World OutGames: Karate

Photo Credit: Andrew Delaware
Karate Quebec president Caroline took a moment with RealJock to give us a behind the scenes look at the competition. We listened with open ears.

What has your involvement been as a governing body with this competition?
As president of Karate Quebec, I was approached to run the event during the OutGames. We obviously said yes, it is a wonderful opportunity to train our athletes, our officials, our staff and volunteers. This being the first OutGames, it is great to be a part of history as well. People here really enjoyed themselves, and that's what counts.

For someone who is unfamiliar with karate as a sport, what are the most important things to look for when watching a karate competition?
There are two very specific types of events during a karate competition. First, there are the katas, which are routines. You can compare them to gymnastic routines, for example. And then there is the kumite, the fighting. The kata is an individual display of technique. When we judge a kata, we look at the presence, the charisma of the competitor, as well as his technique: his posture, his strength, his explosion, how he moves about on the floor.

When you watch the kumite, it is obviously one against the other, so you've got two competitors moving around, fighting, exchanging techniques, trying to score and not get scored upon. There also, you have to look at the technique, posture, spirit, and attitude. You always have to have a high level of sportsmanship, and a good attitude. I think that is most important.

For new competitors, what is the most important thing for them to remember when they are competing in a new environment?
To relax. They have to relax because when you are tense, that's when you get hurt or make a mistake. So competitors need to learn how to breathe and relax. It's key to know how to relax your body and your mind, while keeping focus and intensity.