European Karate Championship – Shinkyokushin 2023

A historic event, The European Karate Championship Shinkyokushin 2023 was held in Sweden – for the first time. Sweden proven to be a Full Contact Karate nation at a respectable level for many years – what about organizing such big event?

1st April, the date for the European Championship in Sweden Shinkyokushin. The venue: Partille arena, was a really perfect venue. The size of the arena fit the event perfect, and this is almost a new arena (finished in 2016) This means that ventilation, sound attenuation (echo reduction) parking and location of the venue are at today’s standard.

Another great thing, was that the the spectators seats in the hall were close to the match area, which meant that you got in touch with the matches as a spectator – instead of being distanced from it all. If the feeling is to watch “ant-fight” far down on the floor, then you lose interest. The alternative is the big screen, and if you are going to watch on a screen, you might as well stay at home and watch the live stream instead.

As the tournament progressed, it was seen that things went off without a hitch. A little behind schedule was the case, but no more than what you are used to. There were also no unnecessary breaks, which keep the interest of the audience up – and the focus of everyone involved. The only thing that could be questioned, was the Tatamis. It looks like them was slippery – and if they where new, it is a command problem. That there are equal conditions for all participants is probably true, but we are more concerned with preventing injuries, such as e.g. ligament and cruciate ligament injuries. This, however, in the extreme, which was not the case this time.

The European Championship 2023 was a success, and beyond any doubts this was a well organized major tournament with all factors included. What the organizer them self got as an impression would be interesting to know – the top question would be: “Do you want to do this again?”  Please do so, Sweden!

It is a healthy sign for an organisation that events like the EC moves around. There will always be some nations with more capacity, but when the different tasks and responsibility are shared between the members, all feel a stronger ownership as well. It is important for all environment (if it possible) to hold a event as the EC. This will increase the activity, and of course make the full-contact Karate more visible – promoting, and present for a larger group.

If we take a short look back for ten years, we have this statistic:

  • 2013 – Switzerland – (Romania / Open weight)
  • 2014 – Azerbaijan – (Lithuania / Open weight)
  • 2015 – Poland
  • 2016 – Georgia – (Bulgaria / Open weight)
  • 2017 – Denmark
  • 2018 – Poland (Hungary / Open weight)
  • 2019 – Lithuania (Czech Republic / Open weight women qualify to WC)
  • 2020 – Not held
  • 2021 – Georgia – (Lithuania / Open weight)
  • 2022 – Poland – (Poland / Open weight)
  • 2023 – Sweden (24/6 Hungary / Open weight women qualify to WC)

We add the Open Weight EC in this list as well, and it could be an idea for some nations that want to organize a EC to look at the possibilities to organize an Open Weight, since the size of an open weight would be a little more moderate to handle – or to try out, if it’s the first time to organize such a great event.

For nations with other sports than Full Contact Karate dominating the picture, it will be very important to be more visible. It is harder for the press to overlook a European Championship than a National Open as an example. But again – one must have the capacity to pull it off.

The balance 

To keep a steady progress, and at the same time develop a healthy growth, the championship scheduled must be balanced. No one can have major tournament and championships monthly – still lifting the level. It is also a point to keep the fame and value in the tittles and trophies. If one can get a championship tittle “every week”, or without fighting due to poor categories it will all fade away.

Being rooted in Japan is extremely important. The fact that you have the World Open Championship every 4 years, in Japan – the home of Karate, gives an optimal tip of the total. If you practice Karate, then there must be a goal, a dream to travel to Japan, train in Japan and even fight in Japan – the home of Karate.

Photo by shsz media szutor csaba. Full media set on the official FB site SHINKYOKUSHIN MARTIAL ARTS FEDERATION HUNGARY  album