Which Kind Of Karate Has Olympic Chops?

Which Kind of Karate Has Olympic Chops?Practitioners of one of the world’s most popular martial arts are beating themselves up over which form of the sport should be represented at the Olympics.
Karate is one of eight events competing to debut in the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo. But which karate? The group that the International Olympic Committee has recognized to bid—the World Karate Federation—allows only minimal contact. Yet there are millions of karate fighters in other schools who do follow through with their punches.

Their leaders are crusading to have both styles represented at the Olympics or risk chopping off the dreams of many of the world’s karate kids.

The road to the Tokyo Olympics has already been bumpy for Japan. The government scrapped plans for a new Olympic Stadium (too expensive) and an Olympic logo (allegations of plagiarism). The decision on new events, due Monday, is the next big test on the horizon.

Karate has missed a spot in the Olympics three times before, but officials say the Japan venue and support from high-profile politicians means the time is right to strike. Or just lightly strike, depending on whom you talk to.

It isn’t just honor on the line—there is also money involved. In many countries, inclusion in the Olympics is a prerequisite for receiving government subsidies.

Sayaka Kato, 22 years old, has a world championship under her belt in Shinkyokushin karate, a full-contact style with sharp kicks and punches that uses minimal body protection.

“I’ve gone through my entire life with these rules. I don’t want to compete under different rules,” she says.

The Japan Fullcontact Karate Organization estimates 20 million people around the world practice full-contact karate.