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Keeping with Tradition
An increasing number of karate organizations have established weight classes and a point system for tournaments, giving karate a sport-like status. In fact, more and more, the art of karate is being made into a popular competitive sport. Some people hope to make it part of the Olympics, just like judo or Taekwondo.

At Shotokan World Karate, we're not opposed to this trend, but we are concerned by what it presages for the future of karate. We believe that "sportifying" karate is incompatible with its true spirit; it keeps the form to an extent, but discards the essence. True karate is a way of life, not a sport or competition.

The purpose of a competition (kyogi) is to win. So there are weight classifications to make it more "fair," and a rule-based point system for keeping score. The problem is that those rules are often arbitrarily changed.

But not at the Shotokan World Karate. Our tournaments are all shiai ("matches"). The goal is not to win, but to pit one's skills against another's, thereby testing one's progress and techniques. Shotokan World Karate ultimately attempts to defeat the opponent with one blow. Either you down the opponent or the opponent downs you; there are no points to be gained along the way. Each match has a clear "winner," but winning itself is not the final objective. The only goal is to apply one's finest skills to the best of one's ability. This is our way.

What is the future of Shotokan World Karate?
Shotokan World Karate will never changed its fundamentals or rules. The inseparable trinity -kihon, kata and kumite, leading to kime - remain essentially unchanged, although constantly refined. Shotokan World Karate is completely natural, not arbitrarily crafted for use in a point-based match.

As the Keeper of Karate's Highest Tradition, we will continue to pass on the full power and the full depth of the spiritual dimensions that underlie our art. Our tournaments shall remain as shiai, opportunities for each individual karate-ka to test his or her progress. And we will continue with our mission to ensure that the true essence of karate-do is understood and practiced throughout the world.


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