Commemorating exactly one month in which the finals of The 2nd Okinawa Karate World 第 2 回 沖縄 空 手 国 際 大 会 Tournament were held in Okinawa, after two days of qualifying and one more day of the main tournament, which saw the crowning of a new generation of dedicated and talented practitioners of Okinawan Karate, who despite the global contingency, demonstrated an indomitable fighting spirit and perseverance, values that are rooted in the depths of Okinawan Karate.
We leave below some words and impressions that will always fall short to convey the sensations that the karate community had the opportunity to experience during those days.
Before moving on to the review, we once again extend our deep gratitude to the entire Executive Committee of the 2nd World Tournament, Okinawa Prefecture, and to each of the volunteers who contribute with their efforts to make this another memorable experience for those who had the opportunity to participate.
Okinawa, Naha, August 2022
As of March 31, 2020, the statistics released by Karate Kaikan indicated that Karate is present in 193 countries and regions, with around 130 million enthusiasts around the world where at least 60 million are active practitioners of this martial art originated in Okinawa, where to date, between 350 to 400 dojos and around 10,000 active practitioners can be traced.
The current flagship project of listing Okinawan Karate at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, led by the Okinawa Prefecture Culture, Tourism and Sport Department Karate Promotion Division, joins the systematic effort developed by Karate Kaikan to promote, develop, preserve and spread this martial art that day after day adds more followers.
Among the projects sponsored by the Okinawa Prefecture (such as the Okinawa Karate international seminars, Okinawa Karate research project, The demonstration for “Karate no Hi” – Karate day on October 25) the realisation of the World Tournament continues to occupy an important space as a platform for promotion, recruitment and exchange between the participants. For this reason “The 2nd Okinawa Karate World Tournament”第2回沖縄空手国際大会 began on August 1 through August 9, despite the global contingency which undoubtedly impacted the travel from the attendants from overseas.
Around 830 participants, from 27 different countries, competed in kata of various styles in the adult division, to which were added the more than 1,360 participants of the 1st Okinawa Karate World Junior Tournament, an event that took place alongside the World Tournament this year.
Hosted by the 2nd Okinawa Karate World Tournament Executive Committee 沖縄空手実行委員会, the Okinawa Prefecture 沖縄県 and the Okinawa Dento Karatedo Shinkokai 沖縄伝統空手道振興会, the event aims to promote the entirety of the Okinawan traditional karate and kobudō. Seminars were held with the participation of around 840 participants, who had the opportunity to learn and appreciate the teachings of each of the selected masters in each style.
OKINAWa 2022: The Tournament Environment
Okinawa Times Newspaper – August 1st, 2022
“After years, the wait is finally over. The 2nd Okinawa Karate World Tournament and the 1st Okinawa Karate World Junior tournament will commence from august 1st to the 9 th. From the first day, masters who hold the Okinawa Prefecture-Designated Intangible Cultural Property “Okinawa Karate and Kobujutsu” will offer an inaugural demonstration at the “Special Dojo” of the Okinawa Karate Kaikan in the morning. In the afternoon, the opening ceremony will take place at the Okinawa Prefectural Budokan, where a total of around 670 participants will later have the chance to perform and exhibit their karate. On the end and the 3rd, the Junior World Tournament will be held at the Okinawa Prefectural Budokan and the Okinawa Karate Kaikan. There will be four divisions: Shuri/Tomari-te, Naha-te, Uechi-ryu and Kobudō.
After preliminary rounds for participantes form overseas, mainland Japan and remote island of Okinawa, the qualifiers will enter the main rounds. The awards and closing ceremonies will follow the final rounds.
For the Okinawa World Tournament, there will be 5 divisions. On the 4th and the 5th, the preliminary rounds for overseas, mainland Japan and remote island in Okinawa will be held. The Shuri/Tomari-te and Kobudō (Bō-Sai) divisions and the Uechi-Ryu and Naha-te divisions will be held respectively at the Okinawa Prefectural Budokan and Okinawa Karate Kaikan.
The tournament consisting in the last 16 will span from the 6th to the 7th. All divisions will complete their final rounds at the Prefectural Budokan on the 7th, where will be held the awards and closing ceremonies in the end.
On the 8th, the masters of each style will be invited to the “Okinawa Karate Seminar” for participants to get a taste of authentic karate”
TOP INTERVIEW, Okinawa Times.
The 2021 elected to the House of Representatives for Okinawa District 2, spoke about the current contingency in which the planning and development of the 2nd Okinawa World Karate Tournament took place.
In recent years, many around the world have faced hardships due various factors, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Yet it was needed in such hard times is an unyelding spirit, a quality that rest upon the core values of Okinawan Traditional Karate.
Thus it is hope that karate practitioners and enthusiast, around 130 million worldwide, will gather at the birthplace of karate, the “martial art of peace”, and fully experience both the spiritual and technical aspects that our founders have stablished.
Incidentally, as Okinawa saw the 50th anniversary of its reversion to Japan this year, the World Tournament seeks to be a place where participants can mingle and connect with fellow karatekas and gain deeper insight into the birthplace of karate. The Junior Wold Tournament will be held for the first time this year as well. It should be inspiring for the youth and the executive committee will take preventive measures in order to organise safe and secure tournaments.
The largest tournament where all the karate styles meet, The World Tournament will appraise the mans of preserving, transmitting and promoting traditional Okinawan karate. We also hope to make it an event that will push forward the registration of Okinawan karate in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.Kunio Arakaki
Social Democratic Representative
for Okinawa District 2, elected in 2021
THE 8 INTANGIBLE CULTURAL ASSET HOLDERS 無形文化財, mukei bunkazai
It is well known that in Japan “Intangible Cultural Property” (無形文化財 Mukei Bunkazai according to the law) refers to those arts that have a high historical or artistic value for the country and the national government designates as the holder/s of these Important Intangible Cultural Property individuals or groups who have achieved advanced mastery of the technique of this Important Intangible Cultural Asset, in order to guarantee the transmission of traditional art. The recognition of the holders can be individual, collective or a group.
In 1997, Okinawa Prefecture designated “Okinawa Karate & Kobujūtsu” an intangible cultural property and certified three prominent authorities as holders. After that, 6 people were certified in 2000, 5 people in 2013 and 6 people in 2020. Now eight, excluding the deceased, are still making efforts to develop their great culture.
- Masahiro Nakamoto – Okinawa Dento Kobudō ( Shinken Taira kei) Hanshi, 10th Dan.
- Kotaro Iha – Kobudō Hanshi 10th Dan
- Morio Higaonna – Goju ryū, Supreme Shihan
- Seikishi Iha – Shorin ryū, Hanshi 10th Dan
- Masanari Kikugawa – Goju ryū, Hanshi 10th Dan
- Tsutomu Nakahodo – Uechi ryū, Hanshi 10th Dan
- Morinobu Maeshiro – Okinawa Shorin ryū, Hanshi 10th Dan
- Shintoku Takara – Uechi ryū, Hanshi 10th Dan
The Okinawa Prefecture is sponsoring The 2nd Okinawa Karate World Tournament in order to promote traditional Okinawa Karate and the future of this ancient martial art, by creating an opportunity for Okinawan karate enthusiast from all over the world to gather and interact with each other at the “birthplace of karate“, as well as properly preserving and passing on the techniques and spirit of Okinawa Karate, which we inherited from our predecessors who systematised its practice.
Several events were carried out within the frame of the tournament such as the Enbukai – public demonstrations-, seminars, opening and closing ceremonies, exchange meetings and the tournament itself. The latter maintained the same categories for each division that were used in the first version held in 2018.
- Juniors Male – Juniors Female 少年男子 – 少年女子 (newly implemented in 2022)
- Adults I Male/Female 成年Ⅰ男子 – 成年Ⅰ女子
- Adults II Male/Female 成年Ⅱ男子 – 成年Ⅱ女子
- Seniors Male/Female シニア男子. – シニア女子
Recognised as a powerful platform to capture the attention of the world and promote the values inherent in the practice of Karate, on this occasion it has allowed all of us who enjoy the practice of Karate in Okinawa to learn valuable life lessons, at the hands of two great and honorable competitors.
In the record below, captured by Ageisho Japan, you can see the Passai Sho kata executed by Yashiaki Kohagura, 70 years old Shorin Ryū Hanshi, 9th Dan, who in 1994 lost his eyesight. Despite what we can all recognize as a hard blow of life, in an event like this we have been fortunate to see how the world of excuses for not doing something can be subjected to nothing after seeing such an act of overcoming and courage.
The second moment was carried out by 90 years old Yoshitoshi Sato sensei, Shorinji Ryū – Seishinkan Karate do Renmei, who despite prevailing contemporary beliefs, presented an inspiring Sesan kata within the framework of the qualifying rounds for competitors from remote island of Okinawa, mainland Japan and Overseas – Senios Male シニア男子 division.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FIVE DIVISIONS: Naha-te, Shūri/Tomari-te, Uechi Ryū & Kobudō 那覇手系の部, 首里・泊手系の部, 上地流系の部, 古武道 (サイ – 棒)
NAHA-TE; is based upon the Chinese martial art that spread to Kume Village, which Kanryo Higashionna taught to his pupils after he studied in Fuzhou, China. His direct descendant Miyagi Chojun, founded Goju-ryu and the katas are characterised by their emphasis on physical strength.
SHURI/TOMARI-TE; Shuri-te developed in Shuri首里 during the days of the Ryukyu kingdom and was passed on from Matsumura Sokon to Anko Itosu. His pupil, Chochin Chibana founded later Shorin-ryu, and Gishin Funakoshi was the founder of Shotokan-ryu. Tomari-te developed in Tomari, a port of trade. Kosaku Matsumora is considered the forefathers this martial art. Kata of both Shuri and Tomari-te are characterised speed and flexibility.
UECHI-RYU上地流; Kanbun Uechi learned the martial art from Oangai Noon, and Kanai Uechi, his son, incorporated modern elements in order to complete the Uechi-ryu system, an style characterised by training the physical body to its utmost limits, reason why it has gained hight acclaim as a martial art that may be used in actual fight.
KOBUDŌ古武道; after the satsuma clan invasion to RyūKyū 琉球, individuals were prohibited from using bows, arrows and swords. As a consequence of this, people studied ways in which to turn everyday tools into weapons and this knowledge was passed along to develop Kobudō古武道, a unique martial art founded in Okinawa that find its development alongside karate 空手
Through a scoring system, on August 4 and 5, the preliminary rounds for people from overseas, mainland japan and remote island of Okinawa were held to determine the 12 competitors that will join the main tournament along the four from Okinawa, determined earlier this year. And so, on the 6th, the main tournament began with the round of 16 and quarter-finals determining the qualifiers who would fight for the top positions the next day at the Prefectural Budokan Arena.
THE ROAD TO THE FINALS – Okinawa, July 2022
The arrival of our team to Okinawa took place about a week before the start of the tournament and the planning included acclimatisation training both physically and technically at Uechi sensei’s dojo as part of the final preparation for the event.
The very high levels of humidity will always represent an important aspect to consider in the acclimatization process, especially for those competitors who come from the southern hemisphere, which at this time of year are going through the winter period.
Added to the high temperatures, the body responds differently from the physiological point of view, permeating individual perception and performance in the kata execution. The management of breathing and the search for the proper balance in the levels of muscular contraction become a primary objective during the preparation, which must begin well in advance by being able to identify a low, medium and high execution intensity, which should be fundamentally based on the self-perception of effort – “Knowing yourself, is the beginning of all wisdom“, Aristotle use to said.
“The four days of competition became very intense from a mental point of view as I tried to maintain concentration and a balanced emotional state for everything I felt was at stake. It was a very special preparation to get to that moment.
Considering that the first participation in 2018 did not have a happy ending, managing expectations also became a key issue during the process”diego rodriguez,
when asked for a quick impression
in an interview with a local newspaper in sweden.
As the days passed, the levels of confidence increased and the mental factor took over. Nerves and expectations will always play a role in instances like this and knowing how to handle them should always be part of the specific training process.
How to position yourself in the main tournament, within the 16 competitors with the highest score, begins in the qualification round and the score obtained, which determines “the path to the final”
Performances with excessive tension, loss of balance and competitors forgetting the kata are some of the things that can be observed frequently. After all, it has been 4 years of waiting to earn the classification and a position in the final tournament that ensures a relative peace of mind on the way to the final.
Round of 16 and Quarterfinals were held in one day, leaving the semifinal and final for the next, creating a state of tension in which again the mental factor plays an important role.
On the last day of competition, you can only see the select group that made it to this stage. Despite the tough competition with truly exceptional performances, the human quality of all the competitors stands out, who, despite the results, interact with a genuine intention of friendship and happiness for having given their best. This is one of the essential objectives of the event: to create an opportunity for Okinawan Karate enthusiasts from all over the world to meet and interact in “the birthplace of karate”, as well as to preserve and properly pass on the techniques and spirit of Okinawan Karate”
ISSHINRYU, SILVER AWARD – SHURI/TOMARI-TE KEI 一心流首里・泊手系 銀賞
Seishinkan Budō, through its founder, Osvaldo Rodriguez sensei, set foot on Okinawan soil for the first time approximately 28 years ago, with the aim of establishing a direct link and knowledge from the birthplace of karate. Through constant visits with some students on occasions and individually on others, the link with Okinawa through our sensei there increased with as the time passed. The commitment to support the expansion and preservation of Isshinryu has been a cornerstone of our school since the earliest days alongside Grandmaster Angi Uezu and Uechi Tsuyoshi sensei today.
World tournaments have always been a great platform for promotion and attracting the attention of enthusiasts around the world. Our school has always been present in the versions since 1995 with Okinawa Karate Kobudo World Pre-Tournament, seeking to position and represent Isshinryu as high as possible, a task that we have finally been able to achieve on this tour.
All those who were directly involved over the years and from all over the world agree that this has been a historic moment. Osvaldo Rodriguez sensei, together with Diego and our former students, sincerely hope that this will be a significant contribution to the work that Uechi Tsuyoshi sensei carries out as a representative of the style at the Karate Kaikan and who was ultimately responsible for positioning the Isshinryū katas on the official list. We sincerely understand that it is not a simple task.
And finally, at 3:30 p.m. on August 7, 2022, Diego Rodriguez, who lives and teaches Isshinryū Karate in Sweden, entered the Okinawa Prefectural Budokan Arena, together with Osvaldo Rodriguez sensei, to dispute the final of the Shuri/Tomari-te Kei, Male I category on the Court 1. In front, the 27-year-old representative from Okinawa, who ended up taking the gold award in what was a great presentation by the two karateka.
The great triumph was without a doubt having had the chance to present, in the words of Diego himself, “one of the best katas of my last training period. It has been here, in Okinawa, during these two weeks that I have been feeling that my kata has matured, I keep discovering more elements to pursue in my training“
Once again we thank all those who followed us and sent their best energies throughout the tournament. For keeping us in your thoughts and for following each presentation of Alfonso Lavanchy and Diego Rodriguez in each division and opportunity they had to participate.
“It is impossible for me not to thank our sensei in Okinawa, Tsuyoshi Uechi, for walking a path that should not be easy. Despite being a humble person and a low-profile sensei, standing up and showing Isshinryū in Okinawa is not an easy task within a culture that places such tremendous value on hierarchy, legacy and respect for traditions. I consider myself deeply honored to reap the efforts made by him and a lot of people who have been traveling to Okinawa from abroad for many years trying to accomplish things and support this effort.
I believe that a beautiful achievement takes a long time and ultimately involves lifetime considerations. They require a huge and coordinated effort of people so that everything is in the right place at the right time. For this reason, my gratitude to Osvaldo Rodriguez sensei and all those students who have supported our dojo. To those who have traveled to Okinawa for the last 27 years since Osvaldo sensei stepped on Okinawan soil for the first time, seeking knowledge and supporting Uezu Angi sensei -who was the man who ultimately gave us an opportunity, opening the doors of Okinawa for all of us . To the best of our abilities, we work every day to contribute to the preservation of Isshinryū on the path that Uechi sensei leads today in the Karate Kaikan, and I hope that my achievement is a humble contribution to this lifelong effort.
I predict that many people from Isshinryū will come to Okinawa now, especially in 2026, with the certainty that they have a place, a true platform to display the fruits of their efforts in a truly beautiful stage where tradition meets new, combining core values of traditional-karate with the modern, giving rise to friendship, cultural exchange, and most importantly, a place to promote Karate and Okinawan culture“
The logistic deployment of the organising committee of the second world tournament can be appreciated through the links that the reader can find below. Seishinkan Budō Sweden invites you to visit the following links of interest, where you can find from the final results of the tournament, videos of the inaugural demonstrations to the full streaming of the award ceremony and the entire event via Youtube.
- OKINAWA KARATE PROMOTIONAL VIDEO
- Inaugural Performance – Special Dojo, Okinawa Karate Kaikan
- Opening Ceremony – Okinawa Prefectural Budokan (Starting at min 09:37)
- Opening Ceremony Demonstrations – Okinawa Prefectural Budokan (Starting at min 07:20)
PRELIMINARY ROUNDS for competitors remote island of Okinawa, mainland Japan and overseas (Video)
- (1/2)The 2nd Okinawa Karate World Tournament, Preliminary rounds for competitors from remote island of Okinawa, mainland Japan and overseas – Okinawa Karate Kaikan, Prefectural Budokan (Starting at 1.43.38)
- (2/2)The 2nd Okinawa Karate World Tournament, Preliminary rounds for competitors from remote island of Okinawa, mainland Japan and overseas – Okinawa Karate Kaikan, Prefectural Budokan (Starting at 1.42.36)
MAIN TOURNAMENT – Round of 16, Quarter Finals & Semifinals (Video)
- Main Tournament Shuri/Tomari-te kei: Last 16 & Quarterfinals (Seisan at 1.09.13 – Sunsu at 2.56.14)
- Main Tournament Shuri/Tomari-te kei: Semifinals (Seisan at 2.09.27)
MAIN TOURNAMENT – Finals (Videos courtesy of Ageshio Japan) –
- Shuri/Tomari-te kei: “Karate kata decisive battle for the highest order” (Sunsu at min 09:38)
- Naha te-kei: “World competition Kata”
- Uechi Ryū: “Karate Kata World Competition Finals“
- Kobudō Sai: “Kobudo Sai World Tournament Finals”
- Kobudō Bō: “Kobudo Bo World Tournament Finals”