Karate was developed on Okinawa Island during the early 20th century when the inhabitants were forbidden to bear weapons. Literally meaning “with empty hands” this martial art was introduced outside of Japan in the 1950’s and has now grown to over 100 million practitioners in 188 countries. 75% of worldwide participants are under 16 years and there are world championships for athletes starting from age 14. Karate is a candidate sport for the 2020 Olympic Games and is included in the Pan American Games.
- 100 million karateka (practitioners)
- Sensi – karate teacher
- Dojo – place to practice karate
- Black – highest belt colour
- Kata – forms or patterns
- Kumite – sparring
Karate consists of two events, Kata and Kumite. Kata is a series of offensive and defensive karate techniques performed against imaginary opponents and marked by a panel of judges. Kumite is a combative event between two competitors who try to dominate each other using a free combination of karate techniques. Points are scored when a technique is applied to an opponent vigorously and with precision and good form.
The BC Winter Games feature 12 and 13 year old athletes who compete in Kata and Kumite categories based on skill level and weight class. There is considerable concern for safety and there is no contact allowed to the face for junior kumite competition. The Games provide an important opportunity for development of junior national athletes and provincial officials.
Karate BC has initiated a number of unique development programs as part of the BC Winter Games including a junior coach and junior officials program.
Notable alumni include Jusleen Virk (2004 BC Winter Games) who won bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games and is an eight-time national champion.