SIX new sports will be welcomed to the 2020 Olympic Games including surfing, skateboarding, sport climbing, baseball and softball (considered as one sport). And then there was karate. Its inclusion had Inverell’s Nick King feeling both excited and optimistic.
“It means that all karate styles can compete in the Olympics if they follow the Olympic system of competition,” King said.
“Basically, because there is so many different styles of Karate, they can all just come into one place and (compete).”
Karate originated in Okinawa Japan through the Ryukyuan people of the Ryukyu Islands. It is believed the Chinese introduced Chinese Kenpo and other martial arts to the islands when trade relations were opened in the late 14th century, although it is very possible precursors of the art were around for many hundreds of years in India and other parts of Asia.
A huge variety of different Karate systems exists, some mainly traditional kata based and others going full-force contact. Training is split into basics, Kata (set pieces of sequential moves) and Kumite (free fighting, some use semi-contact, others full-contact).
Many masters taught many forms and styles developed over centuries.
I don’t think it’s been in the limelight very much since The Karate Kid.Nick King
“Our style is a traditional Japanese style, but it’s hard contact. You wear a face visor and you can actually fully hit, whereas the World Karate Federation (WKF) system is more like the Taekwondo style. It’s more points sparring, it’s more like tag,” King said.
“But like I said to all our black-belts, our students and everyone involved in it, it doesn’t matter what style it’s in, it’s Karate and it’s in the Olympics.”
In 2014, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) approved a new roadmap allowing organizing committees for each Olympic Games greater flexibility to propose which sports should be included, and the Tokyo 2020 committee took advantage of the roadmap.
King said the WKF system was a more sports orientated Karate.
“It’s really good news for Karate in general because now it’s going to make it popular,” King said.
“I don’t think it’s been in the limelight very much since The Karate Kid.”