"World Championship"...?

Discussion in 'Karate' started by Seizan, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Seizan

    Seizan Orange Belt

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    Hi folks, after a long time under my rock on Okinawa...

    If you look in the phone directory of any major city, you will find enough 10th Dan Masters, National Champions, and even World Champions to populate another whole city...! Now really -- there can only be so many real "World Champions" and such.

    So my question is: To really legitimately claim such a title, what agency would be recognized as having conferred it? What procedures have to be observed for such a title to be conferred? Is there actually some officially-recognized authority capable of awarding such a title?

    Who would really be the person or agency to decide on such a thing?

    If someone claimed to be "the Karate Heavyweight Champion of the World", what would he be expected to show as proof of the legitimacy of the title?

    This has probably been asked, argued, or otherwise hashed-out before...
     
  2. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    There have been guys who just hold their own "world championships" and then win to make themselves sound better.
     
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  3. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    None.
     
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  4. Seizan

    Seizan Orange Belt

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    That's true, too -- and disappointing. Worse when the "winner" actually believes it...

    When a champion in boxing is awarded the "world championship" in his weight class, it's usually a recognized award. Not too many will dispute it or argue with the awarding agency. Is there no such agency for awarding an unbiased (by system or style, etc.) world championship for karate?
     
  5. Seizan

    Seizan Orange Belt

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    Sorry, above post was in reply to Drop Bear...
     
  6. drop bear

    drop bear Sr. Grandmaster

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    You just have to look at the competition. I mean if it was say the Olympics it would probably mean something.
     
  7. pgsmith

    pgsmith Master Black Belt

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    The problem being that Wikipedia lists 25 international professional boxing organizations. Each one of those can have a "World Champion" in each weight class. So, when you say a boxing "World Champion", you actually mean a boxing World Champion in whatever boxing organization that you are most familiar with, or has the most television presence. The "World Champion" from any of the other organizations is no less valid, simply less well known.

    Since anybody can create an international organization (and a great many have) simply by declaring it so, there is no real way to determine if one "World Champion" is more legitimate than another other than investigating the organization from which they've earned said championship. This is why the terms "Grandmaster" and "10th dan" and "world champion" are only impressive to beginners or non-martial artists. The rest of us just tend to snicker about it.
     
  8. CB Jones

    CB Jones Master of Arts

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    World Champion only denotes that the championship was open to anyone in the world.

    So a sanctioning body holds a championship that is open to everyone in the organization in the world....it is that sanctioning body’s world championship tournament or match or whatever.....it doesn’t necessarily mean you are the champion of the world....just that you are the champion of whole sanctioning body.
     
  9. Tony Dismukes

    Tony Dismukes Senior Master

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    The titles "Champion" or "World Champion" by themselves are meaningless. Local tournaments of all sorts routinely bill themselves as "championships." Promotions with a little more scope or ambition often add the qualifier "world." Sometimes these are actually international events drawing the top competitors from around the world in a given style. More often, they are not. You need to know who awarded the title to know what kind of weight to put on it.

    A UFC or K1 world champion is someone at the top of their field.

    A Judo world champion is one of the best of the best. (The Judo world championships are run by the IJF. No one would give any credence to any other random organization which popped up claiming to run a Judo world championship.)

    Boxing is splintered, but a world champion under one of the major four sanctioning bodies (IBF, WBO, WBA, WBC) will be pretty tough.

    Most of the "world championships" listed in the bio of your local instructor? Probably a single win at a local/regional/possibly national event, open to any competitor who paid the entrance fee. Possibly a notable accomplishment, possibly not.
     
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  10. JR 137

    JR 137 Senior Master

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    The phrase “World Champion” is only as credible as the organization granting that title...

    I could go on Facebook and challenge everyone in the world to a karate tournament in my back yard tomorrow. The guy next door shows up and I beat him. I’m a world champ. How? I invited everyone in the world and beat everyone in the world who showed up. Think about it. Is that credible? Not even close.

    There was a local pro boxer who was a world champ. He even had the sticker on his car to prove it :) (seriously, he put a sticker across the top of his rear window). He was a heavyweight at the same time Mike Tyson was the champ. I’m going to bet that he would’ve been ko’d just as quickly as everyone else was during that era, and most likely quicker if that was possible. Different sanctioning bodies. One* sanctioning body was far more credible than the other.

    Then you’ve got NBA, NHL, etc. “World Championship” teams. Last I checked, NBA teams didn’t play any teams outside the US and Canada on their regular nor post-season schedules. But they are world champions in the sense that the NBA has the best players from all over the world in their league. Same for the MLB, NHL, NFL.

    *Actually 3 sanctioning bodies, as Tyson was the champ of all 3 major bodies at the time.
     
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  11. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    The NHL is debatable. I'm sure Russia has some teams that could give us a run for our money.
     
  12. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    Ask what was the governing body for the tournament, and in which division(s) did the said champion compete. A bit of research can give you a pretty solid answer in a short amount of time. If someone doesn't want to say what the tournament was, then I would take those claims with a shaker of salt.

    Just as a few examples...

    If someone could show that he were a world champion with the WKF, then that would carry legitimate prestige. I doubt anyone would question that the said champion were a marshmellow... While there may be accusations of referee and judge bias, at least you know that whoever wins his division would be the real deal.

    On the other hand, if someone said that he were a national champion with the USA-NKF or USA Karate, you'd have to look at what divisions he had won. At that tournament, there are many, many divisions, to the point where getting a medal isn't necessarily a difficult task at all. You have beginner divisions for senior citizens, where competitors are scarce, and someone could very will win his division performing Taikyoku Shodan simply because nobody else in his division could complete a kata. In those cases, it's more of a "yes, that's nice that you won a national championship, but it really doesn't hold much stature or consequence."

    There are also divisions for beginner children that would also award a "national championship" gold medal to their winners, and that the accomplishment isn't really anything significant at all.

    I've known some folks who do have truthful claims to be USA-NKF / USA Karate national champions, and they do advertise it as being such in their adulthood, but fail to mention that it was for a beginner or novice division decades ago...

    At the same time, there are those who win the elite division championships, where the ones competing in that division are scrapping for a place on the US National Team (the one that travels to the PKF and WKF). Winning that division does carry quite a bit of prestige.
     
  13. Kababayan

    Kababayan Orange Belt

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    I think CB Jones said it very well. What the trophy, belt, or title says shouldn't diminish what a person does to defeat "those" opponents on"that" particular day, nor should it diminish anyone's else's courage for competing.
     
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  14. CB Jones

    CB Jones Master of Arts

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    What I tell my son is that he has no control of the quality or number of his opponents. The only thing he can control is the level that he performs at.

    Push himself to compete at his highest level and be proud of what he achieves. In the end, don’t sweat the haters.
     

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