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Cherish The Old & Embrace The New

Cherish The Old & Embrace The New

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’

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 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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