Brave new beginnings
After a drawn out period of contention during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and political pressure, during which time it became apparent the expectations of Japan and the aspirations of the British Karate Kyokushinkai were no longer compatible, Hanshi Steve Arneil took the momentous decision to respectfully resign from IKO Honbu – both as Country Representative of the UK and EKO Chairman. Liam Keaveney as Ireland Country Representative and EKO Secretary also resigned for the IKO Honbu A very difficult and painful decision by both, but necessary as a means to paving the way open to forging a future that depended more on their own actions rather than those of others.
In September 1992, the International Federation of Karate (Kyokushin) was founded with the British Karate Kyokushinkai and the Irish Karate Kyokushinkai being founder members - the following month saw Israel and Russia join. Many more countries joined the IFK in the following years.
The IFK worked up to its first milestone in surprisingly quick time. Its first World Tournament held in 1997 was a mere six years after its inception. Other international events quickly followed in both Kata and Clicker before a further successful world tournament was held in Spain in 2002.
Since its beginning the IFK has been a Federation in the truest sense of the word - an alliance of organisations which have freely joined together for a common purpose. As long as a common purpose is achieved minor differences within the various national organisations are tolerated. This philosophy is of great value, because it puts national organisations on an international level.
Sosai Mas Oyama, prior to his death, personally awarded Hanshi Arneil with the rank of Shichidan (7th Dan). The entire British Karate community later awarded him with the rank of Hachidan (8th Dan) for his dedication and services to karate in Great Britain. On May 26, 2001, the Board of Country Representatives of the IFK awarded Hanshi Arneil with the rank of Kudan (9th Dan) in recognition of his work in promoting Kyokushin Karate throughout the world during the past 40 years, and in particular during the past 10 years under the banner of the IFK.
On the 24th July 23rd July 2011, the Board of IFK Country Representatives awarded Hanshi Steve Arneil his 10th Dan. Hanshi Arneil was presented his belt by Shihan Liam Keaveney (6th Dan) the IFK Secretary General, on behalf of the IFK. A lifetime of commitment to Kyokushin Karate within the IKO and the IFK since the early 1960’s, Hanshi Arneil is without doubt one of the legends of the Kyokushin Karate worldwide.
The IFK badge: Saiha means extreme destruction, smashing or tearing. The word Saiha can also mean great wave, the source of the IFK logo. No matter how large a problem is encountered, with patience, determination and perseverance (Osu) one can rise above and overcome all obstacles.
Watch Shihan Liam Keaveney give his unique view on the 3rd IFK World Kyokushin Knockdown Tournament hosted by the British Karate Kyokushinkai at Crystal Palace National Sports Centre, London 2005; the tournament was a pivotal moment in the IFK's history.