USA Karate Arizona ASO (501c3 nonprofit corporation) is the approved sports organization for USA Karate in the state of Arizona. USA Karate is the national governing body for both the United States Olympic Committee and the World Karate Federation (WKF).
Up until 2009, Arizona karate competition operated in an unorganized and fragmented manner. Tournaments were loosely organized, formal referee training did not exist, and standard rules were not followed.
Although Arizona had produced a few great athletes who had success at the national and international level, a format did not exist in which the majority of Arizona athletes could succeed. It was in this year a group of school owners, all from different backgrounds and organizations, started discussing a vision to create an opportunity for Arizona athletes. After considering several national karate organizations, it was decided to go with USA Karate (USNKF) because of its Olympic connection. USA Karate was the governing body for the United States Olympic Committee and the World Karate Federation (WKF).
In 2011, this group formally adopted a business model and formed the non-profit corporation USA Karate Arizona ASO and became the Approved Sports Organization (ASO) of USA Karate in the state of Arizona.
In 2012, USA Karate Arizona held its first Arizona Karate Championship and USA National Qualifier. With mandatory preregistration, never before done in Arizona, attendance was expected to be fewer than 100 competitors. Surprisingly, attendance hit 250 and instantly became Arizona’s largest traditional karate competition. In addition, six $250 scholarships were awarded by drawing to competitors who were going to participate in the upcoming USA Karate Nationals, another first in Arizona.
In 2014, several new competitions were added to the annual calendar to improve the level of competition. These city championships (Chandler, Scottsdale, and Glendale), while smaller in scope than the Arizona Karate Championships and the USA National Qualifier, gave Arizona competitors the opportunity to enhance their competition skills without leaving the state. A point system was implemented where points were awarded to medal winners of each competition. At the end of the competition season, competitors with the most points were recognized for their successes.
During this year, a program to show respect and honor to those pioneers who had been instrumental in the development of karate in Arizona was formed called the Arizona Budo Society. Showing respect to seniors is an important cornerstone of traditional martial art philosophy. Though competition skill enhancement is important, the true values of respect and honor are considered more essential in the traditional martial art world. USA Karate Arizona ASO wanted to make sure these values were not lost or overlooked. These important senior instructors are recognized at various functions throughout the year and give input on various areas of management and operations.
In 2015, Arizona held its first Awards Banquet for the 2014 competition season. With an amazing 450 participants attending the event at Scottsdale’s Doubletree Resort, 300 swords were awarded to Arizona’s best champions.
In 2016, USA Karate Arizona ASO joined the larger Arizona sports community and developed a relationship with the Grand Canyon State Games, a division of the Arizona Sports and Tourism Commission. Two city tournaments, Scottsdale and Glendale, became competitions sponsored by USA Karate Arizona ASO and the Grand Canyon State Games. This relationship elevated public awareness of USA Karate AZ and brought more recognition to our athletes.
Also during this year, the first annual Fund Raising Golf Tournament was organized with the goal to raise funds to help Arizona karate competitors compete abroad.
In 2018, the names for the three city tournaments were change to USA Karate AZ Summer Shiai, Fall Shiai, and Winter Shiai. This was done to help improve the public understanding that all competitions are USA Karate Arizona ASO events.
The goals of USA Karate Arizona ASO are to continually raise the skill levels of our competitors, referees, and coaches. To maintain the high standards of traditional karate while helping fund competition programs in our participating schools and financially support our athletes who make the USA Karate Team.
We are relentless in striving for perfection.