All Karate loving people most probaly have now received the news that before even appearing in its first Olympic participation, Karate has been enclosed from the 2024 Paris Olympics. This has never happened before, most sports are given at least two appearances before they are excluded. The other 4 sports which we included with karate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Game are still retained, so what is the problem?
In my humble opinion karate is rather disunited and the arrogance of the World Karate Federation and especially the underhanded and dictatorial manner of its President has always been a stumbling block for karate to be a major force with the Olympic movement, the second issue is the competition of karate is looking more and more like Tekwondo and to sort looking very similar to the untrained causes a dilemma for the IOC, thirs is the fact that the only reason karate was included in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is that Japan paid for its inclusion, because of a powerful individual in Mr. Sasagawa and because it has a culture heritage with Japan. Although the majority of the Okinawa Karate fraternity are not part of the Japan Karate Federation (JKF), the affiliate of the World Karate Federation (WKF). Okinawa is considered the birthplace of karate and many of its senior leaders are not entirely happy the way karate is developing or portrayed today.
I together with many others were very instrumental in getting karate accepted back into the Olympic Movement in 1996, after a feud between the then World Union of Karate Organization (WUKO) and International Traditional Karate Federation, forced the International Olympic Committee to terminate the membership of the WUKO, because of a very serious issue of unity in karate. After much discussion and consultation the IOC developed a constitution which asked both bodies to created a new organization the World Karate Federation. Due to machination and very underhanded practices the WUKO unilaterally changed its name and usurped the unity process and blamed the whole process on the ITKF, there is some truth to this as the relationship between both organization was not a the best. It took a great deal of unbiased and fair treatment from impartial individuals to get the both parties to agree on a roadmap called the joint Working Commission, appointed by both bodies and endorsed by the IOC. It was this historic unity agreement signed in Osaka between the two feuding bodies that pushed the IOC to give provisional recognition to World Karate Federation (which was to include both bodies). This happened during the Atlanta Olympic Games. It must be stated that at this time Mr. Espinos the ow President of WKF was not involved in this process or normalization of karate’s membership back to the IOC.
But once this was achieved we saw a different group led by Espinos,bent on taking power away from the Jacques Delcourt faction, and implementing a purge strategy of getting rid of all individual that successfully got karate back its recognition or anyone that had a intellectual memory of the previous WUKO. A very concerned effort by a group led by Espinos started pushing for the removal of Delcourt and his faction. At the Congress of Granda in 1992, the die was set for this strategy to take effect as the host of this this competition was Spain and Espinos as its President. The actual start6egy came to the fore when the 1994 Kota Kinabalu Congress was held, Delcourt did not appear and he gave a explaining that he was ill and that an unknown Espinos, should chair the meeting. Ignoring all other senior members of WUKO, Fritz Wendland, George Popper, Adnan
Cateriski. George Anderson, Nader Sherif, and other senior individuals who had many more years of experience were sidelined and the Espinos group started the implementation of their startegy to take over the WUKO. It was at this Congress that I was elected the Vice President and so was Espinos we were the same level of seniority. But, I refused to be controlled by the Espinos faction and this started the conflict. In Espinos modus modes operandi you must be totally subservient to the Espinos (the Boos or sometimes things he is the Pope) and you must act as a cardinal without question anything that does not suit his opinion or direction. If one scans back to history one will see how systematically he has eliminated everyone of those that challenged or differed with him. The last episode was when his closest ally and one who did most of his dirty bidding, Geroge Yerolimpos was kick out of the WKF for differing with Espinos approach to the Olympic staregy and the spending of valuable resources with hand picked Spanish companies, who many say are extraction machines for Espinos. Espinos was civil engineer and worked as a General manager in a Spanish Construction company with no prospect of promotion. Today he is Executive President that works full-time for the WKF, where does he get the money to survive? There are many rumors about how he has very craftily installed his own group through the world that does his business bidding in many avenues of the WKF procurement and qualification. The carrot and stick method is used and Espinos is always the benefactor of this spoils.
This practice has been known by the IOC and they don’t like scandals and especially regarding a sport that is the Olympic program, this is their most valuable asset and they will allow it to be tarnished by a insignificant and non money producing sport like karate. So today after much hard work karate is back to where it was before, it is going to be difficult to get back in the Olympic program, and in my humble opinion the ONLY way to get this back on track is to unify all karate irrespective from why and what approach and fair development of all countries, without the corruption of the last Olympic exercise, were is cost between $35 000 to $40 000 per year to be even considered for selection, also it is imperative that you are ranked and from a Espinos friendly country.
It is a sad day for karate but maybe it is for the better of the sport and art that it was excluded because it was allowed to continue the arrogance and underhandedness would have continued.