Monday, March 04, 2013

Karate Characters

The ultimate aim of the art of karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the characters of its participants. - Gichin Funakoshi

I've previously posted about the pitfalls of competing. Some of the antics of participants through the years have been deplorable. In 2008 Cuban competitor Angel Matos kicked a referee in the head after he was disqualified in an Olympic tae kwon do bout. In a separate incident, Isao Nakamura Fushiki actually attacked a contestant in a karate match in which he was the referee.

This past weekend I watched a karate tournament that left me shaking my head in disgust. While the judging was fair and competent from my view, a few of the competitors (kumite, men's BB division) were arguing with referees on certain calls in a manner that I felt was quite disrespectful. [One liability of point-matches is the seemingly arbitrary nature of scoring points or ippon in a stop-and-go fashion, something that doesn't exist in continuous sparring events that allows full contact and KO's, a la Kyokushin or the K-1, but I digress.] Generally I'm in favor of sportive karate, but not when the players engage in disgraceful behavior. What's particularly bad is how this leaves such a negative impression on anyone who has to witness this kind of thing, especially novice and young practitioners.

Fortunately, nothing I saw came remotely close to this. Brace yourself:

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