Sport England and UK Sport must act to protect grassroots karate from World Karate Federation interference, says governing body NAKMAS
The National Association of Karate and Martial Arts Schools (NAKMAS) is warning that any Sport England-recognised National Governing Body (NGB) for Karate risks being exposed to the restrictive rules of the World Karate Federation.
While Karate England seeks NGB status to obtain much needed grant aid, NAKMAS fears that an NGB’s possible links to the World Karate Federation (WKF) will deny vital support for the grass roots of the sport and focus attention on the elite members of karate in England.
Joe Ellis, chair of NAKMAS and former President and chair of Karate England, says:
“We are gravely concerned about the threat to English karate by attempts to create an NGB and any subsequent links to WKF. WKF have sought to block grass roots participation in the sport. Approximately 85 per cent of the karate community are children in England, but WKF are keen to focus support on the 5 per cent who make up the elite.
“WKF’s inclination to impose this restrictive way of thinking on its affiliated bodies, such as the English Karate Federation, is a very real threat to the future of English Karate.
“At a time when developing sport in Britain for the future is at the forefront of our minds following the successes at the Olympics, we fear this move will be a step in the wrong direction for karate.”
Ellis’ own experience of WKF from his previous role as President of Karate England 2005 has heightened his concerns over Karate England’s attempts to gain recognition as a governing body.
Ellis points out that the WKF insists that groups affiliated to it cannot have relations to non member groups. NAKMAS regards the WKF position as discriminatory. NAKMAS’ accreditation to the Equality Standard: A Framework for Sport demonstrates NAKMAS’ view that commitment to equality in the sport is vital. NAKMAS refuses to impose such restrictions on members, which is why it cannot support an organisation which fails to make equality a central tenet of its ethos.
Joe Ellis says: “While it is understandable for Karate to seek governing status to gain vital grant aid from Sport England, that aid could largely be supporting the WKF affiliation via a focus on international participation by being channelled into the very small elite section of the karate community.
“WKF’s past interference has been so intense that when I was part of the Karate England 2005 regime we threatened to make a formal complaint to the IOC Ethics Committee via UK Sport about the WKF for breach of the IOC charter.
“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?”
NAKMAS is calling on Sport England to act and ensure that WKF interference in English karate is prevented, and for UK Sport to tackle the WKF’s anti-equality stance to non-members head on via the IOC.
Joe Ellis adds: “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.
“NAKMAS is aware that Karate England is taking advice with regard to the recent consequences of the WKF rulings on their members. NAKMAS will continue to work with Karate England to ensure grass roots karate remains a top priority and we remain on excellent terms with the organisation.”
Notes to editors:
The National Association of Karate and Martial Art Schools (NAKMAS) is a non-funded national governing body and is a member of CCPR (the Central Council of Physical Recreation). With its Head Office based in Kent, NAKMAS governs all forms of traditional and modern martial arts and has over 73,000 members within the UK.
NAKMAS is an approved insurance provider via Zurich and holds a National and International Quality Standard Certificate via the BSI (British Standards Institute). NAKMAS has also been accredited to the Equality Standard: A Framework for Sport.
Coaching awards to the standard of the NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) and UKCC (United Kingdom Coaching Certificate) are available within NAKMAS. It has an active NSPCC approved Welfare Policy (visit www.nakmas.org.uk for more information), and has launched a UK-wide anti-bullying initiative called the ‘NAKMAS Safe Kids Campaign’. It also has Registered Body status via the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) and Disclosure Scotland to check against the criminal records register.
For further information, please contact:
Joe Ellis, Chair of the NAKMAS National Governing Body
Tel: 01227 370055 / 07976 736404
Fax: 01227 370056
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