For those who love the martial arts, the World Karate Federation is a well-known organization. Although the World Karate Federation was just founded in 1990, it already has more than 130 member countries and over ten million members. As a result, it has become the largest international governing body of karate and is the only one that is recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
The First “International” Competition is Held
Although karate is viewed as an ancient sport and art form, it wasn’t introduced to Europe until Japanese masters from the Japan Karate Association introduced it to them in the 1950s. The first international karate event, however, did not take place until 1963. It was at this time that the President of French Karate, Jacques Delcourt, invited federations from Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and Switzerland to compete in an international event in karate. Only Belgium and Great Britain accepted Delcourt’s invitation, but it helped spark an interest in international karate competition. In fact, six of the seven federations gathered in Paris later that same year and formed the first European Karate Congress.
European Countries Come Together
The purpose of the European Karate Congress was to help organize international karate competitions. By 1965, the European Karate Union was formed and Delcourt was elected its President. In 1966, Paris hosted the first European Karate Championships, which was aired on live television and attracted approximately 300 spectators. The event received criticism, however, as many considered the injuries endured by competitors to be too excessive and violent. Although the European Karate Union did not entirely agree upon what led to the injuries, the concern was addressed by holding a referee course in Rome in order to make certain all referees were using the same rules.
Karate Truly Goes International
In 1970, Delcourt formed the International Karate Union in an attempt to bring this elite sport to the world stage. This caused Ryoichi Sasakawa, who was President of the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organization, to visit France in order to discuss the development of an international governing body. As a result, Delcourt disbanded the International Karate Union and instead formed the World Union of Karate-do Organizations, which combined the European Karate Union and the Japanese federation.
The World Union of Karate-do Organizations also attempted to unite with the International Traditional Karate Federation in order to form the World Karate Federation, but this attempt was unsuccessful. As a result, the World Union of Karate-do Organizations decided to form the World Karate Federation on its own. Today, the World Karate Federation organizes the annual Junior and Senior Karate World Championships and is arguably the most well-respected karate organization in the world.
By ArtsyBee from Pixabay