TOP karatekas from 15 countries strut their wares beginning on Saturday in the 2nd International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF) World Shoto Cup Karate Championships at the Waterfront Hotel ballroom in Cebu City.
Considered the “Olympics of Karate” by its exponents, the quadrennial martial arts event sponsored by Smart and Unilever 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 percent of karatekas worldwide,” national coach David Lay, the ISKF country director for the Philippines, said.
Lay said no less than Japanese ISKF chairman and co-founder, Master Teruyuki Okazaki, will be one of the 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.
Among the national team members who will see action in the tournament are Filipino-American OJ delos Santos, Maybel Arevalo, Princess Sycangco, Byron Fontillas, 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 against entries from the US, Iran, South Africa, Iran, New Zealand, Lebanon, Israel, Australia and India, among others.