SSC Dodesheide to Host European Karate Championships in Osnabrück

A few days before the championship, the anticipation at SSC Dodesheide is great. “Everyone is excited,” reports Markus Höpker, head of the karate department at the SSC and discipline chairman for Shotokan Karate at the International Budo Federation (IBF). When the association asked him whether he could host the European Championships in Osnabrück, he had to swallow at first, he remembers with a smile. After all, there is a lot to organize at an international competition, from the hall to the helpers to the catering.

Athletes from nine countries are expected

The preparations are now on the home stretch. The first competitions are scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. sharp on Saturday. According to Höpker, the European Championship is an open championship to which all European clubs that belong to the IBF are invited. The German branch is smaller than the German Karate Association (DKV) and is not a member of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB). Nevertheless, the umbrella organization is represented in around 40 countries worldwide. In Germany alone, around 80 clubs belong to the IBF. Höpker expects athletes from nine countries to compete in various disciplines at the championship in Osnabrück.

The focus is not on the individual martial arts. Rather, representatives from all martial arts compete against each other in all-style karate. “That also makes it very exciting for the audience,” explains Höpker. The duels are drawn depending on the weight class and are therefore difficult for the athletes to predict in advance.

With weapons and in free combat

The European Championships begin on Saturday with the form runs, so-called katas. Participants perform a series of techniques as if they were fighting against imaginary opponents. In addition to the individual katas, synchronized katas will also be shown. It is important that three athletes move in unison as much as possible. In the case of weapon katas, however, tools such as staffs or swords are incorporated into the technique.

Weapons are not used in the free fight, which follows the formal runs. Although the regulations rule out injuries, things can get rough; especially in full contact fights. With so-called semi-contact, however, the opponent must not be hit hard.

Lisa Höpker (right) was able to prevail against her opponents in the free fight at this year’s German Open. Photo: Kiebert

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As the organizer, Markus Höpker will not be on the mat himself – unlike his daughter Lisa. The 22-year-old was able to qualify for the German national team at the German Open. At the European Championships, the native of Osnabrück will represent her hometown as a local hero.

2023-10-05 13:29:25
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