Thursday, November 13, 2008

WKF World Karate Championships 2008 Day 1 Report

Richard here with the Day 1 Report!

It's Thu Nov 13, Day One of the WKF World Championships, the absolute premier karate event held every 2 years. Arakawa Sensei was asked by the JKF office to round up some people who could translate hence I was drafted.

Yesterday was sort of wonky with the 6pm prep meeting not materializing at the Nippon Budokan martial arts arena, and then Arakawa Sensei, Amy and I being sent to the Prince Shin-Takanawa event hotel where they just turned us around and sent us back to the Budokan. Hmm. Very unlike the precision planning Japan is known for.

Arakawa Sensei's job is marshalling athletes from the warm-up area to the on-deck area at the side of the rings. Always smiling, I think he is really enjoying meeting so many foreigners.

My job ended up today translating for the head table area, so I was able to watch quite a bit of the competition. Tomorrow I will help this area again, plus the security staff will be more strict with whom to allow enter the competition area, meaning no one who's not competing or a coach of an athlete competing at any given moment, id card or not.

Again, the orgainzation left a lot to be desired...

But seeing so many faces of people I have met over the years was great both yesterday and today. Reza Salmani (UAE Team and my very close friend), Robbie Smith (NZ Wadokai), Ticky Donovan (UK Head Coach, who ran some seminars in Vancouver in the '90s), Manuel Monzon (Canada Head Coach, who is as gracious as ever!), Gary Sabean (Canada Coach, wonderful guy), and many more actually, plus Norma of course.

Some results:

Men's Team Kata: France Gold, Japan Silver

Women's Team Kata: Japan Gold, France Silver

Women's Team Kumite: Germany Gold, Spain Silver (I think I got this right...)

Some really amazing fights, like during men's team kumite, Japan fought Croatia I believe and in the 3rd round, Shinji Nagaki fought someone well over a foot taller and twice his body weight. The opponent kept trying to thrown him down, which he did but he couldn't land a solid punching technique after so Nagaki scored some punches and then after the buzzer while play was in motion, did a wonderful taken down on this much bigger person - he won but it was too late to get 3 pts.

Today was team kata eliminations, team kumite through to the finals, and then the finals above, with men's team kata starting off tomorrow (Fri) from the 4th round. I believe Japan got through, but Canada lost their first round.

The referee's are very very strict on scoring and most standard scoring techniques don't get a point, very similar to Oliva Sensei saying last Sunday about all the mechanical needs for a point being required - more on that later.

New WKF rules! From Jan 1 I heard

- no more 'mienai' where the seated ref covers their eyes to say they they didn't see a technique score, now they will have to see it or not - no more enshosen, it will be called saishai and the scoreboard will be cleared of past penalities - all hand techniques one point no matter what - 3 points for any scored hand techinque on an opponent who falls whether the fighter put their opponent down safely or they slipped and fell on their own - no more re-decisions of the refs meaning once they decide that's it.

Olympics 2016

Well, the best chance for karate is that Tokyo gets the Summer Games. Only individual kumite has been proposed, which most people know. Oct 2009 the IOC will decide. Difficult I heard...

New tournament for people who have never competed in the WKF Worlds because they didn't qualify, so that they can get international experience...

Well, it's after midnight and I have to get up again in 6hrs. The high spirited athletes are great to see, and the Budokan being kind of tight spaced actually makes for a more pressurized energetic atmosphere. Of course much more happened, I made some great new friends (Onuki Sensei, Itaki Sensei, Kano Sensei, and more) plus Kenji Sato (half Japanese, half Cuban) was impressive moving from Spanish, English and Japanese fluently at the head table!

More tomorrow!



Sa said...

can i make a question?
did the canada kumite team lost to bosnia, or they had a fight with somebody else?


Sa said...

sorry, Richard.
Im from Canada. I have a friend in the canada team.
Thanks for keep us posted.

Richard said...

Cdnmen's kumite team lost their first round if I recall correctly.

Martyn said...

Hi Richard. Interested in your comments re the proposed new rules. The mienai is definitely an excuse to abdicate responsibility on the part of some judges (although of course there will be situations where the technique is genuinely out of the eyesight of a judge). I like the idea on sanbon for any technique where the opponent is on the deck. He falls, he falls, just like "real" fighting.
Any notion as to when these rules will come into effect?
Martyn Skipper

Richard said...

Hi Martyn,

Thanks for the comment. I wasn't in the official's meeting, but people who were said these changes to the rules will begin from sometime in 2009.


martyn skipper said...

cheers. good luck. stay in touch. I like this blog. I am writing a report on the championships for the UK MA press