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Karate in the Olympics Part 2 Karate and Apartheid

In part one we tried to explain the idealogical battles that were festering between the elite of the Japanese karate and the other members of the JKA. It is important to understand this as many of the expansion program for karate to the world outside Japanese started with this organisation. In this quest to expand many senior instructors were sent as envoys to different parts of the world. The Japanese karate group under the JKA also started forging relationship with many undesirable groups, like the Apartheid Government of South Africa, as Japan had a very favourable relationship with the Apartheid regime for economic and other reasons. Karate was an important sport for the Apartheid regime and it supported the JKA group very seriously and many South African JKA members were part of the Apartheid security structure. Many South African Karate-ka were allowed open access to the JKA headquarters and many South African karate-ka became prominent in the JKA because of this. In the meantime many indigenous South Africans that were not considered “White” we excluded from participation in this sport. A law was passed to exclude blacks from dojos and the government even went so far as stating ” That Karate was detrimental to be taught to Black people”, this was a statement made in 1968 by a serving Minister in the Apartheid Government. Dojos in South Africa were classified as White or Black dojos and the karate taught was different, advanced for whites and a form of rudimentary karate for Blacks,karate-ka could not mix, otherwise if they did they were prosecuted. Team that represented South Africa were reserved for White karate-ka ONLY, any black karate-ka was excluded an not allowed to earn National South African honours or colours, a case in point is Gen Popham, a person classified in the Apartheid South Africa as a coloured person, a person of mixed race, he was selected as he won the South African Nationals and beat all his opponents and was denied the selection or honours as he was considered black. Many prominent Japanese instructors on they way to expanding karate to other parts of the world first stopped in South Africa before going on to other prominent locations. Many organisations also expanded from South Africa to other parts of the world. An example is the first group of instructor including prominent karate-ka such as Kanazawa, Shirai, Kaze, Enoeda travelled to Apartheid South Africa first before dispersing into Europe where they went on to become legends in their own right, they only taught white karate-ka and were denied teaching black karate-ka and all blacks were excluded by law from teaching the black majority. This is one of the reason that the white karate-ka where given technical preference and political preference in the JKA and other organisation. Secondly, example is the spread of Shukokai under Shigero Kumira, his first stop after Japan was South Africa and then to the United Kingdom and America. Today the prominent leaders in Shukokai are South African. Another example is the IOGKF of Morio Higashionna, first expaned into South Africa and then to Europe. Again only teaching white karate-ka. In the World Union of Karate Organization (WUKO) now World Karate Federation (WKF) the same practices prevailed and white Apartheid South Africa was given preference over the black majority. In 1982 in the WUKO World Championship in Taiwan the a South African white team entered to participate at this championship. WUKO wanted to allow this team to participate but after much pressure from the African members, the Anti Apartheid Movement and the United Nations. A vote was held and the vote was won by 4 votes against allowing a white Apartheid team to participate. All the socialist and communist country stood by Black South Africa against the Apartheid Government. In 1976 in Long Beach a South African all white team was allowed to participate by WUKO and at the same time a IAKF tournament was held in the USA and the IAKF refused South Africa to participate. It was WUKO that turned this around and blamed the IAKF as allowing a team to participate when they were the perpetrators, it was at this Taiwan Congress that the Unification of karate was starting to take its position. A Confederation was created to try to get karate accepted by 1992 into the Olympic Movement and into the future Olympic Games. Unification was paramount and the WUKO and IAKF attempted to get this started. But WUKO was not interested in unification but rather usurping IAKF into the WUKO. I was very instrumental in lobbying Apartheid Karate’s exclusion as the United Nations had passed a resolution at its Gleneagles meeting that sanctions should be imposed on Apartheid South Africa in all areas including Sport. A black-list was created and those that had ties with South Africa were sanctioned. This did not stop the Japan and some elements within WUKO, they continued to have relationship with Apartheid South Africa. The team that was rejected by the WUKO in Taiwan in 1982, was invited by the JKA to come to Japan and participate in a created international friendly between South Africa and Japan. Taiwan also had very close and important ties with Apartheid South Africa and they allowed a rebel team to take part outside the world championship in another created international tournament between South Africa and Taiwan. So one can conclude that this practice of underhandedness and impunity started in the 1970’s and the networks and relationship continues until today. This is part of the reason the World Karate Federation is viewed in such a bad light by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), its constitution is very close to a Nazi or fascist ideology. White supremacist and non democratic practices and ideologies are encouraged to the detriment of democracy and karate unity and development have been a modus operandi since the formation of the World Union of Karate Organization and the other international organisations that started at this time. . In part three we will outline the break in relationship between the IAKF and France and the Japanese backing of the European Agenda.

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