EXPLAINER: Karate at the Tokyo Olympics | Inquirer Sports
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EXPLAINER: Karate at the Tokyo Olympics

/ 08:32 PM July 18, 2021
Things to know about the karate competition at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:

THE ABSOLUTE BASICS

This picture taken on September 7, 2019 shows a general view during the 'Karate1 Premier League' competition at the Nippon Budokan, a venue for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

This picture taken on September 7, 2019 shows a general view during the ‘Karate1 Premier League’ competition at the Nippon Budokan, a venue for the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Photo by Charly TRIBALLEAU / AFP)

  • There are two types of events: kata (form) and kumite (sparring)
  • In kata, individuals demonstrate offensive and defensive movements against a virtual opponent and are scored on factors including speed, rhythm, balance, sharpness and power.
  • Competitors choose from 102 kata forms and are not allowed to repeat the same kata during a single competition.
  • The kumite event involves two competitors facing each other with the aim of landing scoring blows to target areas that are awarded one to three points.

HOW MANY MEDALS?

Eight gold medals are up for grabs, including one each for men’s and women’s kata. Kumite is divided into three weight categories each for men (-67kg, -75kg, +75kg) and women (-55kg, -61kg, +61kg)

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN TOKYO?

Kiyomi Watanabe judo

FILE – The Philippines’ Kiyomi Watanabe compete during the women’s judo -63 kg in the 30th SEA Games. INQURER PHOTO/ Sherwin Vardeleon

There will be 80 ‘karatekas’ competing as karate makes its Olympics debut. Its future at the Games remains uncertain as karate will not be on the program for Paris 2024

WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?

August 5-7

WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?

Nippon Budokan

This picture shows the Nippon Budokan, venue for the judo and karate events, 100 days till the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo on April 14, 2021. (Photo by Kazuhiro NOGI / AFP)

Nippon Budokan, the spiritual home of Japanese traditional martial arts, built in 1964. The venue hosted judo for the Tokyo Olympics that year and is also a popular venue for rock concerts, including The Beatles in 1966.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Karate probably formed through the mixture of indigenous defensive tactics practiced by the warrior class in the Ryukyu Kingdom – now Japan’s southern-most prefecture of Okinawa – and Chinese martial arts. It started spreading around Japan in the 1920s and now boasts more than 130 million enthusiasts in nearly 200 countries, according to the World Karate Federation.

WELL FANCY THAT

Japan PM Suga

FILE PHOTO: Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks during a meeting of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection control headquarters at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo, Japan January 22, 2021. Kazuhiro Nogi/Pool via REUTERS

Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, holds a black belt in karate and was instrumental in getting it a place at the Olympics, leading a group of lawmakers in lobbying efforts while he was chief cabinet secretary.
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