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Karate In The Olympics

I just posted an article by Stan E. Henning to the Hawaii Karate Seinenkai website entitled: Chinese Martial Arts Confront the 21st Century. The article discusses the issue of Chinese martial art becoming a part of the Olympics.

No one has ever asked me, but if they did I would say that I would not like to see Karate as an Olympic sport or event. First of all, I do not consider Karate to be a sport or form of competition. I consider it to be an art and civilian form of self defense.

There are also many different styles of Karate. Shorin-Ryu and Goju-Ryu, for example, are quite different. I suppose that a core set of kata could be selected for use in the Olympics, but I really don't like that idea. It is more than difficult enough for a Shorin-Ryu student to properly learn Shorin-Ryu kata. Too many people, in my opinion, dilute their efforts by learning kata in other styles before they have properly learned and refined the kata in their own style.

If Karate were an Olympic sport, I suppose their would be weight divisions and the winners would be given medals. I do not like such external awards for Karate. The reward for a job well done is the job well done. Also, in Karate we must prepare to defend ourselves against any attacker, not just one in our weight division.

I do think that mixed martial arts could have a place in the Olympics. It comes the closest to a well rounded approach to martial arts competition, in my opinion. The mixed martial arts accept participants from any art and style. Competitors might excel at different skills, but a combination of striking and grappling skills is usually a prerequisite.

As for Karate, I believe in the saying, "If you know it, don't show it."


Charles C. Goodin