MANILA, Philippines -- Top karatekas from 15 countries worldwide strut their wares when they plunge into action Saturday in the 2nd International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) World Shoto Cup Karate Championships at the Waterfront Hotel ballroom in Cebu City.
Held every four years and considered the “Olympics of Karate” by its exponents, the blue-ribbon martial arts event will feature competitions in the junior (8 to 17 years old) adult (18-44) and senior (45-above) categories in both men’s and women’s divisions.
“Shotokan karate emphasizes broad stances, power moves and is considered the most popular style that is practiced by at least 70 % of karatekas worldwide,” national coach David Lay, the ISKF country director for the Philippines, said in a statement.
He disclosed that no less than Japanese ISKF chairman and co-founder, Master Teruyuki Okazaki, will be one of the honored guests during the two-day event.
Lay noted that among the prominent Shotokan practitioners is Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC light-heavyweight champion Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida.
Machida’s Japanese father, Yoshizo, is a Shotokan karate master who travelled to Brazil when he was 22 years old, married a Brazilian, and put up roots there.
He added that among the national team members who will see action in the tournament are Filipino-American OJ delos Santos, Maybel Arevalo, Princess Sycangco, Byron Fontillas and Dustin Yap and Princess Ylana.
The Philippine contingent consists of 80 athletes who will be competing in the junior, adult and senior events featuring both kata (form) and kumite (sparring) contests.
The event is sponsored by Smart and Unilever.
“We see karate as a sport where Filipinos can excel and it isn’t every day that the country gets a chance to host a prestigious karate tournament like the ISKF World Shoto Cup,” said Smart Sports executive Epok Quimpo for the reason behind their support of the event.
Lay thanked Smart for backing the championships that has drawn participants from countries such as the US, Iran, South Africa, Iran, New Zealand, Lebanon, Israel, Australia and India, among others.
“Smart has been our partner for the past two years including the launching of the successful Smart Karate Kid series and the 2011 Okazaki Cup,” Lay said.
Among the sidelights in the ISK World Shoto Cup will be karate clinics for those who might be interested in the sport, Philippine Karate Federation (PKF) secretary general Raymund Reyes said.