Faithful follower of the teachings left by Hidetaka Nishiyama, sensei Eyal Nir is today the ITKF representative in Israel
ITKF in Israel
18 de dezembro de 2020
Por Budo writing
Tel Aviv – Israel
This week, Budo Magazine interviewed sensei Eyal Nir, the chairman of ‘Dento Karate Israel’ and founder of the BuDo-Way program. Sensei Nir is a 7th Dan at ITKF and certified judge and coach. He is a ITKF world champion and the director of the European Traditional Karate Federation (ETKF). Sensei Nir has spent more than 40 years training and teaching Traditional Karate. Moreover, he is a founder of the BuDo-Way program and author of the corresponding Amazon bestseller.
Foundation date of National Federation?
I have founded the Traditional Karate of Israel along with 2 friends back in 1991 at the request of Nishiyama sensei. Since then the organization went through various changes until the current “Dento Karate Israel”.
What was your personal relation with Master Nishiyama?
I have met Nishiyama sensei back in 1982 when I came to train for the first time at his L.A central dojo. Initially there was hardly any direct communications between us as he was the great Master and I was just a young man from Israel not even a black belt. Later on and following many visits to L.A, our relations evolved and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend quality time with him apart and additional to actual dojo training. Nishiyama sensei has visited Israel twice for conducting seminars in 1996 and 2005. I was tested for all of my black belt ranks by Nishiyama sensei until his passing. In one of my visits to L.A I mentioned to sensei I was looking for a Pokemon toy for my 5 years old son. To my amazement he purchased a Pokemon clock, I still keep today and gave it to me as a gift for my son. I also developed close relations with Aiko-san (Nishiyama sensei legendary assistant) and have spent long hours talking to her appreciating her wisdom and deep understanding of Traditional Karate. I miss them both very much.
What brought you to Traditional Karate?
I was training Karate for a few years by 1982 yet it was my friend and teacher sensei Avi Rokah who has influenced me to come to L.A in 1982 for the 1st time to discover the depth and beauty of Traditional Karate as taught by Nishiyama sensei. I still keep the letters Avi has sent me back in 1981 basically saying everything we have done during years of hard training is no more than a shallow external imitation of the ‘real Karate’ he has discovered through Nishiyama sensei. At the time I couldn’t understand the essence of his words until I came to the LA central dojo a year later and started to discover the amazing Traditional Karate path I have followed ever since.
What were the most important events at your National Federation recently?
We recently celebrated a HUGE achievement with the official recognition granted to ‘Dento Karate Israel’ by our sport ministry. This was achieved after a long and difficult process and has significant implications and potential benefits not just for our federation but for the ITKF and its members worldwide. I would like to stress that the above recognition is separate and independent of the modern Karate of WKF in Israel who initially suggested we should join under their wings. We were able to show that ITKF traditional Karate is completely separate and distinct from the WKF Karate as well as the illegality of our joining WKF while keeping our ITKF identity and rules as this is strictly forbidden by WKF as well as the ITKF statutes. I believe this is a lesson to be learned by other national federations who might be facing similar situations.
What are your Federation projects for 2021?
Working with our strategic advisor Mr. Nir Abudraham, who had significant contribution for the recently achieved recognition, we have many plans for leveraging this achievement and new status for cooperation with governmental as well as private sectors, in Israel and outside including with some of our neighbors we have recently signed a peace agreement with. We plan to become yet more active within the ITKF and consider a next World championship in Israel. We are also actively working to recruit sponsors and get more media coverage for ITKF traditional Karate. Last but not least we have many initiatives in line with ITKF “BuDo for Life” concept leveraging Traditional Karate wisdom and tools for promoting educational projects, bringing together Jews and Arabs of the region and offering relevant activities to the public at large beyond those training at our dojos and the self-defense context.
How many karateka are affiliated at your Federation?
Currently we have about 800 members. With the new recognition recently granted we are already talking to a few very big organizations who expressed clear interest in joining us so we expect significant growth in members during 2021.
How many dojos, clubs and schools are affiliated to your Federation?
We currently have 20 dojos across the country. Again with the new recognition recently granted we expect significant growth during 2021.
How do you evaluate the present moment for the Traditional Karate worldwide?
ITKF has gone through significant challenges with the passing of Nishiyama sensei and later with the WTKF initiative led by Mr. Kwiecinski. I am happy to see ITKF survived those challenges and currently is growing steadily under the visionary leadership of Prof. Gaertner and his supportive Brazilian team as well as many people worldwide committed to making ITKF great again as THE global governing body for traditional Karate.
I believe the realization WKF Karate shall not be in next Olympics opens an opportunity for us to cooperate and attract many Karate people and organizations that natively identify with Traditional Karate yet were distracted by WKF Olympics dreams and promises yet now might come back home to their native environment and path.
What are your ideas to popularize and develop Traditional Karate on a global scale, as this is the primary purpose of ITKF Constitution?
Multi-style: It is very important to make other than Shotokan people and organizations feel welcome and comfortable with ITKF. Theoretically ITKF has always been a multi-style organization yet ¬¬in the eyes of many it has been an almost exclusively Shotokan-based. I am happy to see more and more people of different styles join the ITKF as I strongly believe that in the deeper level of core principles all traditional Karate styles have much in common beyond the evident differences. Furthermore, thru openness and mutual respect the diversity among styles is a virtue and can enrich us all.
At “Dento Karate Israel” we are proud to have teachers and members of 5 different styles.
BuDo for Life: ITKF should further develop and apply this concept worldwide as it serves as a bridge between our art and the public at large enabling the ITKF to attract, connect and cooperate with many organizations, companies, institutes, communities, the media… beyond those directly interested in the self-defense aspects as they realize how they can significantly benefit from Traditional Karate treasure of knowledge when applied as 21st century “tools for life”.
I personally have a lot of experience applying this concept through my BuDo-Way program (https://www.budo-way.com) and corresponding Amazon bestseller (“Breakthrough in Business and Life – the BuDo-Way”) by now delivered to many thousands worldwide.
The BuDo-Way program serves as a bridge making BuDo (Traditional Japanese martial arts) centuries-accumulated treasure of knowledge accessible for participants to leverage and apply in their everyday life and business endeavors.
BuDo mental, physical and philosophical principles are explored, revealed and linked to 21st life to be implemented within our everyday routine.
Unlike the ’new Karate’ focusing on the sport-competition-winning aspects of Karate the ITKF should stress the educational ‘BuDo for Life’ side and strongly promote it worldwide.