This October marks the 25th Anniversary and Annual Kyokushin "American International Karate Championships," in New York. This event is considered the longest consecutive running Kyokushin Karate style tournament in the USA.
What makes this year’s event even more spectacular is the introduction of the new “World Fighting Kyokushin Organization-WFKO” Inaugural Qualifying Tournament, where experienced Knockdown fighters from both the USA & Canada will qualify to represent North America in the upcoming WFKO Professional Kyokushin World Tournament in Moscow, Russia, with all expenses paid and monetary cash prizes to the fighters.
This is a huge for the sport, as Kyokushin Karate has always been at the amateur level, and often thought of as “farm team” for professional combat sports and kickboxing, like K-1 and Glory Kickboxing. A minor league that provides players as needed to an affiliated major league team. However, now Kyokushin itself has stepped into the professional arena, with the World Fighting Kyokushin Organization-WFKO.
The Organization is headed by Vladimir Sloutsker, vice-presidents Eddie Gabatuler from Switzerland and Michael Monaco from the USA, and is supported by the vice-president of International Federation of Karate (IFK) David Pickthall. Not meant to create a new style or new direction within Kyokushin, but rather an independent professional Organization.
The main goals of the Organization are:
- assistance in the development of Kyokushin training system, improvement of technical methodology, methods and programs according to the modern criteria and standards of sportsmen training,
- teaching and retraining of sportsmen, and also the creation of required conditions for meeting the needs for the improvement of skills for achieving results by participating in different sport events,
- promotion of Kyokushin as a spectator sport,
- providing of moral and financial support to sportsmen and coaches.
The first title bout was held in 2014 with Farid Kasumov becoming the first holder of WFKO champion belt. The championship bout video can be seen here. Since that time, events and tournaments have been held around the world.
The WFKO then launched a series of Grand Prix Tournaments for the future participants of the First World Championship among professional Kyokushin fighters. The winner of the first in WFKO Grand Prix became a Siberian fighter, Sergei Gerasimov.
The WFKO continues to gain momentum and popularity around the world and the next event in New York will give Canadian and American fighters a chance to test their skills on the world stage.
Though still relatively small in North American, Kyokushin Karate is one of the most popular and mass-scale combat sports in the world, with an estimated 12 million participants in 140 countries. Most of these participants hail from Russia, or parts of Europe and of course Japan.
Known for is hardcore training, conditioning and fighting spirit, Kyokushinkai Karate is Full-contact style of Karate. Founded by Masutatsu (Mas) Oyama. Better known by it’s shorten name, “Kyokushin”, it has been a form of Karate that has always been a nursery for Professional full-contact fighters, with the likes of Nicholas Pettas, Andy Hug and Georges St. Pierre. In the combat world, it has always been said, if a person has studied Kyokushin, they are either crazy or feared, but they know how to fight.
Russia has been a leader in the development and promotion of Kyokushin among its youth and developing high-level fighters. The new international organization WFKO was set up with initiative of the leading Kyokuhin Karate specialists of Russia to further promote Kyokushinkai Karate globally as one of strongest and visually attractive forms of combat sports, as well as promoting the healthy lifestyle and physical culture, while offering participants the goal of monetary cash prizes.
THERE ARE TWO MAIN ASPECTS OF THE WFKO:
1. Holding of different sports events in the form of title fights and challenge matches within the framework of planned events of national organizations and clubs globally;
organization of professional tournaments for WFKO championship of the year on national and international levels;
competitions among men, women, youth and mixed select teams;
holding of isolated bouts on invitation of different organizations and clubs.
2. Expansion and spread of the best practice and methods of education of sportsmanship in the training process; holding of seminars to enhance qualification of coaches and sportsmen;
selection of the most promising sportsmen for participation in spectacular fights on the tatami.
RULES OF TITLE BOUTS
Bouts are held in accordance with kyokushinkai fight rules for kumite with some additions approved by judge commission head.
Referees and judges
Judging panel consists of 6 judges. Judges commission chairman has a deciding vote. Four judges with one vote after every round. Referee leads the bout.
Duration of the fight
The fight consists of 5 rounds, 2 minutes each. Net time of the bout is 10 minutes. Rest 1 minute after each round.
Waza-ari (one point), Ippon (flawless victory – knock out). Waza-ari is allotted for realization of accepted technique. If a fighter who shows injury and cannot continue the bout, the referee stops the fight and starts counting. If the fighter assumes readiness position (kamaete) within count 10 and does not need doctor’s attention, the bout is continued. Ippon is stated when after realization of accepted technique the fighter cannot continue after a count of 10.
Decision on victory in a round
Every round is scored separately. The 4 judges mark in the protocol the advantage «siro», «aka» or «kikivake». The number of warnings received «chui» can influence the judges’ decision on the advantage of one of the fighters. The remark «chui-ni» means the defeat for the one who receives it in case he has no «waza-ari» mark. The remarks are disregarded in the following rounds. If a fighter receives three «waza-ari» marks within one round (which sums up to 3 points) he is pronounced the winner.
To learn more about the event being held October 24th in New York, please visit: http://www.uskyokushin.com/pdf/2015/NORTH%20AMERICA%20WFKO.pdf