Headline, August 15 2021/ ''' '' THE KARATE TAP '' ''' : HONOURS

''' '' THE KARATE 

TAP '' ''' : HONOURS

!STUDENTS! AN OLYMPIC QUESTION : Is karate a sport or martial art? Be what it may, it would be very hard to find anyone more qualified to lead Japan's national karate team than Rika Usami.

She is a third-degree black belt and won a 2012 world championship. She is a bona fide celebrity in the sport, with videos of her performances racking up tens of millions of views. She even wrote a dissertation on the art of punching.

Is karate a traditional martial art, a tool for forging the body and tempering the spirit? Or is it a modern competitive sport, a showcase of elite athletes, with a place in today's Olympic Games.

To many conservatives in Japan, karate and other Japanese martial arts represent values like self-sacrifice and deference to authority that they believe are fundamental to the national character and see as critical to the country's rise from the ashes of World War II.

For karate, whose roots go back hundreds of years to the islands of Okinawa, the decades-long quest for Olympic acceptance has involved negotiating a delicate balance between preserving and the positive aspects of its tradition and meeting the needs of a modern sport.

That has meant creating new rules, new training regimens and new ways of managing the relationship between athletes and coaches, said Hironobu Tsuchiya, a professor of sports psychology at Osaka University of Health and Sports Sciences who has advised the Japanese Olympic committee.

AT THE 2012 WORLD KARATE CHAMPIONSHIP IN PARIS : the audience gave her a standing ovation : Rika Usami rose to the top of the sport, winning national tournaments at the high school and college levels.

At the 2012 Paris championship she won a gold medal for a routine that combined absolute stillness with kicks and punches so quick and powerful that her uniform whip-cracked around her, echoing through the stadium.

GLOBALLY - KARATE FACES EVER MORE COMPETITION from other martial arts. Kung fu is flashier. Krav maga, from Israel, is more practical. Taekwondo and judo are better established as competitive sports.

And jujitsu, thanks to the success of mixed martial arts contests like the U.F.C, is the choice for people hoping to go professional.

For Karate to prosper in this crowded environment, it needs to sand off its rough edges and become more universal, said Kazuyoshi Ishii, a karate master and promoter who started Japan's full-contact K-1 fighting tournament in the early 1990s as a way to spotlight karate.

Over the centuries, karate practitioners selected techniques for their effectiveness in combat. But moves chose for maximum lethality are impractical for competitive tournaments.

Before now, that disconnect had helped deal multiple attempts to get karate into the Olympics. It barely made the cut in its home country, sliding into the lineup only at the last minute thanks to interventions by powerful political figures like Yoshihide Saga, the current prime minister and a former karate practitioner.

The conflict between karate's old and new guards burst into public view in May, when one of the Japanese national team's star athlete, Ayumi Uekusa, accused her longtime coach of harassment.

In a statement, she wrote that he had injured her eye during a training session in which he tested the team's members' techniques by attacking them with a bamboo sword. He continued using the sword in training despite repeated requests that he stop.

Uekusa's accusations quickly became headline news, forcing Japan's national team to oust the coach. Masao Kagawa. He said at the time that he was taking ''complete responsibility'' for his training methods but that he had not intended to hurt anyone.

With the Olympic organizing committee drowning in accusations of misogyny after its leaders made sexist comments that forced his resignation, the national karate team chose Usmai as the new coach.

Her selection for a position that had traditionally gone to gruff men well into their 50s was intended to show the world that karate, and Japan itself, is embracing diversity, said Tishihisa Nagura, the general secretary of the World Karate Federation.

Usmai's interest in sport goes back to her childhood, when she fell in love with a television show about a young woman who saves the world with martial arts.

But rather than pursuing combat, she became a specialist in kata - fixed sequence of solo movements, much like a gymnast routine, that are judged on a practitioner's speed, strength, technique and focus. [Kata is one of the two Olympic events, along with kumite, which involves sparring against an opponent.]

She retired soon after and started a master's degree in sports science. She focused on demystifying karate, exploring ways to quantify techniques that traditional instructors had wrapped in esoteric, metaphysical concepts like ki -a n abstruse life force that originated in Chinese Daoism.

Usami has used computer-aided video analysis to refine her techniques and has prioritized athletes' mental health, a radical notion for a discipline whose idea of sports psychology has long been to shout louder.

When Usami talks about the sport's future, she argues that, just as when performing a kata, the most critical element is balance.

''It's important to see karate as a sport. And also as a martial art,'' she said. ''It's precisely because those two parts exist that karate is karate.''

The Honor and Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research on Sports Sciences, continues. The World Students Society thanks authors Ben Dooley and Hisako Ueno.

With respectful dedication to the people of Japan, Leaders, Students, Professors and Teachers and then the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society : wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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