The establishment of the Slovak Federation of Okinawan Karate and Kobudo (SFOKK) created an environment back in the time of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic, and many of today’s SFOKK members have been working on the development of Slovak karate since the 1960s. To better understand the importance of individual steps, we will recall chronologically how we arrived at the origin and development of SFOKK.
ESTABLISHMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF KARATE IN SLOVAKIA
Establishment and development of karate in Slovakia and the establishment of the Slovak Karate Association and BU
- In September 1969, under the leadership of J. Hrabin, karate classes were established at the SZM university club, where J. Ellinger occasionally led training. There were 35 members in the circle: Šebej, Kopinič, Zemánik, Albert, Hazucha, Šimkovič, Cisár, Porázik, Schwantzerová, Divinec, Mikuš T, Mikuš M, Tokár, Ondris and others.
- Later, F. Šebej led the classes at the University of Economics in Bratislava, where they practiced, for example: Klementis, Kováč, Penthor, German, Aibek, and others.
- On January 24, 1971, the Japanese master, Takeji Ogawa, visited Bratislava for the first time on the recommendation of J. Ellinger, at that time the 3rd Dan / as of today the 10th Dan /
- On January 22, 1972, a Karate Commission was established with the Slovak Judo Association, consisting of V. Kopinič, F. Šebej. L. Klementis, P. Ondris and I. Bernátek
- On March 2, 1972, the first official karate club in Slovakia was founded in TJ Slávia Ekonóm at the University of Economics in Bratislava / Klementis, Aibek /
- This was followed by the rapid development of karate throughout Slovakia when for example in 1980, there were already 72 divisions and more than 4,700 members.
- The structure of competitions, training of coaches and referees was developed. They were first done by the Economist at Banský Studenec / seminars with master Ogawa, and the Slovak Championship in Karate began to be organized.
- In 1975, the first championships of the ČSSR were in Prague, where J. Suchal and L. Klementis won titles in Ippon shobu / and Slovak competitors won more than 70% of medals in total.
- In 1980, T. Mikuš in Barcelona and B. Mlsna in Paris won the first senior / junior medals at the European Championships in Karate
- Many board officials, coaches, referees have done a huge amount of voluntary development work, many competitors have achieved extraordinary results in international competitions.
And now a few names from the "old era"
- Klementis, Aibek, Kovalčík, Ďurža, Serdula, Suchal, Švec, Kopriva, Čižmárik, Šilhan, Horáček, Krajčovič, Šlachtovský, Beke, Stopka, Baláž, Dulanský, Turňová, Šutiak, Fleischer, Slačka, Nagyová, Štaffa,Gregor, Grman,
- Šebej, Fábry, Mráz, Lukaj, Ružič, Sahánek, Hlôška, Litomerický, Marsinová,Stupka, Illéš, Rakús, Pračko
- Šimkovič, Spišiak, Juhás, Mýtny, Mladý, Navara, , Sithová, Starinský, Pientek, Dado, Debrecký, Žák, Guťan
- Penthor, Líška, Kudlička, Morong, Ayisi, Gachulinec, Longa, Szalay,
- Kováč, Plavčan
- Divinec, Štrbák, Števček, Kreuzer, Kreuzerová, Beer, Vačok, Filo, Nemec, Pém, Škarba,
- Ondris, Strapák, Kuracina
- Lajčák M a Š, Ščury, Maťašek T. a P., Kasaj, Zakopčánik, Matyšák, Tarana,
- Farmadín R a C, Tóth, Lyžičiar, Adámek, Šalkovský, Malovecký, Raček, Ivančíková,
- Mikuš, Ambruš, Krištofík, Gašparovičová, Gašparovič, Dinič E a R, Horák, Cisár, Budiak, Zvolenský, Mogilský, Hačko, Baničová
- Trnka, Lukaj, Kindl, Turčanovci, Poliakovci, Poliaková, Dobrík, Rakoncaj, Lendacký, Búry, Katona., Polievka, Holub, Salaj, Bajúsz, Komora, Krč, Rumanovský
- Lietavec, Šenk
- Kretovič, Zlámal, Bozogáň, Hrbal, Vancákovci, Kovesdi, Merga, Valenta, Krcho
- Škoda, Čaboun, Bobela, Ihracký, Družbacký, Eichner, Melicharčík
- Duďák, Daniel, Jarabek, Hudáček, Baláž
- Smejkal V, Smejkal M
- Krištof, Ráchela Ľ. a A., Šály, Homola, Graus, Šimkovič
- Krajňák, Drobňák, Benko,
Establishment and development of the Slovak Karate Federation - SFK and BU
The situation in the Slovak Karate Association also copied the situation in society and Karate was politically quite undesirable and some of our members were monitored by ŠTB for their contacts with sensei Ogawa, but mainly because Alexander Dubček’s son – Paľo also trained in our ranks / we refused to exclude him from of our ranks / People who cooperated with ŠTB reported us. After the European Championships in 1989 in Titograd, we were even reported by the president of our union at the Central Committee of the CPSU. The situation was unbearable which later resulted in the velvet revolution. In 1990 they founded a new organization – the Slovak Karate Federation / hereinafter SFK /. It was a bold decision, with the risk that the old structure of sports and officials was established here, and therefore did not have an understanding for such an approach. But time has shown that this was the right decision.
Establishment and development of the Slovak Federation of Okinawan Karate and Kobudo – SFOKK
The first encounter with Okinawan karate was in the eighties of the 20th century in Prague where Takao Nakaya taught us Kururunfu (Klementis, Magyar, Toth M.).
Later at the European Championships “ME” Goju ryu we met Hiromi Suzuki, who lived in Sweden and was a student of Eiichi Miyazata. We also invited him to Slovakia and started training Jundokan.
We also got to a large international camp in Italy (Klementis, Magyar, Šoltésová, Trokanová). The training was led by Yoshio Hichiya, Rioichi Onaga, Hiromi Suzuki, and Hisao Sunagana. At that time, we decided to take this path and we wanted to become members as well, but they did not answer our request, so we kept looking.
We also met Katherine Loukopoulos from Greece, who trained at Matsubaya shi ryu and lived in Okinawa for 14 years. Thanks to her, we received an invitation to the Karate and Kobudo World Cup in Okinawa, which we attended. We attended all Goju ryu seminars there, led by Choyu Kiyuna, assisted by Sensei Oshiro. His seminars led us to decide to join KOKUSAI GOJU RYU KARATE KOBUDO RENMEI.
The establishment of the Slovak Federation of Okinawan Karate and Kobudo “SFOKK” is the result of the development in the Slovak Federation of Karate and Martial Arts “SFKaBU”, which was and is focused on sports karate and part of the membership lacked training based on traditional karate.
Based on this information, and an initiative from Ing. Ladislav Klementis, a preparatory committee consisting of Klementis, Debrecký, Divinec, Klementisová was established in 2000, and on October 2, 2000, an application for registration of a new organization was sent to the Ministry of the Interior of the Slovak Republic. On October 11, 2000, the registration of the Slovak Federation of Okinawan Karate and Kobudo “SFOKK” was confirmed under the number VVS / 1-900 / 90-17361. In the beginning, only individuals who were also members of SFKaBU were members of SFOKK simutaniously.
In 2002, we trained again under the leadership of Sensei Kiyuna, composed of Divinec, Klementis, and Miro Ostertág. During a break, Sensei Gushi came to us and offered us the opportunity to become members of KOKUSAI GOJU RYU KARATE KOBUDO RENMEI (International Federation of Goju ryu karate and kobudo based in Okinawa). Due to the fact that SFKaBU was and is a sports organization, which was not acceptable for them after mutual agreement, after returning from Okinawa, we submitted an application on 15 May 2002 as SFOKK to the then President, Sensei Kurashit. In the autumn of that year, they verbally confirmed to us at a dinner that we have been accepted as members (KOKUSAI GOJU RYU RENMEI KARATE KOBUDO) International Federation of Goju Ryu Karate and Kobudo based in Okinawa.
Stage of Okinawan karate development in Slovakia
Cooperation with KOKUSAI GOJU RYU RENMEI KARATE KOBUDO (hereinafter RENMEI) meant for us:
- comprehensive system and perspective
- we found great teachers, karate of masters, kobudo and friends
- we have all found new motivation
- we got to know Okinawa, its history, traditions, culture, crafts, food and people with good hearts, positive energy and modesty
SFOKK has become a professional and organizational guarantor of cooperation with RENMEI
Great development has taken place in the following areas:
- The training took place in the following order: instructors, trainers, trainees
- Methodological materials were developed (Klementis, Šebej)
- every year summer camps were organized together with Okinawan masters (Bratislava, Chtelnica, Mošovce, Liptovský Mikuláš, Žilina, Zvolen)
- the pinnacle of systemic learning was learning during training sessions in Okinawa
- teaching was coordinated centrally (seminars, exams – Klementis, Divinec, Klementis, Dado, Kreuzer, Kayser)
- the existing test regulations were supplemented by a part of a test focused on Okinawan karate and later kobudo
- kobudo development – in 2012, the first big rehearsals were held at the Mošovce camp with the participation of sensei Matayoshi, who was enthusiastic about organizing tests with a demonstration.
- Gradually, the number of coaches / athletes who went to study in Okinawa (Kayser, Ostertág, Magyar, Aďa Klementisová, Linda Malíková, Julka Raabová, Štefák, Kocsiš, Mirka Talacko, Merga)
- That Resulted into winning multiple titles on Major World events and World and European Championships (WTKA, WKC, ITKF, EGKF, WGKF, WUKF)
- It should be noted that Okinawan karate is a long and challenging journey and does not suit all of the younger generations and coaches in the field of sports (fast results)
- Our instructors (Klementis, Ostertág, Dado, Kayser and others ..) helped to expand Okinawan karate / kobudo to other countries such as the Czech Republic, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Canada, China, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Spain)
Stage of change in the development of Okinawan karate in Slovakia
Without prior consultation with the Slovakian side, RENMEI allowed clubs and organizations to register as members of RENMEI on their own, which meant that people started to work in Okinawa in an uncoordinated manner and that learning information stopped being shared.
There have been personnel changes and coordination of karate and kobudo learning at SFKaBU.
The result of these factors are:
- ending the unified system of learning Okinawan karate and kobudo
- joint international camps are not organized
- information obtained from individual learning is not shared
- withdrew from the IPPON SHOBU kumite system
- kumite training has been changed to athletic training without an emphasis on functionality
- kobudo is not being developed
- the kata learning system has adapted to the conditions of sports karate
- little emphasis is placed on self-defense exercises and bunkai kata
- central learning and divided into several centers (Honbu dojo Klementis, Duvikan Divinec, Martin Štefák, Gojukai BA Dado Klementisova, Dubnica Labo, Seiwa BA Kayser, Snina Merga)
- Two important senseis (Seitoky Matayoshi and Yuzuru Oshiro) died
- In 2019, karate in Slovakia was affected by a pandemic and interfered in all learning activities, and caused the cessation of cooperation with Okinawa (impossibility to travel to seminars).
The above information moves us all into thinking about continuing the process of unifying Slovak karate, because together we are strong and unstoppable. At SFOKK, we are open to cooperating with all organizations associating karate athletes throughout Slovakia.