English Karate Structure - Introduction
In our experience many people including students, parents and even instructors do not have a clear idea of the structure of English Karate.
We should state from the outset that two important points apply to this area of Karate. Firstly, the structure is both complex and dynamic, that is it changes often. For example, it is currently the subject of very big changes at the top for the second time in the last ten years. Secondly, it is not essential to know about the structure! It only becomes an issue if you find your grading progress in Karate limited, or if you begin to wonder how you might represent England internationally . . .
All sports (for the sake of this section we will call Karate a 'sport') have Governing Bodies and a well-defined structure. Governing Bodies have many roles including overseeing the regulations affecting the sport and representing the sport in communications with international organisations and domestic funding bodies. For most people cricket is cricket and tennis is tennis, Formula 1 is Formula 1 etc. If you are good enough you end up playing for your club, your county and then your country. Most people have some idea of the hierarchy of progress in popular sports.
In all other sports if you say you are going to the world championships in the England team it is fair to assume you have reached the top of your game. It's not that clear cut in Karate!
There is some assumption that Karate is singular, or unified like other 'sports', after all it has been well established in the UK for over 50 years and has a lot of impressive sounding international organisations offering governance. After all, it's hardly a new fringe or extreme sport involving motorised skateboards. However, it's far less unified than you might imagine!
To date all efforts by various Karate National Governing Bodies to secure recognition or funding through Sport England has proved fruitless. Therefore Karate, in England, currently has no official Government recognition.