UWK and UWKSA
United World Karate (UWK) was formed in 2014 following the unification of various international karate federations including WUKO, ITKF and IKOK.
UWK is unique in that it recognises and incorporates three distinct disciplines of sports karate. These commissions include Traditional, General and Full Contact Karate which each operate independently, but fall under the umbrella body of UWK.
In 2014, a number of South African Federations commenced dialogue with the intent purpose of unifying all eligible national federations under United World Karate South Africa (UWKSA). In March 2015 the first general congress was held, and the UWKSA General Karate Commission was established. The current UWKSA General Karate Commission Executive comprises Gary Grapentin (President), Francois Du Preez (Vice-President), Werner Van Staden (General Secretary); Alan Kirklady (Treasurer); Alta Venter (Chief Technical Officer).
The First and Second UWKSA National Championships were both held at the Fish River Sun Hotel in 2016 and 2017 respectively. The 3rd Championship was held at the Boardwalk Hotel and International Convention Centre in Port Elizabeth in May this year. Our referees and judges Courses and Championships carry the endorsed of UWK Vice President, Liviu Crisan (Romania). The kata and kumite categories make provision for novice, intermediate and elite athletes and include both individual and team events.
The Championship plays a significant role in bringing UWKSA affiliated Federations and Dojos together on an annual basis. In addition the Championship also served as trials in order to select a UWKSA Team for upcoming UWK World Championship events. UWKSA is unable to award Protea Colours, however, those athletes selected, still have the honour of representing the UWKSA National Team against some of the world’s very best karate athletes. UWKSA’s primary objective is to ensure that its athletes are prioritised in their bid to achieve world class honours. In part UWKSA hopes to achieve this by providing high level coaching support, transparent and fair team selections, overseas tours which are not top heavy with management staff, and open and up-to-date communication. Furthermore UWKSA aims to provide a democratic and non-political Federation which places an emphasis on development (specifically within a South African context) and prescribes to the principles of fair-play, transparency, equality and integrity. In addition UWKSA intends to provide a base from which all members can share, learn and grow in their pursuit of karate-do as a way of life.
International Shotokan-Ryu Karate-do Shihankai (ISKS)
USR Chairperson, Gary Grapentin and USR Senior Instructor, Alta Venter are both members of the ISKS, an international academy of senior Shotokan karate-ka.
Gichin Funakoshi once said: To search for the old is to understand the new. The old, the new, this is a matter of time. In all things man must have a clear mind. The Way: Who will pass it on straight and well?
As each year unfolds the dilution of karate from a martial art to a sport is becoming more apparent. The once coveted Dan grade is becoming cheapened by karate-ka who seem more interested in finances than standards. It is therefore apparent that the traditional ways are being lost and with them the respect, honour and hard training which epitomises the budo/bushido aspect of our art. It is up to those with an interest in our style to ensure that Shotokan-ryu continues to maintain its classical and traditional roots worldwide.
For many years, discussions relating to these negative changes and their effects on Shotokan karate, have taken place. Some like-minded, senior international instructors decided that an apolitical, Shotokan Academy of Excellence, which would also act as an international certificating agency, should be set up. The Kokusai Shotokan-ryu Karate-do Shihankai (ISKS) was inaugurated in June 2004. It is therefore the Shihankai‒s belief that a true Shotokan karate-ka must be of profound qualities of spirit while striving for excellence in everything he/she does. This reflects the dedication and discipline to allow continual practice and growth in a martial art. They must have high skills in combat but also the moral attributes to follow the set of obligations and etiquette that help establish order, not only in the Shotokan dojo, but in their life and society in general.
To do this the 7 virtues of budo/bushido should followed. These are: jin (benevolence), gi (honour and justice), rei (courtesy and etiquette), chi (wisdom, intelligence), shin (sincerity), chu (loyalty), and koh (piety).
Those individuals who are in fellowship of the ISKS maintain a behaviour, which reflects that they value standards, honour, etiquette and tradition. Their many years of study in and dedication to, Shotokan karate as a martial art, are reflected in the character of the individual and in their approach to training, where the concept of Budo is paramount and all nationalities would be treated on an equal footing. It is through the auspices of such individuals that the ISKS Council of Saiko-shihan was founded. The ISKS therefore firmly believe that it is an honour to be invited or recommended to join those ranks but an even greater honour to be accepted into fellowship. In summary, the Shihankai by accepting through recommendation only those senior international Shotokan karateka who are known to us will ensure that our standards are maintained with a clear mind. We will therefore pass on to future generations, through the values and teachings of its fellows, the great legacy that O sensei Funakoshi left to us and we will do it straight and well.
George Caruthers 8th Dan Hanshi ISKS President
Referenced from the ISKS Website: http://www.shihankai.org/