February 3, 2011Promotion of Karate competitions

The Japanese national football team became champion of the Asian Cup. They say that the play by all team players united together strongly led to a victory in Qatar even though there were some injured plyers among them. I think that the spectators who were nailed to the TV would have been impressed by the wonderful skills of the players and excited. A magnificent battle at the stadium and enthusiasm of spectators. Sport cannot be established without a great number of spectators connected with the athletes.

The prime example is the International Olympics. It has also been used politically as a sport festival with national prestige.

The founder of Kodokan Judo, Master, Jigoro Kano, attended at the IOC General Assembly in Cairo at the age of 79 in order to invite the 12th International Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1938 and made them promise it. He passed away on his way back home, but it seems that he did not give no thought to adding Japanese martial arts, judo to the Olympics.

It was after the formation of the International Judo Federation (IJF) when the movement of judo to be an Olympic event became active. The predecessor of this IJF was the European Judo Federation formed in 1948. In 1951, the name was changed to IJF. The first IJF General Assembly which was held in Zurich, Switzerland in the next year 1952, formally decided the request for membership of Japan. In that year, the All-Japan Judo Federation held an extraordinary Board of Councilors, formally decided to join the IJF and applied to IJF for membership. Mr. Risei Kano (second son of Kano master) who is Director of the Kodokan and Chairman of the All Japan Judo Federation (formed in 1949) had served as its chairman for the three terms until 1965. In 1979, Shigeyoshi Matsumae (founder of Tokai University, 1901-1991) was appointed as the Japanese chairman for the third generation until 1987. Since then, there have been disputes over the appointment of IJF officers. In 1995, the IJF General Assembly was held just before the World Judo Championships at Makuhari Messe in Chiba Prefecture. However, following proposal by the Board of Directors was approved in the assembly, which showed the seriousness of the problem. That is, “the chairman, sports director and referee directors will be re-elected so as not to hinder the preparations and operation of the Olympics”.

Sports appear on the political stage inevitably when they are organized. Organizing sports has certainly made a significant contribution to the spread and continued development of sports, and gaining sponsors has helped improve the ability of athletes. Promotion of is a prerequisite for the organization. However, politics always appears there. The problem is that political power influences not only in the appointment of executives but also in everything such as making rule and judgement of referees ignoring the player's independence.

Before the war, the Dai-Nippon Butoku-Kai (Great Japan Federation of Martial Arts). (Founded in 1895 = Meiji 28) unified the Japanese martial arts as center of the Japanese martial arts. It had the authority to approve martial arts. A national organization was necessary for various martial skills from ancient Japan to become martial arts. Although there may have been a historical background of the Meiji era, Karate followed the same path. The Dai-Nippon Butoku-kai was ordered to be dissolved by the GHQ (General Headquarter of the Allied Forces) at the end of the Pacific War. However, each martial art was gradually organized after the war. Karate was no exception too.

It was at the 18th Tokyo Games in 1964 when Judo was held as an Olympic event. The Nippon Budokan was also completed that year. The word “martial arts” suddenly appeared in the mass media, and the momentum for martial arts restoration increased. In an international game, the word “Japan’s own forte, judo” is used as a pillow word in the Japanese judo world, and athletes are under pressure to get gold medal at any costs. In the point system judgment, foreign players take a strategy to accumulate points with determination, which are advantageous. On the other hand, Japanese athletes agonize over how to deal with it, because to win by ippon (a terminating move) is intrinsic value of the martial arts, judo. A Japanese player who cannot feel fine somehow even if he or she wins on points. The problem that internationalized judo has would not be small.

Teacher, Takashi Miyagi, who is the second head family of Goju Ryu mentioned true way of game & contest saying, “In Karate-do, where wonderful skills are demonstrated in close combat battles, the competition must be what everyone can be convinced under accurate judgment and rigorous game style without losing the true value of martial arts spirit and skill.”

An athlete who had come through the hard training days and was before the game. Feeling of humility to show satisfaction to self who finished the battle regardless of victory or defeat and to show respect to the winner. The spectator will evaluate both certainly. The spectators and players will be connected together, and a great excitement similar to that enthusiastic football will surely to well up in the game venue.

Now, a new way of martial arts is being questioned. (Mutan)