Jean-Luc Rougé, member of the IJF Executive Committee, welcomed the delegates, "I am not the Secretary General of the International Judo Federation but, following the IJF President's request, I will keep working for the development of judo and this is why I am here today with you, which makes me very happy. We want to develop and foster the culture of judo. Kata is a big part of our judo culture. I am pleased to be able to talk with you all and I am at your entire disposal to converse.
During the next two days we will be focusing on kata competition but we must keep in mind that the kata are part of judo and of the judo culture beyond competition."
Then Franco Capelletti, IJF Kata Commission Chair and IJF 10th dan, said, "Welcome to everyone. I truly believe that together we are doing a very good job. Kata can be used easily for the development of judo clubs. Often kata is considered to be for elderly people but actually we can use kata for the young practitioners as well. Through the teaching of the kata and their principles, we can implement better teaching methods and offer our young people a good future.
In fact, kata is good for everyone and needs to be adapted for everyone. For instance, for older people the break falls are more problematic. What unites us all is our love for judo."
Daniel De Angelis, IJF Kata Commission Director, explained, "The Kata World Championships Abu Dhabi 2023 are already breaking a record, that of participation. We have 144 participants from 44 countries. I am happy to see so many of you here today. I am also happy to see that all the continents are represented. During this event we will judge senior and junior competitors. I think it is really nice to see the support we get from the International Judo Federation that really believes in all aspects of the development of judo."
Raul Camacho, Sport Director of the Kata Commission and also an international referee on the World Judo Tour, gave an extensive presentation of the rules and underlined that since the first global kata competition in 2008, the discipline has been improving massively. Here in Abu Dhabi a CARE system (video review) and supervisors will be in action to make sure that the right winners will be designated. Judo is not only about international competitions that lead to the Olympic Games, it is also about the traditions, the respect and the culture of judo. The kata world championships are thus necessary to further develop the practice of judo worldwide.