World Karate Federation
|Founded||October 10, 1970|
|President||Antonio Espinos of Spain|
The World Karate Federation (WKF) is the largest international governing body of sport karate with over 130 member countries. It was formed in 1990 and is the only karate organization recognised by the International Olympic Committee and has more than ten million members. The WKF organizes the Junior and Senior Karate World Championships, which are each held every other year. The President of the WKF is Antonio Espinos, and the headquarters are located in Madrid, Spain. The styles recognised by the WKF are Gōjū-ryū, Shitō-ryū, Shotokan and Wadō-ryū.
Karate was introduced into Europe around the 1950s by Japanese masters, mainly from the Japan Karate Association (JKA). In 1961, Jacques Delcourt was appointed President of French Karate, which was at that stage an associated member of the Judo Federation. In 1963 he invited the six other known European federations (Italy, Great Britain, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Spain) to come to France for the first-ever international karate event, and Great Britain and Belgium accepted the invitation.
In December of that year, six of the seven federations gathered in Paris, in what was to be the first European Karate Congress, with the aim of improving and organising karate tournaments between their countries. It was noted that the unification of the different karate styles was impossible, and so they decided to unify the refereeing.
By 1965 the European Karate Union was created, with Jacques Delcourt was voted in as President. The following year the first European Karate Championships were held, in Paris. The event drew roughly three hundred spectators and was shown on live TV; however, it drew criticisms for being too violent as there were many face injuries. The EKU council had differing opinions about the source of the injuries, with opinions ranging from excessive rules violations to lack of conditioning and blocking skill. This problem was addressed in some part at the first referee course, held in Rome. Here, the refereeing rules were harmonised using the JKA rules as a basis.
In 1970, the International Karate Union (IKU) was formed by Jacques Delcourt in an effort to organise karate at world level. Upon hearing this, Ryoichi Sasakawa, President of the Federation of All Japan Karatedo Organization (FAJKO), traveled to France to discuss the creation of an international governing body. The IKU was quickly disbanded and a new organisation was formed between the EKU and the Japanese federation, and was called the World Union of Karate-do Organizations (WUKO).
WUKO tried to unify with the International Traditional Karate Federation (ITKF) in 1990 to form the WKF; however, this attempt failed and the WUKO group left to form the WKF on their own.
In the early 1990s, Hidetaka Nishiyama's refusal to align his ITKF organization with the World Union of Karate-Do Organizations (WUKO) caused the International Olympic Committee to suspend its recognition of WUKO as amateur karate's international governing body. The ITKF and WUKO had been due to merge and form a unified karate organization, but this did not eventuate. The WUKO eventually became the World Union of Karate-Do Federations in late 2008.
Competition and events
- team kata with bunkai
WKF / WUKO Karate World Championships
|1975||Long Beach, California||United States|
|1996||Sun City||South Africa|
|1998||Rio de Janeiro||Brazil|
Recognized Karate Federations
- European Karate Federation
- Asian Karatedo Federation
- African Karate Federation - Karate South Africa
- Oceanian Karate Federation
- Panamerican Karate Federation
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