Throughout these two days, the spotlights are on the Kata World Championships Abu Dhabi 2023. One of the noticeable feature of the event is that there is the possibility for men and women to participate equally. Dr Sanda Corak, IJF Education Director and chair of the Gender Equality Commission is especially pleased with that possibility.

"Judo is known all around the world, not only because of the dynamic beauty of judo techniques but also because of its moral values that include courtesy, courage, honesty, honour, modesty, respect, self-control and friendship.

Judo respects gender equality in many ways, with men and women being equal on the tatami regarding access, the rules and prize money. We also have the mixed team competition as part of every world championships and since Tokyo 2020, the Olympic Games.

Another very important and often forgotten fact concerns competition contestants in kata competitions. Pairs at kata championships can participate showcasing real gender equality and equity. Pairs can include a man and a woman or be of the same gender for any given discipline. I also noticed the interesting fact for some of the kata, like the nage-no-kata, that if the pair is mixed, a often women plays the role of tori, more than uke.

I'd say that it is not because of the gender policy but rather because of the roots of kata and the type of movements and philosophy behind it that shows all steps of judo techniques and judo principles. Kata competitions are therefore a very good way of learning judo but also a very good option for those judoka who finished their active shiai career, being women or men and mixing together only based on their technical knowledge and capacities, no matter the gender."

On day two the Kata World Championships Abu Dhabi continues to unfold with the katame-no-kata U-23, the ju-no-kata U-23, the kime-no-kata and the Kodokan goshin-jutsu, and once again the kata equality will be perfectly respected.

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