In 2020 the Olympics are to be held in Japan for the first time and karate is to be included in these games, excuse me if this topic has already been discussed but I thought it had the potential to spark some interesting debate and posts.
The Olympic committee have decided to have karate in the Budo kan situated in the center of Japan, this event apparently is a probationary one that if successful will lead to it being included in future games and then one day it may become part of the main Olympics.
Whilst this is no doubt great for publicising karate and making more people aware, it's obviously more of a martial sport than an art, detracting from it's traditional ties somewhat.
Both Kumite and Kata are to be performed by only 80 competitors representing their respective countries and will be organsied officially by the World Karate Federation (WKF).
In comparison to it's fellow martial art's turned sports i.e Judo, Wrestling, Taekwondo etc... I feel it will make more of a spectators sport and appeal visually based on the fact it's so diverse, especially with some of the flashy, show off bunkai they demonstrate for their modified competition kata's and fast paced sparring including punching, kicks and takedowns.
Question is... is all this a good thing or a bad one?
To start the ball rolling, here's some questions :
Will it push forth a limited and very 'branched off' version of karate to the unknown, meaning the average Joe gets the wrong impression (jumping around screaming and posturing after scoring a gyakuzuki) of something he's seeing for the first time?
Should there be more competitors allowed to participate? (Limited to 80)
Will spectators be able to follow and understand the rules of kumite, flags etc...?
Is anyone attending these Olympics to view karate? If so what are you hoping to get out of it?
If this category gains popularity, could it have the potential to spring board this sport version of karate and in doing so split karate into two completely different entities?
Does anyone believe it will do well and gain interest? Or not and fade away?
I have opinions of it being both good and bad for different reasons, mostly good... especially for those athletes who dedicate their training to the competition side of karate, it will give them something more to aspire to and be part of. It will also be great for attracting youngsters and kids to joining a club and give them ambition.
On the otherside of the coin, I personally fit in more with the traditional side of the art and therefor have concerns it could promote the wrong image of actual karate to the public.
What's your thought's?
If there's any questions I've missed (probably quite a few) then add them to the mix!
All the best,