are the Arts of War.....not give me yet another patch and stripe. I've vented enough, thanks for obliging me for this long... JP out.
  • Dod
    Nice graphic, but a little bit naughty as it is a bit one sided!Personally I would like to train less high kicks and more of the grappling that used to be practised in karate."Sports Karate" for me should not be more than a small part of karate training because the necessary rules eliminate the bulk of karate moves. To me the Olympics would over-promote that small part which is not the essence of karate.If there is a place for this type of competition could it not be a kind of mixed martial arts?
  • Karate in the Olympics will do exactly the same to Karate as it did to TaeKwonDo, kill it.TaeKwonDo is considered by many as the benchmark for belt factories and McDojo's. They lost their way. Pre-olympic TaeKwonDo was an awesome art, I would put onpar with any other, put since the Olympics, most Dojangs focused on Olympic sparring with no effort put into other parts of their syllabus. I watched one 2nd Degree who was rather good at sparring couldn't complete any of the forms he was demonstrating without making silly mistakes.And Olympic Karate is only focused on the bouncy bouncy strike and scream type of sparring. Where does Knockdown Karate get involved.I personally think they should have only 2 martial arts competitionsK-1 style bouts for Boxers, KarateKa, Kickboxers, TaeKwonDo, Kung Fu, Muay Thai and other "Stand Up" arts in the ringAndAn Octagon for Wrestlers, Judoka, JuJitsu, JiuJitsu and other "grappling arts"
  • Katherine Loukopoulos
    hello Jesse,I enjoyed your most recent pros and cons for Karate in Olympics...I just wanted to share that in 1982 I demonstrated Kata for the Olympic Committee. It was in Cesar's Palace, Las Vegas. Why? The Olympic Committee wanted to evaluate what Kata was all about, and if it would be attractive as an Olympic Sport... it was a time when AAU Karate did not fall under the Olympic Committee's umbrella...It was every athlete's dream to make it into the Olympics... seven years I represented the United States, and I competed with that in mind... but Olympics have CHANGED.Why I am writing? Because Olympics was born in Greece. And the modern Olympics is planning to remove Greco Roman Wrestling... because... it is no longer appealing to the mass audience...Smile,Katherine Loukopoulos The Bubishi Karate Do Org Hellenic Chapter
  • Carlos
    Dear all-ka!I am not in favour of Olympic karate. This is not to mean that I wouldn't like Karate to be in the Olympics!If the deal was that we all train and practice and enjoy karate and those that want to show that they are the best in what they do go to the Olympics every four years, then fine. The problem is in "what" we do. It is difficult to find traditional Muay Thai or Taekwondo for instance (whatever traditional means anyway) and so will be the case in karate. The true karate (whatever true means anyway) is even difficult to find today!!! Karate training specific for the Olympic will still be interesting but will undertake a deep revision, as Judo and Taekwondo have.If what we do is somehow dependant is why do we do it for, Olympics is going to be at the end of the path, and not karate itself, the path itself. Competition is everywhere in society and I wouldn't like introducing more rules and regulations in my students. If something, I'd like them to be freer, happier, karate-er!I know there are Yoga demonstrations, and I am not saying that karate is like yoga, but to give an extreme example, would you like yoga to become Olympic?The answer is that in both karate and yoga cases there are proponent that advocate towards the Olympics believe or not. Being an olympic sport means that a particular sport (not art) will benefit from whatever Ministry of Sport or department for Sport grants which will demand in exchange futher standardisation. And we can guess what happens when money gets involved.
  • Maral
    First of all, I should mention that although I am a crazy Karate fan, I would rather to see the wrestling back to the Olympic, since it has been an inseparable part of Olympics since the first day. Anyway, I would love to see Karate among the other sports in Olympics. First of all, there will be more people trying to practice Karate afterwards and as you know, the more karatekas, the better we will get , and we are to witness higher quality and standards. On the other hand, it would be more possible, that old-fashioned people like me myself, will be given the opportunity to practice the REAL TRADITIONAL Karate. You see, I am one of those people who believe in the face that Karate should be used in the case of protection ONLY, and by that I mean a death-life situation. The rest is gaining power and self-control and etc. As you mentioned above, separating these two will happen only after the Karate is accepted as a sport in Olympics.In short, this is a great opportunity for the Karate world, that will make everybody to define their viewpoint in this regard. They have to participate in Olympics and consider Karate as SPORT or NOT. Afterwards, we all are free to choose. For those who want to go further as athletes, there is Olympics and concentrating on Kumite and so on, and for those who want to practice Karate as a way of life, a life far away from combats, or a dojo in which ther will be a lot of Kata practicing and senseis who won't make you do Kumite just to make you ready for any kind of tournament.
    • What you say is correct none the less but people will be more oriented to the sport part about karate rather than the art, this will make it harder for karate to function in its true form as a martial art, this means that karate will become like post-Olympic taekwon-do which is more oriented towards the the sport part rather than the important stuff like forms and self defense effectiveness.
  • Karate in Olympics sounds cool. And it might be very interesting in many cases. Karate going to Olympics it doesn't really means that people will stop practicing traditional way. It will just add a little flavor to what karate people do. If instructor doesn't know how to make students practice KIHON and KATA, then it is not a real master. Kumite is an outcome of those two components.In my opinion karate should go to Olympics. Just the bad parts is that wrestling is out. I am really disappointed with IOC's decision. Shouldn't be this way.
  • Karate Student
    Yes, gaining acceptance into the Olympics would only broaden Karate's audience base. More exposure means more people. This would be a good thing for Karate.Sports Kumite vs Traditional? Who believes that those trained for exclusively for sports can actually overcome those trained with the three K's (Kihon, Kata and Kumite) in the long term? I regulary compete under WKF rules - and I've seen athletic karate players at State level look unstoppable with their barage of round and hook kicks. Anticipated reverse punch counter? They couldn't get a point with it if you put your hands down and ran at them. Sad considering reverse punch is still responsible for 80% of scoring attacks in tournaments.Sounds bad? Perhaps so far, - however I'm forutante enough to have seen a couple of these types compete alongside myself at National level. Unsurprisingly, they got hammered against the higher level of competition often being unable to overcome other competitiors who quickly realised they could easily counter with reverse punches. Watching one such player lose 6 - 5 from a 5 - 0 lead pretty much made it clear that the teachings of endurance, persistance and technique in a martial art are able to overcome athleticism and pretty kicks.Now, under WKF rules it can suck hard if you're 2 - 0 up and one of those kicks tags you in the last ten seconds relegating you a loss. However all this really says is that you need to sharpen up your defense - which is never a bad thing. Gaining this insight in a tournament is a lot better than 'learning' this while failing to defend yourself.In my experience good kihon leads is required for good kumite. While some players attempt to circumvent this with athletism (indeed have you wondered why some coaches seem to develop champions where as for others it only happens when they get luckly and have a natural athlete come through the Dojo door?) it is a very short term solution. At National level it's generally not a successful long term strategy. I doubt anyone approaching sport karate in this manner would ever succeed Internationally.
  • I think it would be good if the karate would be in the olympics, it would be a huge evolve for the wonderful art. BUT two reasons has changed my mind,First: The Olympic commite only suggests Kumite and not kata for the Olympics. For being a such a huge event, a karate contest without kata is ridiculous! Why even think about it! Why do we not let all the other people in the world to see, enjoy and discover a totally different way of competing. What would the world say if they saw katas like Rika Usami and Antonio Diaz. It would be such a shame.Second: Every two years the olympics and the WKF championchips, will come VERY, VERY close to each other. That would be very tiring and two world champion chips in a year, can you just imagine that , competition would be lowered. A LOTWell, I think if karate wants to be in the olympics, we first have to solve these problems. If not i will say NO immedetly.
  • Charles
    @Damon The Olympics are in the summer and the world championships in November. How is that tiring? They're used to many tournaments year-round 'Meditterranean games, Premier league...). Also all disciplines have world championships.I wasn't surprised that kata wasn't considered. It could become a reality several years down the line if the Olympics make karate more popular in western countries (in France it is the 16th most popular sport, which simply isn't enough despite a sharp increase these last few years). But right now kata would be rejected by viewers.But this is all a moot point now that karate didn't even make the shortlist of 3. We'll be seeing softball or squash. Oh well.
  • @Charles Well those contests you are talking about is not as big as the world championships. Of course we have many big contests each year, but the world ones are totally an another thing. Why do you think WKF has chosen to hold the championships every two years. Because to hold the excitement, the people watching is going to be so much fewer. And all the participants, will the hang on? It is two, almost exactly same, very big contests with just a few months between. It is a whole other thing if we compare with different contests.Well the kata thing I agree with you. Only Kumite is not bad at all if you think about it.I know that all this doesn`t matter now but Karate will maybe get another chance in the future.PS: "Karate Rocks"!
  • Ian
    Karate in the Olympics? I hope never.Okay, first off, we're talking about "kumite in the olympics" since they'd never 'understand' kata enough themselves, let alone be able to explain it to their audience.Who watches kumite? Parents and karate nerds. Who watches the olympics? People who "like sports" and/or cheering for their country. Would the latter group be able to quickly grasp the "scoring criteria" for kumite? Sorry, no. Kumite as it exists now is too technical for an olympic audience.Our "kumite" would end up like olympic TKD, with electronic "contact sensing" vests and the like. Let's not go there.
  • It depends on the way you want to practice karate, because karate is a martial art, a real good one to ,but because of modern sport oriented way of teaching karate(I don't blame the japanese who rather than sportified karate improved it in their own way but the westerners who didn't understand the true meaning of it[only some of them]) .If karate is to be a sport only the kata should be there in competitions rather than kumite because and I quote many people,ruins the true form of karate, whereas the kata only improves upon your beloved karate.Even if kumite is included in karate it should be the kyokushin way full-contact,no-nonsense essentially and dangerously simple. In the case of katas the competitions should be judged on the way the the kata should be performed according to style rather than the way the judges want it to be performed even better is to have competitions based on style so that the judges decision can be much more clearer(not that I want karate to be divided on the basis of styles).Cheers
  • Charles
    What is this about Japanese versus Western, using Kyokushin as a reference? JKA tournaments are much closer to WKF than they are to Kyokushin.To me Kyokushin is to modern karate competition what old-style boxing is to modern boxing. Two people trading blows without hardly any blocking or moving versus a large panel of techniques including dodging, distance management, takedowns, speed and precision.Someone should define exactly what it is they are refering to when talking about "true karate" and using Kyokushin as an example. Having tried both WKF style and Kyokushin at a decent level would be a plus.
    • Well you see Kyokushin is a bit more closer to the true meaning of karate rather than WKF because Kyokushin emphasizes full contact which will be the most likely in a real fight but I'm not really a fan of "not blocking". WKF will be less closer because it sort of warps Karate into a mutant form of what karate really should be like. The JKA method is even closer to the true meaning of karate because it believes in using a killing blow at the start itself. By the way, the true meaning of karate is self-defense and self control.
    • Look I learn from the JKA so I know what they've done about karate. I didn't mean to offend you about the west, instead I wanted to just give you an opinion about what westerners understand about karate and what they don't. Some of the westerners came back to their country with incomplete or no knowledge at all about the art, so Mcdojos came into being. WKF promotes the art but not the way it should be.Yes I agree if do kumite in both the JKA and Kyokushin way it would be advantageous
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  • Karate must never go Olympic.It is not the right path for it. What people tend to forget is that Karate was never meant to be a sport. Becoming Olympic would corrupt the already-corrupt-karate-world even more and that would do more harm than good. Remind yourselves, why Karate is one of the fighting arts that just get a poor smile when mentioned. It is thanks to thos who promote is as a sport practicing speed only and bunny-hop-karate... Traditional Shotokan would NOT do that. Nor would Kyokushin. But applying rules of either of them would not be suitable for Olypic Sports.I mean wearing protectiv gear on head, rump and shins and hands... really?! That is NOT Karate, but nothing else but Kickboxing with watered down rules.Karate must never ever go Olympic.
  • Eric Zed
    Yes, karate was not meant to be a sport... Neither was fencing, archery or even marathon! Why is the idea of sport appear so vulgar to some? We praise karate as a way of life; so is sport, I think! Just like karate, any sport require us to be dedicated, respectful of ourselves and others, relentless, courageous, caring and altruistic. We use the word "martial" (budo) without fully realizing its meaning. Let's not kid ourselves: the martial component, although very real, is the smaller part of what we do... otherwise someone is going to have to tell me what war we are preparing for! As karatekas, we put forward non-violence, and what is better than sport to practice what we love without violence? As per the Olympics, although I understand the concerns, I try to see it from the point of view of the practitioner; the ultimate pride of any athlete is to bear the colours of his country in front of millions of people. That's what happens with the FIFA world cup in soccer. Everybody knows how corrupt they are, yet everybody still enjoys the game and is proud to see his or her flag float for 30 days in front of the whole world...
  • IMHO the problem is to name two different things the same way.Karatedo is a martial art, not a sport. It is not a game with rules, but a budo. You have to learn Karate do as it is, a method to defence yourself and to learn how to use your body as a lethal weapon. As a "do" you also will learn a way for spiritual and mind improvement.Karate has also kumite, where two opponents learn how to use their skills to beat the other, even thought they don't touch each other.Sport Karate is something created from the Karate kumite, where some people started to create rules to make Karate more attractive, more entertaining and less dangerous.I don't want to say that one thing (Karatedo) is better than the other (Sport Karate) but if we all say we practice/learn/study Karate we won't know what we are talking about as we may be talking about different matters.I'm ok if someone comes and say that they train Karate for the fun or the joy of competition, and if they don't like the martial side or whatever, but I don't like that they call it KarateDoes it make sense?
  • Michael Bailey
    I think they should include a Kata compitition in the Olympics as well, not just sparring, they should do both and combine scores with sparring, to determine the best overall karateka.
  • MB
    It is so boring to watch.
  • keraj
    It should be olympic, but also full-contact knockdown rules. Not this shitty point krotty.
  • Michal
    If karate will join Olympics then hell no WKF! Doesn't matter WKF got the largest members base. If the style of WKF will join, the original sense of karate will be destroyed. The original karate taught in Honbu dojo in Japan by Japan Karate Association should be in Olympics.
  • JR
    I see why people don't want karate in the olympics, but I don't agree with it. Looking at what the olympics did to TKD, it's pretty hard not to feel that the olympics will ruin karate, however...Karate is already well established, having sport karateka and traditional karateka. Depending on where you are, both are relatively easily found. All the traditionalists aren't going to jump ship and sell out to sport karate. Kids, teens, and early 20s people without previous karate training might get drawn to sport karate, but they won't take over IMO. They'll realize there's far more to it than competition. When TKD became an Olympic event, I don't think it was as big and well established as karate currently is.But, if karate wants to set itself apart from TKD in this venue, it must be full contact/knockdown. Karate already has the stigma of being an ineffective kids' sport, rather than a legitimate self defense art. If people are all wearing protective gear and point fighting, to the masses it'll look exactly like TKD. Let them masses know there's a different side to karate. Most people have little interest in watching a glorified game of tag.All in my opinion of course. I respect the opinions of those who say not to include karate. I totally understand their reasons. If all its going to be is point fighting, then I'm against it too. If its knockdown, I'm all for it.Also, my opinions are based on what I've seen where I live (New York State). No idea what the state of karate and TKD are and were elsewhere.
    • magoof
      TKD was meant to be sport since the beginning... that is why tang soo do and some "kwans" remained outside the first tkd wave enforced by the korean government. TKD has since lost a whole lot of techniques, let's not talk philosophy and stuff.
  • bells
    yes yes yes yes yes yes yes...............,............................ KARATE SHOULD BE IN OLYMPIC
  • Sensei
    Karate should DEFINITELY be in the Olympics, and I'm glad it has been included. I say this as a long time 3rd dan Shotokan karateka awarded my Sandan by Kanazawa himself.Why should Karate be in the Olympics? Simple- traditional karate is a myth. 70% of the techniques we practise don;t work in real life. Has anybody actually ever used uchi uke, age uke, soto uke, shuto uke or kiba dachi in a real fight/sparring/competition? Nope. Kata bunkai is choreographed, unrealistic nonsense. If you want to know what practical effective karate looks like, the answer is simple: it looks like kickboxing. When we see karateka in MMA (Machida, Wonderboy Thompson, GSP, etc, etc they basically do kickboxing).The good thing about Olympics/sports karate is that it will encourage karateka to focus on the few techniques that actually work- kizamizuki, gyakuzuki, mawashigeri, maegeri and open hand blocks/parries. All the traditional nonsense that doesn;t work- or that only works against a stationary opponent stretching out his arm in unrealistic oizuki- will be dropped.Judo (which I also do) is very practical because it is very competition oriented. Nobody doubts whether Judo throws work, because they are proven everyday in competition. Unrealistic techniques are quickly abandoned when competition takes over. How come Karateka are so brainwashed that nobody ask why we still practice nekoashi dachi, gedan barai and soto uke when nobody ever uses them?I agree competition rules create constraints that can harm effective fighting ability. The same thing happened with Judo (no grabbing the legs, etc) and taekwondo (no face punches, etc) but it is a question of which is the lesser evil? Practising unrealistic traditional karate techniques that don;t work, or practising sports karate techniques that do work but are a little watered down?I think the latter is the lesser evil. We also need to get rid of the hundreds of karate styles. There is only one Judo because of the Olympics. In Karate we have Shotokan, Kyokushin, Kempo, Wado ryu, Goju ryu, Shito ryu, etc- and those are just the big styles. Within these we have more subdivisions. It's crazy. We should have just one Karate comprising techniques that work- and all styles have kizamizuki, gyakuzuki, maegeri, mawashigeri, etc- the realistic basics.If 30 years from now all Karate dojos teach only Olympic karate, I think we would be better off. At lease they'll be teaching what works in competition. And what works in competition is very similar to what works in Kickboxing and the streets.
    • magoof
      You are proposing to merge karate into taekwondo?????? No, of course you don't. But this is what happened to tkd, all the "impractical" techniques were eliminated little by little, now it's just a carcass of what was korean martial art some decades ago. You never go tkd against a street attacker or something, you will die. OTOH surely there are lots of things in karate not worth using in a real life situation, but olympic competition won't help either. The way I see it, sport karate is not self-defense ready by itself. I think sport karate is one of many facets of martial art.
    • magoof
      And why should we get rid of all karate styles? We have a lot of organizations, sure, but this has nothing to do with style or different sets of techniques and kata, mostly it has to do with one more-or-less high rank student making its own way from his sensei. If karate were more flexible and not that rigid about how to apply techniques and change them if necessary (evolve) maybe it would be only one karate and not one hundred. But typical situation: Sensei I think we can do this like that and... no hopper-san, that's not traditional. And boom new style!

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