Karate championships happening in Richmond

By Matthew Cheung

Published 2:20 PST, Fri November 25, 2022

Last Updated: 4:07 PST, Thu December 22, 2022

The 2022 Canada Open Karate Championships are taking place at Richmond Olympic Oval early next month. 

Organized by Karate BC, the event will begin with an opening ceremony on Dec. 3, followed by a kobudō competition and non-elite competition. The second day, Dec. 4, will feature the Para-Karate competition and elite competition. 

“It feels great to get people back into regular routines and participate in sport in a more normal way. Karate tournaments like the Canada Open are a great way to reinvigorate people’s spirits. We are looking forward to welcoming the world to Richmond and all that it has to offer,” says Karate BC president Andreas Kuntze. 

Spectators can watch the event by purchasing a spectator ticket at the admissions desk or watching from home through Karate BC’s YouTube channel. An adult ticket is $10 per day; a ticket for a senior, child, or youth is $5 per day. Children aged six and younger can watch for free. 

Over 500 athletes, coaches, and referees from Canada and around the world are expected to participate in this year’s event. In the past, the event has seen participants from the United States, Mexico, Japan, England, France, Slovakia, and India. The event features kata, kumite,
kobudō, and Para-Karate competition categories for participants of all ages and skill levels. 

Karate is a martial arts discipline consisting of kicking, striking, and defensive blocking with arms and legs. It places emphasis on concentrating the body’s power at the point of impact. 

Karate was introduced in Canada by Masami Tsuruoka who had studied in Japan under Tsuyoshi Chitose. In 1954, Tsuruoka initiated the first karate competition in Canada, laying down the foundation for the National Karate Association. In 1963, the National Karate Association was officially created, and has since changed its name to Karate Canada. 

Kata competitors perform a series of movements that simulate defense and counterattack in front of a panel of judges. 

Kumite features a one-on-one sparring competition in front of a panel of judges, in which athletes spar to reach an eight-point advantage within the three-minute round. Points are scored when a contestant has scored a clean “killing” point. 

Kobudō, like kata in style, is a martial arts that focuses on the weapons training of traditional Okinawan weapons. Participants are judged on their form and technique by a panel of judges who have been trained prior. 

Para-Karate, a parallel form of karate for athletes with a disability, will also be featured at the upcoming tournament. It consists of four kata divisions for junior and senior participants: intellectually impaired, wheelchair users, blind and visually impaired, and standing mobility impaired. 

The Canada Open Karate Championships is marking its first event since the pandemic. 

“COVID has certainly affected the participation of karate across the province. We lost a few clubs, but most survived the pandemic, and we are at about 75 per cent of pre-COVID numbers at this point. We are hopeful that participation among competitive athletes will be about the same by the end of the year,” says Kuntze. 

Karate BC is excited to be able to host this year’s event and looks forward to seeing participants from all around the world. 

“This tournament is also a warmup for our association, as we are bringing a World Karate Federation event to Richmond in April of 2023 (that) will bring the top athletes in the world to compete. You may even see some Olympians compete at the event,” says Kuntze. 

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