In this interview, ITKF chairman Gilberto Gaertner tells how the pandemic contributed to building solutions that will be used from now on
October 31, 2020
By PAULO PINTO I Photos DISCLOSURE
Curitiba – PR
On Sunday (25) the International Traditional Karate Federation held its 2nd Global Seminar, an event that brought together representatives of the entity from approximately 70 countries. In the evaluation of Sensei Gilberto Gaertner, chairman of (ITKF), the repercussion of the virtual event was excellent. The leader pointed out that at the media level, this edition surpassed the previous one in quantitative and qualitative levels.
“The second virtual event achieved good technical quality, and several differentials marked our evolution in the area of digital communication, reaching a much wider audience. Without a doubt, we surpassed all the objectives set for this seminar ”, celebrated the chairman of ITKF.
The leader recalled that, historically, the ITKF has had closer contact with traditional Okinawan karate styles, of which Kata Kitei is a concrete example. It was developed in the early 1990s by masters Nishiyama (Shotokan), Mabuni (Shito Ryu) and Kisaki (Goju Ryu).
“Over time,” explained Gaertner, “the Shotokan style was predominant in the institution, while the presence of other styles decreased. The resumption of the exchange with Okinawa materialized in this meeting with the presence of the master Tsuguo Sakumoto, who kindly answered our invitation. This dialogue is very important in both the historical and the technical sense. We created a commission called ITKF Karate and Kobudô, made up of Sensei Maroli, Vazquez and Gomez, who mediated contact with Okinawa and are developing several collaborative actions. ”
Another striking fact was the presence of shihan Tasuke Watanabe, who recently underwent surgical procedures and yet showed vigor and strength in the virtual meeting. Gaertner explained where the renowned Brazilian Shihan gets so much energy from:
“Master Watanabe is a unique person and has a unique strength. After several months of chemotherapy, he underwent radical surgery, and is still in the recovery phase. On the visit that sensei Sérgio Bastos and I made to record the class presented at the seminar we found a samurai fighting for his life. He dedicates himself entirely to treatment and other health care as if he were preparing for a world championship. Our idea was that he would present a kata and talk a little about karate, but it went much further: he did three katas and the application. Undoubtedly, he is a great example of overcoming, determination and persistence. It is a real expression of karate applied to life: Budô for Life ”.
Gaertner detailed the importance of kobudô as a practice and as a dô: it is an element that integrates a large part of the traditional karate styles of Okinawa and is part of the culture and history of the Ryukyu archipelago. “Closer contact with these schools brings kobudô to the fore with all its variety of weapons: bō, sai, eku, kama, tinbe-rochin, tekko, nunchaku and tonfa. It is a vast field of knowledge to be studied and that complements and integrates with the various local karate styles. At the seminar, katas with bō and kama were presented by students of Master Sakumoto and also kihon and attack and defense techniques with bō by sensei Maroli, who is part of the Okinawa Karate and Kobudô Commission. ”
The director gave special emphasis to the kata presentation of sensei Martinna and the work of sensei Musat on kumite.
“In the first seminar, the conceptual part and the technical basis of traditional karate were addressed. In this second, we make room for two world champions that integrate two important commissions, that of athletes (Musat) and Hara woman (Martinna). Sensei Martinna was the first woman to teach at an official ITKF event and worked very well on the principles and techniques of kata kitei, which is only used in traditional karate and requires great technical skill. Sensei Musat, although he is no longer acting as an athlete, showed vigor, strength and elasticity in a great class on kumite techniques and fundamentals. ”
The ITKF chairman understands that this year’s adversities were and are being very impactful. “We canceled all the face-to-face events of our organization this year and, thinking about the safety of our members, we are still going to study and adjust the 2021 calendar. But we face difficulties as challenges and generate different and creative responses and solutions. We’ve never worked so hard. During the pandemic our organization grew, took shape and became stronger. We still have two months to go, but I say it was the best year of our management so far. ”
Gaertner also highlighted the advances in his administration. “Based on the excellent work done by our team, we are restructuring the entire administrative and documentary area via our new management system developed by the innovation and technology committee. We re-registered the affiliated countries and now we will re-register all black belts, referees, coaches and examiners. This information will be available on the institutional website. Financial management is also fully transparent and has already united the treasury, the secretariat and the general board. We are advancing in the integration of all areas in a computerized way and with transparency at all levels. ”
The leader emphasized that, even with the pandemic that affected all continents, all the goals set for the season were achieved.
“I am going to tell a story that happened in 2018 on a trip to Europe. On a visit to a renowned European karate leader, during a relaxed conversation, he joked with me saying: Ah, now you are going to fly the Titanic. I also casually replied: In two or three years I will visit you again with the ITKF taking off, not sinking. Jokes aside, I can say that it’s been a very productive year, thanks to our excellent work team. This year we were able to reinstate ITKF as a globally recognized and respected institution. We increased the number of members, exceeding the annual target, we managed to hold numerous remote meetings of the technical and administrative committees, we launched the new institutional portal, we published three news letters, we held two global seminars and we will have one more in December. ”
Gaertner also mentioned the creation of several commissions – communication and marketing, innovation and technology, athletes, hara woman, socio-educational, karate and kobudô from Okinawa – and the creation of the Traditional Warriors. “We will hold a general meeting remotely at the end of November, and we will have many more news in 2021”, he promised.
To Budô, the manager said that ITKF will start hybrid courses (EAD and on-site) for training instructors, referees, technicians and examiners through ITKF Traditional Karate University. “Still under the auspices of the university, we intend to implement the ITKF socio-educational project on a global level. We will continue to invest in institutional dissemination, using all available media, we will reissue the competition rules book and we will produce didactic material in the form of video and e-book. We will implement digital certificates using QRcode to streamline the issuing and sending process and we intend to strengthen regional federations (Africa, Asia / Oceania, Europe and Pan-American). ”
ITKF has scheduled an official visit to Japan, to formalize partnerships and exchanges already underway, in which the board and all interested members will participate. The competition schedule will be adjusted according to the evolution of the pandemic at the global level.
Gaertner said that in the midst of the pandemic, innovations emerged that came to stay in the context of business, pedagogical and sports management. “The limitations imposed by the crisis favored our management process. We have never been able to hold so many meetings and integrate so many people; apps like Zoom and the like contributed a lot to our institution. The learning we are experiencing with the remote seminars is being very great and will serve as a reference for training courses in the blend (mixed) format. Technology was the great ally of this moment of difficulty and a moment of learning that we are living. ”
The ITKF aims to attract a broad audience to its ranks, according to Gaertner. “We want to attract younger people, but also the elderly and women. The intensive use of digital media and a more current language has helped a lot, not to mention that classes with instructors and younger athletes have become a great attraction. Another resource was the development of Traditional Warriors, characters who present the essence of traditional karate in a more informal and relaxed way. ”
Drawing a parallel between ITKF and WKF, the director noted that the entities are not competitors because they present different proposals and objectives. “Contrary to what many people think, I never saw WKF and sports karate as our competitors. They are very different proposals. It is a large organization that fulfills the purposes they have defined very well. Congratulations to them for what they have built and achieved. ITKF, on the other hand, has a different view of karate and is aimed at self-defense, motor and cognitive improvement and the strengthening of physical and mental health, guided by a culture of peace, sustainability, well-being and quality of life. ”
Sensei Gaertner concluded the interview with Budô by analyzing the reason for the ITKF’s rapid growth in such a short time. “The great differential that we have today is our team and the integration of the great family of traditional karate. Previous disagreements have been replaced by dialogue and the search for solutions. Our closest working group is composed of excellent professionals and we form an elite troop. Our committees and commissions are made up of highly qualified people and everyone works for institutional strengthening and not for personal advantages and to polish the ego. We created a strong egregore, a very solid master mind. In short, we form a cohesive team, with clear goals, a lot of determination and commitment, which make all the difference. ”