Ireland Launches Guardian Girls Karate in Dublin 🇮🇪

The highly successful program, which generated significant interest during this year's presentations in Cairo (Egypt), Rabat (Morocco), Madrid (Spain), and Fukuoka (Japan), took center stage on Saturday in Dublin. The collaborative effort of its three creators—the World Karate Federation, the United Nations Population Fund, and the Koyamada International Foundation—was showcased at the event.

The impeccably hosted and organized gathering in Dublin, courtesy of the Ireland Karate Federation (ONAKAI), exemplified the program's remarkable impact, particularly when wholeheartedly supported by the National Karate organization, as evidenced by ONAKAI's commitment.

Distinguished attendees included Chris Kelly, President of the Irish Karate Federation; Nora Stapleton, Women in Sport Lead with Sport Ireland; Norimasa Yoshida, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Japan to Ireland; Nia Lyte, President of KIF; and Toshihisa Nagura, WKF General Secretary. Monica Ferro, Head of UNFPA's London office, participated via video message.

Mr. Chris Kelly, President of the Irish Karate Federation expressed the program's significance:

"This initiative holds great importance in promoting gender equality and empowering women worldwide to protect themselves from various forms of gender-based violence. As president, I am fully committed to championing this project through the National Federation, in collaboration with our women's sports team, and with the support of Sport Ireland."

Ms. Nora Stapleton, Women in Sport Lead with Sport Ireland, who participated as a student in the Seminar said:

“I did take part in the Seminar today. We walked through the door and suddenly were thrown onto the mat and straight into it. I think like everybody here today, I certainly learned something new. And I did feel empowered.

“(This initiative) shows how progressive the sport is to be able to design and create a program such as this one. I also think this could be a really great gateway for women and girls to actually get into karate as well as other sports. I look forward to seeing what the future holds and how the program might roll out, whether it's in clubs, communities, schools, or workplaces and think it can be something that can be introduced widely.”

Mr. Norimasa Yoshida, the Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Japan to Ireland said:

“The demonstration was very nice. Karate was born in Japan and it's a martial art of Japan. For me, karate used to be just about fighting and competing against each other. But I just learned that karate is a martial art with a strong base on self-defence. So that's why karate very much fits into self-protection for women. I hope these activities will strengthen the ties and the relationship between Ireland and Japan in the near future.”

Mr. Toshihisa Nagura, WKF General Secretary said:

“We started this project last year, almost one year ago in Los Angeles, United States, and then this year we did this initiative in Cairo, Madrid, Rabat, and Fukuoka. And now here in Dublin. Next month, we will have a big seminar in Budapest, Hungary, when we have our World Championships. Next year, we have a plan to establish the so-called Guardian Girls Karate Academy in each country of our 200 National Federations all over the world. And we hope that in each country, National Federations can establish the Guardian Girls Karate Academies.”

Ms. Nia Lyte, the President of Koyamada International Foundation said:

“The benefits of Karate are amazing. Karate gives you confidence and empowerment and it helps you defend yourself or escape from a life-threatening situation. It also helps you mentally, it gives you mental resilience to be able not to freeze but to react. Karate sport training provides women with self-defence skills that allow them to face gender-based violence situations.”

Ms. Monica Ferro, the Head of UNFPA London Office said in her video message:

“Gender-based violence is one of the most prevalent violations in the world. We know this type of violence undermines the health, the dignity, the security, and the autonomy of the survivors. UNFPA is the lead agency working to reduce gender-based violence; this is why today I am thrilled to be supporting this seminar. Karate is a powerful tool to empower women and girls and to grow self-esteem and leadership skills.”

The Presentation followed the Guardian Girls Karate Seminar held in Dublin today as well. A group of over 30 women from Dublin participated in the women’s self-defence Seminar to empower women against situations of Gender-Based Violence.

Created by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, the Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) and the World Karate Federation (WKF), the Guardian Girls Global Karate Project aims to promote gender equality and empower women and girls to defend themselves from all forms of Gender-Based Violence through Karate training.