The first karate events will take place at the Tokyo Olympics
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – A new sport in this year’s 2021 Olympics is karate, which will make its debut in the home country of martial arts.
There are two Olympic karate events: kata, or forms, and kumite, or sparring.
Sixth degree black belt Seth Degnan owns Kicks Unlimited and has been to Japan twice for training.
“We visited 9 or 10 different dojos in the area and did four different styles of unarmed karate in addition to our kobodo weapon system,” Degnan explained.
Degnan says the forms seen at the Olympics will be a routine of blocks, kicks, stances and strikes that represent a certain system or style. There are a variety of factors in what goes into the scoring of judges.
“It’s going to be graded more on the ability of their technique, the power they use, the perfection of their technique, their stances, their balance, their athleticism, it’s all going to be put together and scored accordingly,” said Degnan.
He also explained what makes kata different from other aspects of karate.
“There was nothing that represented the empty hand aspect, the non-combative, the art of martial arts, and that’s what the kata is going to do,” he said.
Mathiam Mbow, a fifth degree black belt who owns Silver Lining Taekwon-Do in Middleton, explained kumite karate, or sparring, in more detail.
“In kumite you go up against an opponent and you just test your skills, going as fast as you can, as hard as you can,” Mbow explained.
Mbow said that after games, athletes can even give each other advice sometimes.
“So it’s like a camaraderie, it helps people come together,” Mbow said.
Both martial arts schools work with students of all ages, some as young as four. Degnan explained that kata can be particularly useful in teaching younger students to help them practice concentration.
Mbow said that for his students it is important that they learn life lessons along the way.
“The main goal for me with my students is to let them know that if you work hard for this you will be successful, but this same attitude is applicable in all walks of life,” Mbow said.
Mbow hopes that students can learn these values throughout their training.
The first Olympic karate event will be the men’s and women’s 67 kg kumite at 8 p.m. on August 4.
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