ITKF Launches new Graduate Examinations Program at the 30th edition of the Paris Summer Camp

Consisting of the Master Course and the General Course, one of the oldest and most traditional ITKF Summer Camps received senseis, black belts and athletes from nine countries.


ITKF Summer Camp in Paris celebrated its 30th edition in style, receiving representatives from nine countries and being the launching pad for the entity’s new Graduate Examinations Program for black belts that will be implemented throughout 2023.

Members of ITKF Technical Committee: senseis Eligio Contareli, Gilberto Gaertner and Justo Gomez © ITKF

The historic event in the French capital, held from the 8th to the 11th of July at the Gymnase de La Bidassoa, consisted of the Master Course, aimed exclusively at teachers, and the General Course, basic training divided into classes for children and young people. Representatives from Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, France, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and Tunisia participated.

Summer Camp Technical Training © ITKF

Sensei Sandrine Le Corre El Marhomy, vice president of ITKF, said that the Paris Summer Camp 2023, organized by Traditional Karate Federation of France (FKT Budo France) with the support of ITKF Global, had its first edition in 1993 and on several occasions it was attended by the renowned shihan Hidetaka Nishiyama, founder of ITKF.

“In the past, we started summer training unpretentiously, but over the years the Summer Camp in Paris has gained importance and become a reference in France and throughout Europe. It is now a global event, receiving representatives from other continents and strengthening a project that dates back 30 years.”

Summer Camp Technical Training © ITKF

Sensei Sandrine, together with Dr Laura Simsolo, president of the French federation, assess that this edition of Summer Camp was very well planned and executed, thus meeting all the expectations of the organizing committee and visitors of different nationalities.

“We are happy to hold the 30th edition of the Summer Camp, one of the most important and long-lasting of the ITKF. The simple fact of being able to transmit the teachings of shihan Nishiyama to another generation of karatekas moves us a lot and impels us to continue spreading the message of one of the most brilliant minds in world karate.”

Summer Camp Technical Training © ITKF


There were four days of intensive work, totaling 27 class hours of theoretical and practical activities. Among the various contents, historical aspects of the development of traditional karate, breathing physiology, applied body dynamics, maai, un-soku, kake-waza, oji-waza and shikake-waza were addressed. The content of the new ITKF Graduate Examination Program from sho-dan to san-dan, containing the main techniques of kihon, kata and kumite, was also presented and practiced.

Summer Camp Technical Training © ITKF

ITKF Summer Camp Paris 2023 received political and sports authorities such as Epara Epency, Paris District Sports Coordinator, ITKF Shihan Kai Chairman, Shihan Dino Contarelli among others.

Summer Camp Technical Training © ITKF

On behalf of ITKF board, the shihan Gilberto Gaertner, chairman of the entity, thanked the work, effort and dedication of sensei Sandrine and the entire team of the French federation for keeping the Summer Camp active and fulfilling an educational role for so many years.

“The event was very well organized in every sense and the participation of children and teenagers in training parallel to that of the teachers was equally relevant, as it is the new generations of karateka represented here who will give continuity to traditional karate”, said the director.

Senseis Gilberto and Eligio with the new generation of karate practitioners from France © ITKF

For Gilberto Gaertner, this year’s event was particularly important for ITKF Technical Committee to develop the pilot of the new ITKF Graduate Examinations Program. “The new program is quite ambitious and is being carefully studied and developed to serve as a way to qualify and technically leverage the institution in the medium and long term. The contents of kihon, kata and kumite included in the program will require the use of the technical principles of traditional karate to its fullest extent, which will result in better technical qualifications for all affiliates, democratizing knowledge and increasing the level of demand.”

For the legendary Romanian sensei Cornel Mussat, multiple ITKF shiai kumite champion, the Summer Camp in Paris 2023 masterfully exposed the values of traditional karate. According to Mussat, this is an event that should be perpetuated as a tradition for practitioners of traditional karate-dô.

“First of all, on behalf of my colleagues from Romania present at this seminar, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to participate in this event, in which we had the pleasure of practicing and learning things that strengthen and build the spirit, mastery and values of traditional karate. I will have to come back again with great pleasure and the desire to always learn. I want to congratulate the shihans Gilberto Gaertner, Eligio Contareli, Dino Contareli and Justo Gomez for their special effort and commitment and, mainly, for sharing and transmitting to us the knowledge and experience received from our great sensei Hidetaka Nishyama, to continuously strengthen and develop the movement of traditional karate and ITKF Global.”

Epara Epency honors sensei Roman, flanked by senseis Sandrine and Laura Simsolo © ITKF

Remembering that the tradition continues, Cornel Mussat concluded by congratulating the organizers of the Summer Camp in Paris for the quality of the organization and for the excellent conditions offered at the meeting.

Slovenian sensei Roman Pavlovic, chairman of ITKF Europe, recalled that in January he had predicted that 2023 would be a year of many advances for the organization. Regarding the Master Course, he evaluates that “it is the event where you expect something more than what we all received in our usual training sessions. Once a year we try to bridge geographical distances and come together in one place to harmonize understanding of the important principles of traditional karate. ITKF Europe Master Course 2023 in Paris certainly offered MORE – from traditional karate theoretical foundation, breathing and focus exercises to the new ITKF Dan Exam Programs. It was intense, for the body and mind, but it was worth every drop of sweat. For the next year we will do everything to bring together even more masters, coaches, referees and examiners. This is the place to be!”

Hostesses and public manager Epency pay tribute to shihan Eligio Contarelli © ITKF

According to sensei Justo Gomez, a member of ITKF Technical Committee, the Paris Summer Camp 2023 was a very important moment for the entire ITKF. “Members of the Technical Committee were able to present and practice the exam program designed to unify the technical criteria of our organization. Based on the restructuring process of our entity, ITKF Graduate Examinations Program was much awaited by all affiliates, something unprecedented and very welcome in the process of technical development of traditional karate.”

Sensei Gomez receives tribute from the hostesses and Paris Sports District Coordinator © ITKF

Sensei Gomez emphasized the content of kumite based on the principles and teachings of master Hidetaka Nishiyama and based on the execution of todome-waza, oji-waza and sanshin, at different levels of demand for each degree. “The highlight is the technical aspects of the program, which are integrated and interconnected with our organization’s arbitration and competition system. The importance of ITKF Master Course is the unification of the technical criteria of its affiliates to raise the world standard of traditional karate.”

Epara Epency delivers a trophy alluding to the Summer Camp in Paris 2023 to shihan Gilberto Gaertner © ITKF

Sensei Eligio Contarelli, member of ITKF Technical Committee, also highlighted the great importance of the Summer Camp in Paris and emphasized some of the Kihon aspects that make up the new ITKF Graduate Examinations Program.

“For sho-dan (1st dan) the emphasis is on the technical basis, on firm and stable positions, on the strength applied in defenses and attacks, on the correct application of body dynamics and the pressure exerted against the ground. Its practice contributes to improving the execution of kata and forms of combined fighting, gohon, kihon ippon and jyu ippon kumite. As for ni-dan (2nd dan), it emphasizes dynamism with displacements in yori-ashi and tsugi-ashi, in addition to kicks with the front leg, in the form of kizami-geri and maeashi-geri, as well as the application of nidan enka (attack, defense, attack). As for the san-dan exam (3rd dan), the requirement is quite high, as mastery is sought in the execution of techniques through more complex combinations, unified use of the body and correct application of kime.”

Senseis, students and guests who participated in the event © ITKF

For the year 2024, due to the holding of the Olympic Games in Paris, sensei Sandrine has already announced the holding of the 31st Summer Camp in the coastal town Les Sables-d’Olonne, located on the Atlantic coast of western France.

Senseis and students who participated in the event © ITKF

Sensei Gaertner serves champagne to senseis Sandrine, Contarelli and Gomez, at the final get-together of the event © ITKF

Aerial view of Les Sables-d’Olonne, the host city of France’s Summer Camp 2024 © ITKF