History of Karate in Uganda»

Karate-Do was introduced in Uganda in the early seventies (1970s) by a Japanese instructor, sensei Tamora. Tamora now living in the Kenyan capital Nairobi, left Uganda in the late seventies (1970s) during the rule of field martial Idi Amin Dada (RIP).

After the departure of sensei Tamora, one of his senior students, sempai John Okurut (deceased) was left in charge of Karate-Do in the country and he headed a Goju-ryu club in Kampala city, Dragon karate-Do club. He maintained it until 1985 when he passed away.

Prior to that, in 1981, sensei James Opio Gonzales, by then a sempai and member of Dragon Karate-Do club, had returned from Nairobi where he had spent some good time acquiring skills of Shotokan karate. He introduced Shotokan in Uganda.

After the death of sempai Okurut, some karate clubs switched from Goju-ryu to Shotokan style. However some few members remained practicing the Goju-ryu style beside Shotokan. From then, the Shotokan style took root and is presently the most practiced style in Uganda with many senior members.

In the late 1980s, karate-do practitioners came together and formulated themselves into Uganda Karate-Do Association. They elected sensei Haruna Sentumbwe as the Association's president who led the association until 2005 when different karate styles namely Shotokan, Wado-Ryu and Goju-Kai agreed to draft a new constitution to form a federation. The result was, Uganda Karate-Do Federation (UKF), which now is the main interest organisation and represent Karate in Uganda.

The federation, which has over 15 registered member clubs, voted it’s first current executive into office March 2005. The elections were held at Uganda National Council of Sports (NCS) Lugogo indoor stadium.


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