International Traditional Karate Federation Director Committee presents the 2023 calendar and continental leaders reveal their expectations for this season
BY PAULO PINTO / GLOBAL SPORTS
JANUARY 31, 2023 / CURITIBA (PR)
After the institution experienced a year of expansion and strong global consolidation in 2022, Gilberto Gaertner, Chairman of ITKF, explains the criteria observed in the preparation of the 2023 calendar.
“Our calendar for 2023 presents a balance between technical courses and competitions, covering the four continents and already reflecting the effective action of regional leaders. Among the various technical activities we will have the Master Course, taught by the ITKF Technical Committee, scheduled for Europe (France), Africa (Egypt), Asia/Oceania (Uzbekistan) and South America (Brazil). There will also be a technical seminar in partnership with the International Karate Teachers Academy at Pitzer College, in Claremont (CA), in the United States.
Among the main sporting events of the season, Gaertner highlights ITKF Europe championship, which will be held in Portugal, while ITKF Africa will have continental event in Egypt and ITKF Asia/Oceania, in Uzbekistan. ITKF Panamerican will promote the dispute in Brazil. In addition, there will be the World Cup in Uzbekistan and an Interclub World Cup also in Brazil, making the calendar robust and well distributed geographically. ITKF chairman adds that the entity is finalizing the offer of online courses and events to complement the 2023 activities.
See below how the top managers of the four regional federations evaluate what was accomplished in 2022 and their projections for 2023.
Ramy El Mekawi, Chairman of ITKF Africa, highlights the XXI World Cup held in Slovenia in 2022, a very high-level event in all aspects, organizational and technical, which took place magnificently. “I congratulate the organizers and thank all those responsible for this great event.” He expects 2023 to be a great season too, especially after the continental federation elections.
“Each continental federation wants to serve its member countries and develop the technical aspects of all of them, organizing systematic and strong events and activities”, evaluates Ramy El Mekawi, citing the Master Courses, in which the technical aspects will have a high degree of importance, programmed for each continent. Regarding ITFK Africa, he intends to achieve all objectives following priority criteria and considers the most important to promote traditional karate in all countries of the continent and work hard to affiliate new members.
Roman Pavlovic, Chairman of ITKF Europe, recalls that 2022 was the first post-pandemic year, which allowed the practice of karate and the holding of face-to-face global events. “Over the past year, the ITKF’s obvious progress has started to show in different ways. The number of members continues to increase, all regional organizations remain active and the level of participation is very high in events, all organized at the highest level, not to mention the harmony between the various members”. For Pavlovic, it is always a joy to see his karate friends again and the face-to-face meetings are important for the people who voluntarily work in each region.
In 2023 the European leader is sure that ITKF will not only become stronger as a global organization and that many of its members will prove their competence as organizers of global and regional meetings. “This year, at least 11 countries will host events to support the development of traditional karate in many aspects, from technical seminars and summer camps to judges and masters courses, where the best of the best of the ITKF will come together. This will culminate in regional championships, where all of us – competitors, referees; technicians and organizers – we will be able to show our progress in all areas. It will be a great year.”
Pavlovic believes that when the right things are done with the right people and in the right way, the result becomes visible to everyone who seeks excellence. “Individuals and entities intensely seeking a serious global karate organization have begun to approach ITKF with a desire to join us. I hope this trend intensifies so that ITKF grows not only in quality but also in numbers.”
Like other regional organizations, ITKF Europe’s main focus will be on supporting the development of its members. “Each region has its specificities – cultural, financial, organizational – and we must find a way, within these limits, to support the development of current members and attract new entities from countries where we are not yet represented. And not only will they start practicing traditional karate based on ITKF standards, but they will also contribute to the progress of everyone else.”
The culmination of ITKF Europe activities will be the 35th European Championships in Portugal, in which all members will come together with the aim of learning from each other and enjoying the art of traditional karate with their friends. “I can’t wait for it,” says Pavlovic. “Our regional members, however, will have many opportunities to contribute and learn in all areas of traditional karate, such as summer camp and regional judge courses. We will also strongly support global events such as the seminar in the United States and the World Cup in Uzbekistan.”
The achievements of 2022, which surpassed all previous ones, are the result of the hard and organized collective work that characterizes ITKF brand, guarantees Ibrahim Al Bakr, Chairman ITKF Asia/Oceania. In particular, he highlights the World Championship in Slovenia, with the participation of more than 30 countries under the motto “The Traditional Continues”.
“ITKF ended its year with regional and international elections parallel to the World Championship in Slovenia, which resulted in the restructuring of the regional federations to start the work of spreading traditional karate around the world through regional and global courses and events ”, explains Ibrahim Al Bakr. “Therefore, we expect this year 2023 to be a continuation of the traditional karate achievements achieved in 2022.”
ITKF Federation of Traditional Karate Asian and Oceanic is an official regional organization of ITKF, composed of the members of ITKF Asian and Arab National Federation and open to all styles of karate recognized by ITKF. As such, assures the director, it intends to contribute to the improvement of human character, popularizing and developing traditional karate in accordance with the rules of ITKF, promoting and strengthening friendly relations between all its member countries.
For Antonio Walger, ITKF Pan-America Chairman, the 2022 season marked the end of restrictions due to the pandemic and, as a result of permanently maintained interactions with affiliates, it was possible to experience the resumption of excellent face-to-face events. “The 2022 season ended with one of the best organizations in world championships, recording the massive presence of member countries and marking the beginning of the use of technology at the service of event organizers.”
The Pan-American leader believes that 2023 will be marked as a great year of solidification and growth for ITKF, which has already started with new affiliations and the promise of an ever-increasing presence on the world stage. “It will really be a different year for our institution”, says Walger. “We believe that the proposals for revising the regulation, one of the guidelines being the inclusion of technology as an auxiliary tool, will bring even more reliability and agility to our championships, as well as the various seminars should attract and improve the knowledge content of our members.”
In 2023, ITKF Pan-America will open its calendar with the Panamerican Goshin Seminar, seeking to bring information and technical knowledge to affiliates. Another important point to highlight is the entry of new members, increasingly strengthening the institution. “We will have in the United States, in collaboration with the Italian IKTA, a seminar that, in addition to great technical content, will pay tribute to the great masters who influenced the knowledge of karate that we practice today. Still for 2023, we are planning the Pan American championship, which will feature a seminar and a world interclub tournament, open to all associations from all regions.”