— EditorsWorld Karate Federation, which is recognized by the IOC, is trying to keep the philosophical content of karate as a martial art in its purest form, which means maintaining its traditional background. Announcing a new low price on the Greg Jackson Mixed Martial Arts Core Curriculum, an online course from Black Belt magazine and the world’s leading MMA coach! Learn the best fighting techniques, combinations and strategies on your tablet or smartphone. More info here! QUESTION: Many martial artists are against arts becoming sports, but you seem to be in favor. TOKEY HILL: As long as we preserve as much tradition as possible — respect, discipline and the core values — it can be a good thing. QUESTION: Do you think being in the Olympics would boost the popularity of karate overall? TOKEY HILL: Absolutely. If a country’s national governing body for karate strategically puts in place a public-relations and marketing campaign, it will directly affect karate at the grass-roots level. Of course, that will require proper instructor education. QUESTION: Would the transformation from art to sport cause karate to lose its lethal fighting techniques? TOKEY HILL: Yes and no. However, even people who compete in karate now focus on major strikes that can immobilize an opponent as well as an attacker, and those strikes are not necessarily lethal ones. Most parents take their children to the dojo to learn discipline, self-confidence, character building and self-esteem, all of which makes them pillars in society. And they would still be able to do that. The small percentage who want their children to become sports champions would have what they want, too. Karate can serve as a self-defense system with or without lethal techniques. All forms of karate are great as long as they’re taught with the right values.
SPECIAL POST-ANNOUNCEMENT UPDATE!QUESTION: What are your thoughts on yesterday's announcement from the International Olympic Committee? TOKEY HILL: It is a historic moment. Our sport has finally achieved acceptance into the 2020 Olympic Games. This is a victory for all the past generation’s leaders, sensei, athletes, officials, organizers and volunteers who worked endlessly for this dream to become a reality. Now, this victory belongs to athletes and future generations — and how they will honor the opportunities that lay before them. QUESTION: Which international karate organization will be running the show? TOKEY HILL: The World Karate Federation. QUESTION: Which organization will oversee things in America? TOKEY HILL: The USA National Karate-do Federation. QUESTION: Will the karate competition at the 2020 Games include kumite, kata and weapons? TOKEY HILL: Kumite and kata only. QUESTION: Do you know what your role in all this will be? TOKEY HILL: For sure, developing athletes as a coach within Team USA. Also, possibly in a technical capacity. In the near future, Black Belt will publish an in-depth look at this development, with additional comments from Tokey Hill and statements from other karate leaders.