The World Karate Organization held its international championships at Mohawk College in Brantford on the weekend of October 15-17, celebrating the best in the sport from around the globe.

The championship was brought to Brantford on a bid to host by Don Warrener’s Martial Arts Academy, with Sensei David Turkoski acting as host.

Turkoski says that the tournament was a definite success overall, with a strong focus on karate in the traditional sense as opposed to sport fighting.

“Once you walk across the threshold, you don’t know the other person.

Now you start sweating and you get to see how you will perform under stress,” says Turkoski. “That basically is the basis for tournaments in a nutshell. It’s not about medals, it’s not about a trophy, it’s about how you perform under stress.”

With most of the competition coming from the Americas, Turkoski said that the level of competition was top-notch. Teams came from across Canada and the US, as well as Brazil, Barbados and Sweden to name a few.

Some teams, however, were unable to make it, which could have added some different competition, said Turkoski.

“We had a lot of teams that were registered and supposed to come from Kenya, India, Lebanon and Pakistan, but they didn’t book their visas early enough,” says Turkoski. “International competition is a bit tricky to get competition now from the third world nations.”

Overall, Turkoski says the tournament was “a good strong showing,” but does joke that he wishes the federal government were a little more lenient in providing visas for the less developed nations.

He says some of the highlights included the very traditional attitude of the Brazil teams and an 80-year old sensei from Bermuda, who is a World War II veteran. He was able to place 2nd in forms for men with fifth degree black belt and higher.

Not only was the event interesting in the actual competition but it offered the international teams some Canadian flare.

The championships were officially kicked off with an RCMP guard march, and a speech from Brantford Lord Mayor Walter Gretzky, on the subject of sportsmanship.

The championships mark the first time in Canada since 1996 when they were held in Hamilton, and the first time that the WKO has even held a tournament in eight years.

As Turkoski explains, the founder of the WKO, Dr. Ennio Falsoni of Italy, felt that he was being pulled in two directions because of his affiliation with both WKO and the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO). Falsoni decided to put his efforts into WAKO, and the WKO somewhat disbanded, marking the Brantford championships as the first since WKO President Don Warrener revived the organization.