Please do not take this as a feminist speech! Read words as they are.
Recent months have been filled with so much emotion around large international tournaments. The Kyokushin Women page paid attention to a difference in the size of the trophy for men and women. This has been the way for a long time, but recently the new *Canadian Prime Minister said: “Because it’s 2015” so I do not want to remain silent. No matter if you like women when they fight or not, or you approve of women training karate, please, respect each one of us, respect the work that we do.
I can write a lot about it, but I do not want to sound too feminist, because there is no question about it, it’s about RESPECT. @nadin4ep
Autumn time has come upon us and my favourite part of the year, the start of the Kyokushin Knockdown tournament season. This year like every 4 years was special, as the KWU world tournament, ShinKyokyushin world championships and the IKO world championships were all being held in the space of a few short weeks.
This gives me an opportunity to watch some of my favourite exciting fighters in action such as Valeri Dimitrov, Artem Nazaratyean, Goderzi Kapanadze, Aelita Alekseeva, Maria Lepina, Emi Shoguchi, Csenge Szesepi, Uliana Grebenschikova and Elena Gulko to name a few.
I was extremely disappointed to see the Ladies not being treated the same in some of these competitions, with less prize money and smaller trophies compared to the male competitors. I was glad to see the KWU world championships treating both males and females the same with same size trophies but I am sad to see this not the case for one or two other competitions this season.
I see Kyokushin Women as equal to the Male Karateka as we fight under the same rules, fight the same rounds and complete the same training. There are incredible female fighters who have paved the way for all current and aspiring fighters to look up to. These include Margarita Ciuplyte, Misaki Sato and Veronica Szvotes who’s accolades and talent are something to be aspired too by both genders.
As a competitor and a fan. I know how hard both men and women work and there is no difference. We put in the same hours, work the same in training and work just as hard as the male competitors.
I am just asking the question why are we not treated as equal? A simple question to which I do not know the answer
Whilst away last weekend fighting in France, I was stunned to find myself in a position where the trophies for the winners of the women’s categories were smaller than the men’s. A first place ladies trophy was actually smaller than a third place men’s one. “What’s this about?” I asked myself. Ladies fighting in karate competitions has been the norm for years now. How could one person take away a smaller trophy for a higher achievement than another simply because one is female and one is male?
I’ve been really lucky in my fighting career not to have come across too many scenarios like this. Of course, I’ve previously overheard comments akin to ‘oh the women are fighting now, lets go and get a drink.’ And now I come to think of it, why did I let those comments wash over me, rather than making my point?
After this weekend I felt compelled to spend a little time thinking about where we are in terms of sexism in sport, and also sexism in the health and fitness sector in general.
A simple Google search of ‘sexism in health and fitness’ returns so many pages that I didn’t know where to start.
Why would I ever expect less of my female clients than male ones? I wouldn’t. But similarly – I wouldn’t expect more of them either. I’d expect the same. Physical strength has little to do with it. Yes, as we all know, there are biological differences between men and women. But the traits that make up a fit, healthy individual, things like determination, desire, focus, finding pleasure in healthy foods and working out, are traits that everyone can find and nurture across the board.
Afterall, I’m a personal trainer and I like to train men and women. I’m a karateka and I like to train with men and women. I’m also a fighter and I like to watch men and women fight. It’s that simple. People are people, end of story.
Here is some tournaments with the same trophies
And many many more….
If you read this, thank you for that :) Osu!
*Asked why he went with gender equality in his cabinet, Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau said: “Because it’s 2015.” (November 4, 2015)