All opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily express the opinion of the EKF.
The recent press release from NAKMAS is most interesting for its “disinformation” rather than its factual content. I’ll try and keep my comments as brief as possible.
- The EKF is the only group that has the mandate of the BKF, EKF (European Karate Federation) and WKF, the only International Karate Organisation recognised by the IOC (International Olympic Committee).
- The group now known as Karate England has applied at all the above levels to seek affiliation and been rejected.
- The EKF is democratically appointed whereas the group now known as Karate England is self-appointed.
- Joe Ellis was a former President and Chair of the now defunct and bankrupt KE(2005) Ltd during which time his organisation NAKMAS registered NO MEMBERS with this “governing body”.
- Since its inception the EKF members have on many occasions debated and unanimously voted to accept the rules and regulations of the WKF and like joining any club if you don’t like the rules then don’t join or join and democratically attempt to change the members opinion. I would point out that with over 54 million karate members of the national recognised bodies throughout the world accepting the WKF format, it would appear that NAKMAS has an uphill battle.
- The EKF has continued to grow over the past 2 years and can show tangible results of its steady progress. Teams have been sent to compete in WKF Championships at all levels and in all categories in Finland, Estonia, Trieste, Estonia, Turkey and now in Tokyo in Nov. All of this without a penny from Sport England and all the EKF funds raised from sponsors who believe in the EKF and what it stands for.
- A number of attempts have been made to unite the EKF and the other groups all of which have come to nothing as the EKF has stated numerous times “The door to the EKF is always open to those who will abide by its constitution”. The EKF is not prepared to accept any “loaded” affiliations that would discriminate against the smaller groups and as it has shown over the past 2 years it is continuing to grow with 5 more groups applying in August for membership of the EKF. As to an audit of members the EKF is transparent and its membership numbers can be verified whereas I’m not too sure how many Karate members NAKMAS has in its umbrella organisation? I can say unequivacobly that the EKF is receiving an increasing number of applications from NAKMAS members and from other members of Karate England.
- Lets compare where English Karate has moved over the past 2 years since the demise of KE(2005) Ltd.
Karate has split into 2 main factions, the EKF and the group now known as Karate England. The EKF has advanced on all fronts from its membership numbers, election of board members, to the efficacy of its website to its participation in National, BKF, European & World Championships.
What has Karate England done over the same period ? Not too much as I see it, other than try and try again to get funds from Sport England & UK Sport. To quote Joe Ellis, “While Karate England seeks NGB status to obtain much needed grant aid”. I can’t see how any unelected body can apply for funds without demonstrating up front its ability to use its own money democratically. with accountability. The next step as I see it would be for a matched funds scenario, where any group applying for funds would over a period of 1-3 years put up a reasonable amount say £100,000 a year to be matched by the Government over the same period by the same amount. This would generate confidence and initiative on all fronts. A lot has been promised by Karate England but very little other than rhetoric has been delivered.
- Now to Joe Ellis’s comment. “We have heard from our members that the English Karate Federation, a provisional WKF member, has told some NAKMAS clubs to end their NAKMAS membership or face having their tournament participation rights revoked. Is that really the way to nurture future talent ?.”
Can I respectfully ask if everything is rosy in NAKMAS why are many of their members applying to join the EKF ? Can it be that NAKMAS and the Karate England group are finding it increasingly difficult to find a platform for their members to compete and that because they will not accept the EKF constitution we must all change our ideas to suit them?
- “There is a reason why NAKMAS remains independent from the likes of WKF. We are experienced at grass roots karate and martial arts in general and any commitment to an external body such as WKF will hinder our aim for grass roots development across the board.” states Joe Ellis, I think it's simple - if NAKMAS doesn’t want to be a member of the EKF or WKF that’s perfectly alright, that’s democracy but it should not attempt to alter, interfere or obstruct those karate groups that have elected to accept the WKF mandate and all that goes with it. You can not have everyone affiliated to any and every so called “World Organisation” - its not realistic, practical or safe.
Finally, 2 years on from the KE(2005) Ltd debacle there are still Karate groups in England that are not affiliated to either the EKF or Karate England. All I can say is judge for yourself, who has delivered what? Which group can best satisfy your needs and which group gives you a democratic vote to change things?
12th September 2008
The opinions expressed in this article are solely the personal thoughts of Terry Wingrove and do NOT express the opinion or intentions of the EKF and/or its members.