Governing Bodies

SahBumNimRush

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I'm curious how important, how big, and how many governing bodies there are under the Karate umbrella. How many of you belong to a large organization? Do you offer large association certificates or in house certificates, and how important do you see the difference between the two?

I only ask to gain some perspective as it relates the Tang Soo Do/Taekwondo.
 

dancingalone

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I'm curious how important, how big, and how many governing bodies there are under the Karate umbrella. How many of you belong to a large organization? Do you offer large association certificates or in house certificates, and how important do you see the difference between the two?

I only ask to gain some perspective as it relates the Tang Soo Do/Taekwondo.

There are myriad karate organizations in Japan, in Okinawa, in the West. Some as 'governing bodies' in the sense that they serve to establish a common framework of rules for karate-ka to compete under. An example of this would be the WKF which has a goal of putting the karate into the Olympics. Some are more style or ryu-ha specific and may have some sporting implications (like the JKA for Shotokan) but more commonly are meant to connect karate-ka that share a lineage and thus training opportunities ultimately (like the Jundokan in Goju-ryu).

Karate as a diverse grouping of Okinawan and Japanese fighting arts is not organized to the extent that TKD or even TSD is. In my experience, there's not the same basic assumption that it is desirable to be affiliated with an organization. Rather, lineal ties and other immediate relationships are more important across the board, though some styles are more inline with the Korean arts in this respect than others.

I do not currently belong to a karate organization of the lineal/education type (I have been in the past), though I am not adverse to joining one (or more!) to aid them financially. If my contribution means that authentic karate is even preserved for one more person in the future, I think it is a good investment. I am much less interested in the big multinational groups that seek to promote karate through sporting endeavors, though certainly I concede they publicize their vision of karate in a big way.
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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I like the role of perservation of the art, in an org. Personally, I like the lineal type of recognition rather than the large (or small) org that I see in TKD/TSD. Having direct connections with other similar martial artists, without having the politics and egos involved sounds like a rather refreshing idea!
 

sfs982000

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I'm curious how important, how big, and how many governing bodies there are under the Karate umbrella. How many of you belong to a large organization? Do you offer large association certificates or in house certificates, and how important do you see the difference between the two?

I only ask to gain some perspective as it relates the Tang Soo Do/Taekwondo.

I currently belong to an ATA school, as a student not an instructor. Prior to joining this school, I never really gave much thought to schools being a part of an organization or being independant as long as the instructors were competent and I enjoyed the training that was all that mattered to me. I do see both benefits and downsides to being a part of a large organization, my biggest gripe with my current school is the testing fees and organization dues, but I do like the fact that my rank transfers over if I relocate so I wouldn't start over again (not that it really is a big deal). Again I suck it up cause I do enjoy training there and there are a great group of folks that teach and train there.
 

dancingalone

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I like the role of perservation of the art, in an org. Personally, I like the lineal type of recognition rather than the large (or small) org that I see in TKD/TSD. Having direct connections with other similar martial artists, without having the politics and egos involved sounds like a rather refreshing idea!

Don't get me wrong, there's politics in karate too. Lots of jostling for position when a founder or org head passes away, splits over money or ego, etc. You see the exact same stuff in aikido, in TKD - it's human nature, after all.

My thought is that organizational politics or organizations are irrelevant for 95% of the people out there. I mean, does it really matter that my old shodan certificate was signed by Nagamine Takayoshi Sensei/Soke? Not really. I saw him once in my life and I never trained with him. My teachers at the time thought I deserved a shodan, and that was considerably more important to me. Ditto for my Goju-ryu dan certificates which are all, save one, house certificates written by my sensei, a student himself of Miyazato Sensei. I still would treasure them even if I ever affiliated formally with the Jundokan, which was Miyazato Sensei's school (and is now a network of affiliated dojo and thus org of sorts).
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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I belong to a small association under my KJN (10 schools). I also belong to the USTW, whose mission statement is to preserve tradiational TKD. At one point it was a somewhat large organization, now it is smaller. I love my art and I do my best to maintain the tradition that I was taught. I hold my first loyalty to the art, and it is the art that is most important to me.

That said.. .

Back in the 80's we used to support many of the Korean master's in the surrounding states. For one reason or another, (moving, dying, political reasons) we no longer support other schools' competitions. It's not the lack of competition that is disconcerting. It is the lack of camaraderie that bums me out. I respect my KJN's wishes, and we no longer go to these events, but I long for the days that I would go to a place where everybody knows your name (**insert CHEERS theme song**).
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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Don't get me wrong, there's politics in karate too. Lots of jostling for position when a founder or org head passes away, splits over money or ego, etc. You see the exact same stuff in aikido, in TKD - it's human nature, after all.

My thought is that organizational politics or organizations are irrelevant for 95% of the people out there. I mean, does it really matter that my old shodan certificate was signed by Nagamine Takayoshi Sensei/Soke? Not really. I saw him once in my life and I never trained with him. My teachers at the time thought I deserved a shodan, and that was considerably more important to me. Ditto for my Goju-ryu dan certificates which are all, save one, house certificates written by my sensei, a student himself of Miyazato Sensei. I still would treasure them even if I ever affiliated formally with the Jundokan, which was Miyazato Sensei's school (and is now a network of affiliated dojo and thus org of sorts).

I agree with the irrelevance. It boils down to substance. If you are offering something of worth, it shouldn't matter whose signature is on the certificate, or who you affiliate with.

Where I am stuck at, I see value in the school I was raised in. I do not wish to leave, despite its constraints, as I feel it would be both disrespectful and disloyal. How could I teach about tradition, if I were to disregard it by leaving.

I just wish I was able to interact with the larger martial arts community, outside of MT, of course. :)
 

dancingalone

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I just wish I was able to interact with the larger martial arts community, outside of MT, of course. :)

If you and your teacher/grandmaster would this as a betrayal of sorts, then then's not much that be done other than wait for the circumstances to change.

I wish you well, Benjamin.
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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Without going into detail, it's a matter of representation. If my KJN has chose not to support another org/association/school's event, then I cannot go. If I go, wearing his patch/uniform, then I am matter of factly giving them his stamp of approval. I "could" in theory go in a plain uniform, but with my rank, people already know who I am, so it would still be giving the other party, my KJN's stamp of approval.

As you stated above, all I can do is wait it out, and hope that the circumstances do change. I guess I am just venting my disappointment on losing yet another opportunity to garner more camaraderie with other martial artists.

The longer I train, and the higher rank I attain, the more and more I hate the politics of martial arts.. . I guess it just comes with the territory though.
 

Grenadier

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There are many style specific bodies, and to list them all would take quite a while.

Even within the same style, you'll find quite a few organizations. For example, in Shotokan Karate, you have the JKA, the SKIF, and the ISKF as the three biggest players in the game, while also having smaller orgs such as SKA, TKF, etc. Some orgs will be in opposition to each other, while some will work together with other orgs.

An organization can help strengthen a dojo, especially if they have things to offer that can help a dojo develop. Some organizations are more helpful than others, and some orgs are simply there to collect your money while giving you a nice-looking certificate...

Our dojo is associated with the Traditional Karate Do Federation (TKF), which meshes well with the USA Karate (formerly USANKF) organization. It's a fledgling organization, but it has the knowledge and resources to help anyone. I hope to see it succeed, and grow in size.
 

chinto

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ok I am part of an association that is for members of the style of Okinawan Karate I study. this means that my certificates of rank are recorded in Okinawa and my rank would be excepted in a dojo in even some other country. but as far as governing bodies, I think of some of the things I have heard of from places like the UK that I understand have quasi government powers/sanctions. I do NOT think that any Government agency or dept has any business in martial arts instruction at all! or in limiting or regulating who or what is learned.

the only thing I can see a government interest in and reasonable for them to be involved in is prize fighting such as cage matches and UFC and such sport. NO OTHER PLACE!
 

Gorilla

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USA Karate is the NGB for Karate associated with the USOC! It is part of the Olympic movement not an Olympic Sport.

It is represented in the Pan Am Games!
 

K-man

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I am at the stage where I no longer care. My only concern is that whenever my students train in another dojo or at some seminar that they are comfortable with their rank. I know that their level and their standard will be at least as good and hopefully better than other similar ranked people. I am more than happy to issue my own certificates. There is way too much politics involved when you get caught up in large organisations. :asian:
 

Kong Soo Do

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I am at the stage where I no longer care. My only concern is that whenever my students train in another dojo or at some seminar that they are comfortable with their rank. I know that their level and their standard will be at least as good and hopefully better than other similar ranked people. I am more than happy to issue my own certificates. There is way too much politics involved when you get caught up in large organisations. :asian:

+1

I'm with you on this. I think that a certificate signed by the person that actually trained you far exceeds a faceless organization in another country that has never seen you train. The only reason I'm involved with the IKSDA is;

  • We/they don't charge anything except the cost of a cert and shipping.
  • It is small enough that one of the main people (Master's council) has seen you train and tested you personally.
  • Every seminar we/they do is free and open to everyone regardless of art or rank.

But even with as positive as that may be...it isn't needed. As I stated, a cert from your personal teacher is all you really need. A large org cert isn't any more official than one from your instructor. Now if you're into sport and all that jazz then maybe you have to play the cert game with some org. But that is all it is...a game.
 
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SahBumNimRush

SahBumNimRush

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Thanks for rekindling this discussion! I was curious how organizations of karate compare to TKD. As I understand it, Karate is more fragmented than TKD, and as such, I was wondering what kind of NGB's/orgs there are and how much/little emphasis is put on them.

Because of the Korean governmental influence and the unification process, the separation of "styles" of TKD are much less than they used to be. Nowadays, you predominately have the MDK SBD, Kukki-TKD and ITF TK-D. Few have held on to the older kwan styles, as the "heads" of those kwans have supported the unification/assimilation process of Kukki-TKD.

Karate, on the other hand, remains fragmented (which I believe to be a good thing). As I understand it, it is one of the drawbacks of the Olympic Karate Movement. However, are the popular Karate associations/orgs style specific or generally open to all karate styles?
 
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SahBumNimRush

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Personally, I haven't been a member of a large organization since the demise of the USTU. Furthermore, the only reason I was a USTU member was for the Jr. Olympics. Beyond that, I saw no benefit to being a member. My KJN has an association of schools under him, and I belong to a smaller non-profit org for the preservation of traditional TKD (non-Kukki style).
 

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USA Karate is the NGB for Karate associated with the USOC! It is part of the Olympic movement not an Olympic Sport.

It is represented in the Pan Am Games!

And at the world level as well, with the WKF.

USA Karate has been quite helpful in promoting Karate throughout the USA, although I do wish that they'd do more for their members.

It does have its benefits, though, especially for those seeking to find a "universal" dan ranking, since you can test for a USA-NKF dan grade that is one below your "native" system. As you go for higher rankings, you have to demonstrate knowledge not only of your native system, but from additional ones as well amongst the big four (Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Goju Ryu, Shito Ryu). I honestly believe that such exposure is a good thing, since it gives the practitioner a more in-depth knowledge than simply watching Karate-ka from other system doing their kata, kumite, etc.

The WKF works in a similar way as well, although it tends to get more politicized at that level.
 

chinto

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And at the world level as well, with the WKF.

USA Karate has been quite helpful in promoting Karate throughout the USA, although I do wish that they'd do more for their members.

It does have its benefits, though, especially for those seeking to find a "universal" dan ranking, since you can test for a USA-NKF dan grade that is one below your "native" system. As you go for higher rankings, you have to demonstrate knowledge not only of your native system, but from additional ones as well amongst the big four (Shotokan, Wado Ryu, Goju Ryu, Shito Ryu). I honestly believe that such exposure is a good thing, since it gives the practitioner a more in-depth knowledge than simply watching Karate-ka from other system doing their kata, kumite, etc.

The WKF works in a similar way as well, although it tends to get more politicized at that level.

well I am worried about my own system not some other that I do not study, and also I notice Shorin Ryu is not listed... why? it is one of the larger karate systems...
 

dancingalone

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well I am worried about my own system not some other that I do not study, and also I notice Shorin Ryu is not listed... why? it is one of the larger karate systems...

I don't think any slight is intended. It's just that the Japanese karate styles (Shotokan, Wado, Shito, and Goju-Kai, not Okinawan Goju-ryu) had a major role in establishing the WKF and its predecessor bodies. Thus they are the recognized karate styles.

The Okinawan styles for the most part are not part of this calculus.
 

harlan

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To the OP: Regarding organization membership, I think DancingAlone pretty much states the mindset of certain slice of karateka out there - myself included.

We also don't belong to any large organization, and it's almost looked at in a kinship way (who begat who).
 
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