WORLD KARATE FEDERATION (WKF)
European Karate Federation holds a special position in the World Karate Federation. And it is not accidental, that the president of WKF. It is related with the tremendous role, which European karate movement had played in establishment of the World Karate Federation.
The Japanese martial art karate began to spread in countries of Europe shortly after the end of WWII. The first propagandists of karate were Japanese instructors, who were in Europe, as the fate willed. They were ready to teach their art to their new students, but they did not care about creating national and international karate organizations, as in other sports. But their European students gradually came to understand the necessity of national organizations, and later of an international one.
France was the initiator of joining up of karate organizations of European countries. In 1963 Jacques Delcourt, the president of French Karate Association, invited to Paris representatives of 7 countries of Europe, where karate at that time was developing most actively. As a result, on the 15th of December 1963 in Paris the 1st European Karate Congress with the participation of representatives of France, Belgium and Great Britain took place. At the Congress the state of karate in Europe, and prospects of its development, as well, as proposals of refereeing unification were considered.
The Congress initiated annual meetings of representatives of national karate organizations of European countries, number of which grew steadily. The 3rd European Karate Congress took place on the 21st of November 1965. The Congress made his historical decision to establish the European Karate Union (EKU). Jacques Delcourt was unanimously elected EKU president. Take a note, that the Japanese Karatedo Federation (1964).
Next year, on the 7th of May 1966, in Paris the 1st European Championship was held, it has opened the long sequence of annual European Championships.
Rapid development of sport karate in the whole world put on agenda the question of establishment of intercontinental international organization. In 1970 the World Union of Karate Organizations (WUKO) was created. The president of Japanese Karatedo Federation Ryoichi Sasakawa became its president, and Jacques Delcourt – its chairman.
On the 10th of October 1970 the 1st World Championship, organized by WUKO, took place in Tokyo. On the eve of the Championship the 1st WUKO Congress was held. In such a way the greatest tournaments in sport karate with the participation of hundreds of the strongest karatekas of tens of countries and the World Karate Congress were initiated.
Even though during the 1st World Championship Japanese fighters won gold and silver medals (only kumite in open weight category was present at that time), to give only bronze to Carnio from Canada, in the following championships European athletes have leaded.
In 1985 WUKO was officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee and began an active work in order to make karate an Olympic sport.
Changes in rules of competitions in order to make them more fascinating and easy to understand for the audience, to make refereeing more objective led to the reorganization of WUKO, and to establishment in 1999 on its basis of a new organization – the World Karate Federation (WKF).
EUROPEAN KARATE FEDERATION (EKF)
The members of European Karate Federation (EKF) are national organizations of 53 countries of Europe, plus Israel and Turkmenistan. The President of the Federation is a Spain representative Antonio Espinos.
European Karate Federation is a member of the World Karate Federation (WKF), which, as a standing member of the International Olympic Committee with the membership of 183 countries, works actively to make karate an Olympic sport. Recognized by as an “International Federation” (IF), WKF is the only organization that has right to represent karate in International Olympic Committee.
EKF holds annually three major tournaments: European Karate Championship, European Youth and Cadets Championship and the Tournament of Champions. European karateka are leaders in the world, and most world champions are representatives of various countries of Europe. That is why the 39th European Karate Championship, which is to be held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan Republic, can be without any exaggeration seen as the meeting of the world’s sport karate elite on the highest technical level.
KARATE WKF IN AZERBAIJAN
Karate WKF began to develop actively in our country after creation of the National Karate Federation of Azerbaijan. We were full member of World Karate Federation (WKF) in 1997, but the official representative of the WKF is Yashar Bashirov who is the president of National Karate Federation, excellent sportsman and organizer, Candidate of Biological Sciences, double-ply holder of the World Cup, World and European champion, Sport Master with international degree, Honoured coach, holds 7th dan black belt .
Azerbaijan National Team is one of the strongest teams in Europe and in the world. During the past time our karatekas showed splendid results in World and European Championships repeatedly. National team consists of world-wide stars: repeated European and World champion, winner of The World Games Rafael Aghayev, Cadets and Juniors World Champion Israfil Shirinov, Aykhan Mamayev, European champions Ceyhun Aghasiyev, Rustəm Mədətov, Niyazi Aliyev, Fayyaz Ildirimzade, bronze prize-winners of the European Championships Amal Atayev, Shahin Atamov and Rashad Huseynov.
WKF president Antonio Espinos sent letter to Mr. President Ilham Aliyev repeatedly and let to know in these letters that he was proud of successes of Azerbaijan karatekas. He came to Azerbaijan for the first time in 2003 as honorary guest of the first “President cup” dedicated Heydar Aliyev's 80th anniversary, held on WKF rules.
For the successes of our sportsmen on the world arena and for personal contribution to development of karate in Azerbaijan, Antonio Espinos gave to Ilham Aliyev 8th dan black belt during the reception. It is the highest dan degree in the territory of CIS countries. At the solemn inauguration ceremony of “President cup” 7th dan black belt was given to Yashar Bashirov, the President of National Karate Federation. Was emphasized his ability to create the team consisted of professional sportsmen and coaches during the short time and organizational abilities.
"Azerbaijan is the member of WKF few years in all, but during this time your sportsmen had achieved grandiose successes, especially Cadets & Juniors European and World championships. It is known that it is very difficult to get good result in championships of WKF, unlike style directions. In spite of this your sportsmen shine on international tatami, - said Antonio Espinos.
Granting the right of to hold the 39th Karate European Cadets & Juniors Championships to our country is evidence of recognition of Azerbaijan karate's achievements.