Karate Issues - Introduction

Politics are not just about Parliament, Labour, Conservative and who you vote for.

One of the Cambridge Dictionary's definitions of 'Politics' is:

the relationships within a group or organisation which allow particular people to have power over others

We think this is the closest definition for what we mean by the term 'politics' in Karate. Beyond your immediate club there is a hierarchy of authority that defines where you fit in within English Karate.

In Britain we are familiar with the system of democracy that we have evolved to govern our country, however, many organisations don't run using this system. Private companies don't - if the boss at the top says 'from now on all staff will not use email' then there is nothing employees can do. There is a hierarchy of authority where everyone knows their place from the shop floor worker to the managing director. Any orders issued pass down the chain of command. It may not be 'fair', it may be dependent on the boss being a nice person, but it is an efficient way to run an organisation.

Karate largely works on this autocratic system, at least as far as most students are aware. The Masters of any given style can issue edicts that are passed down through the ranks and are expected to be adhered to. Rules are rules - they are not open to debate. One must always respect the grade or rank over the person, from the bottom up. The rules of the Dojo are not confined to the Dojo. This is necessary for discipline and training - without it there is no Karate.

We say 'largely autocratic' because when you assemble representatives of associations (who in turn themselves represent thousands of clubs) to form a National Governing Body then democracy takes over. This can be where the fun begins . . . .

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