Ayumi Uekusa is expected to compete at this summer's virus-delayed Tokyo Olympics Photo: AFP/File
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Japanese karate official quits over bullying claim

20 Comments

A Japanese karate official will quit after being accused of bullying a champion set to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, he has told a local newspaper.

Masao Kagawa, the technical director of the Japan Karatedo Federation, told the Nikkan Sports daily he was quitting after injuring former world champion Ayumi Uekusa in a training drill.

Uekusa says he hit her in the face with a bamboo sword and accuses him of bullying, claiming he frequently shouted at her and admonished her about her private life.

The athlete, who will compete in the women's over 61 kg kumite category as karate makes its Olympic debut this summer, has lodged a complaint with the federation over the alleged abuse.

Both Uekusa and Kagawa testified before an ethics commission last week, with the federation finding that she had been left with a bruised eye because of Kagawa's "very dangerous" training methods.

The federation said in a statement that it would decide on a punishment, but Kagawa has reportedly now informed them of his intention to quit as technical director and board member.

"I take complete responsibility," Kagawa told Nikkan Sports late Tuesday. "In order to bring the matter to a close quickly, I'm resigning from all my positions at the Japan Karatedo Federation."

Kagawa admitted using a bamboo sword as part of Uekusa's training, with the aim of forcing her to dodge his swings and thrusts.

He claimed he never set out to injure her intentionally, but took responsibility for "a breakdown of trust".

Uekusa, a world champion in 2016, has accused Kagawa of damaging her self-esteem and leaving her unable to train because of stress.

"Meeting my instructor became so tough, bursting into floods of tears on my way to the dojo became part of my daily life," she wrote on her blog on March 28. "Training was such a stifling environment that I suffered mental stress, and there were times when I couldn't go to training and just stayed at home."

It is the latest "power harassment" scandal to hit Japanese sport, with the country's wrestling federation apologizing to four-time Olympic champion Kaori Icho in 2018 over bullying claims.

The Japan Karatedo Federation did not immediately reply to a request for comment Wednesday.

© 2021 AFP

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
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Kagawa admitted using a bamboo sword as part of Uekusa's training, with the aim of forcing her to dodge his swings and thrusts.

I trained for a few years of karate and we never used any such methods. Instructors were always careful to avoid injuries. Sounds like he made the right choice to resign.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

One might almost say that Kagawa got the chop.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Bungle, someone must have told him to "wax off".

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

He's done the honorable thing. In the past it might have involved a little more, perhaps.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It’s just a lost generation, in general and here in this case too. They want success, money, fame and medals but do nothing that is necessary to reach those goals. Participating in the Olympics and winning medals there usually for decades has demanded for giving up yourself, your rights, your health, your pride, taking in harsh treatment, medications, loud words, beats, injuries and more. They just can’t stand that anymore and if they could they are nowadays educated and influenced such, not to accept anything they don’t like, not even the slightest. Even friendly offering a candy after a training lesson would be immediately turned into physical or sexual offend , bullying, harassment and so on. If that trainer just had done very much below average, for example showing her only some old karate training videos with bamboo swords (although I don’t know actually if that ever had been part of training) via zoom to her living room’s monitor, nothing would have happened to her physically and both careers still possible. (although she wouldn’t probably get a medal straight from sitting on her couch at home)

-20 ( +1 / -21 )

My master use to punch, kick and throw and broke my nose and couple of times, I hated him" but it paid off in a "Death Match" on some island in the pacific back in the 70's...I came back alive...Bolo didn't make it

-6 ( +5 / -11 )

But he was the one who told everyone to be strong and never give up. What happen dog?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Real tough guy, bullying and hitting women with sticks. This went way beyind sparring, and became physical abuse.

Good riddance, old loser.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

If that trainer just had done very much below average, for example showing her only some old karate training videos with bamboo swords (although I don’t know actually if that ever had been part of training) via zoom to her living room’s monitor, nothing would have happened to her physically and both careers still possible. (although she wouldn’t probably get a medal straight from sitting on her couch at home)

huh?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It's a step in the right direction. There are many more like him beating on the younger dojo members. Let's let go of the abuse culture that clings to martial arts.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

All of my martial arts teachers did techniques hard on me: strikes kicks throws locks.

NONE of them ever intentionally injured me or use a weapon to punish me. And while I have been yelled at, they were never emotionally abusive.

And I’ve never intentionally injured anyone. It’s just not necessary. In fact, it’s counter productive in a civilian environment.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Nice @Dave 4:48p. - “Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.

Sumo is also a very tough discipline taught and ruled over by brutal training ‘methods’ . It’s never gone ‘mainstream’ like karate and judo as ‘international, Olympic sports’. Do many people, here in Japan, have a dislike for Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and their contributions to taking ALL martial arts ‘mainstream’? (Get that feeling from the downvotes in Today’s ‘Entertainment’ article: “A new 'Kung Fu' debuts at a crucial time for Asian Americans”)

Why aren’t other ‘martial arts’ included in the Olympics?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

And he'll just go and get a job beating people up elsewhere. Or, will the federation and even police show some stones and strip him of any license he has? I doubt it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Accidents can happen when training hard. We used similar methods , but instead of bamboo, we used hollow plastic bats that are used for childrens games. And yes, we sometimes caught on on the head or face, but never a bad injury. They are used to help develop reflexes and timing, not to injure the student. If people aren't willing to take a few bruises, they should not train for tournaments.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why so much effort over one time event?

Karate isn't returning to Olympics after Tokyo Olympics.

This is a one time event that will be forgotten after August.

Most of Tokyo Olympic Karate-Kas will have to retrain for Taekwondo if they were to return to the Olympic stage in 2024 and onward.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Fighto!

Real tough guy, bullying and hitting women with sticks. This went way beyind sparring, and became physical abuse.

Good riddance, old loser.

Whether it was a man or a woman his actions were unacceptable and wrong. I don't like how You need to belittle women so much though. She's a martial artist. If I was a woman succeeding in a male dominant country, I would feel very upset if a guy said oh she's a girl, don't hit her. Even though it is part of my sport. I'd feel less than worth.

I'm a woman myself. And the whole feeling offended, or upset on other people's behalf need to stop. Just stop it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And there’s something particularly disgusting about a senior male who abuses a woman.

I realize that I am a man of a certain age and standards change, but a senior male abusing a a woman is just beyond the pale.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My master use to punch, kick and throw and broke my nose and couple of times, I hated him" but it paid off in a "Death Match" on some island in the pacific back in the 70's...I came back alive...Bolo didn't make it

Shouldn't your username be Bruce, and by the way congratulations on the resurrection.

The karate teacher's training methods are not acceptable, he should also face disciplinary action for bullying after resigning.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Do you want to bet he made a 45 degree bow for 10 seconds or more and all was forgiven??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

From my point of view and opinion, I think the current generation has a significant lack of understanding of both routine training and discipline. Both elements go hand in hand, and the student must understand that Karate training is an art of discipline for self-defense. One must take hard training in the Dojo to be able to defend oneself on the streets. However, if the person's mindset is only to see Karate as a sport to win medals and trophies, then just find another dojo to be proud of. I wish Sensei Kagawa the best and I hope that he has not left the art of karate alone for something not worth paying attention to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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