2017 Year in Review a letter from our CEO

Dec. 23, 2017, 9:20 p.m. (ET)

To our members,


As we reflect on 2017 all I can say is “What a year!” This is our first year as an Olympic sport and a lot has changed. I wanted to share a summary of what has occurred this year.



  • We selected our 2017 National Team at the Olympic Training Center.
  • We held a camp at the OTC for our Senior and Junior Athletes.
  • We presented our 1st Olympic Sport High Performance Plan to the USOC.
  • Mr. Espinós - WKF President, Mr. DiPasquale and Mr. Hampel met with USOC CEO Scott Blackmun to discuss the future of Karate.


  • We brought in one of the most sought-after kumite experts Antonio Olivia – for seminars in Chicago and New York.
  • 4 of our National Coaches attended the USOC’s 3 day Coach Accelerator Program.
  • Coach Hood attended the Combat and Acrobatic Sport Symposium put on by the USOC.


  • We received our Performance Partnership Agreement from the USOC that provided $60,000 in Direct Athlete Support and $75,000 in High Performance Funding Support.
  • We held a National Team camp in Las Vegas along with international athletes.
  • Mr. Robert Hamara, WKF Referee Commission Secretary, presented at our referee course.
  • We had outstanding seminars at the USA Open with Sandra Sanchez, Jesus Del Moral, Antonio Diaz and Douglas Brose.
  • We ran an amazing 15th USA Open and Junior International Cup with our largest number of competitors to date and the best competition we have had.


  • Our Senior National Team traveled to Curacao for the Pan American Karate Federation Championships with a significant improvement over the 2016 SR PKF where Team USA earned 1 gold, 4 bronze and a 5th place. The 2017 results had 3 gold, 1 silver, 7 bronze and four 5th Place finishes. This outstanding performance put Team USA in 4th place overall, up from 7th last year.  An amazing outing by the entire US Delegation with 21 officials, 5 coaches, an Athletic Trainer, a Doctor and a team leader all supporting our athletes.
  • Our Para-Karate Athletes competed in the inaugural PKF Para-Karate Championship and were fully integrated as members of our Senior National Team and received the same funding as the typical athletes.  These 3 amazing athletes earned 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze.
  • Our leadership position in the PKF remains strong with our President Mr. DiPasquale being reelected to the 1st Vice President position in the PKF Executive Committee, Mr. Baxter was named Chairman of the PKF Referee Commission, Mr. Hill was reinstated to the Technical Commission and Mr. Kohn was reinstated to the Para-Karate Commission along with Mrs. Madani. It is extremely important for the United States to hold positions of leadership to keep the PKF strong and have a voice for North America within the PKF.
  • Mr. Baxter joined Mrs. Madani as a member of the WKF Referee Commission.


  • Tom Scott and Sakura Kokumai went to the Olympic Training Center for Elite Athlete Health Profiles to develop support plans for their training.
  • We brought in our USOC Sports Psychologist and Sports Nutritionist for seminars with our Jr and Sr National Team athletes at the National Championships.
  • Our own Tom Scott and Sakura Kokumai put on amazing Seminars at the National Championships.
  • We relaunched the Coaches Education Program utilizing resources our national coaches received in training from the USOC to bring those ideas to our grassroots coaches.
  • We made significant enhancements to the Dan Recognition Program and will continue to evolve that for a major relaunch in 2018.
  • Mr. Nagura - WKF General Secretary, Mr. Sasakawa – President Japan Karate Federation and Mr. Hampel met with USOC CEO Scott Blackmun to continue discussions on the future of Karate and the Olympics.
  • We held our largest National Championship ever in Greenville South Carolina with over 1700 competitors.


  • We presented our 2018 High Performance Plan to the USOC.
  • Junior PKF Championships were held in Buenos Aries, Argentina our athletes were amazing finishing 2nd overall with more medals than 2016.  Our Juniors earned 8 gold medals, 10 silver medals and 15 bronze medals.


  • Completed the USOC SafeSport Audit conducted by Baker Tilly with no observations of change required.  We were one of only 3 NGBs who had no required changes as a result of the audit.


  • Junior World Championships were held in Tenerife Spain our athletes performed well with Madison Malone earning bronze. Overall the team earned 1 bronze and 2 5th place finishes this is a great improvement over 2015 where we had only 1 5th place finish.
  • We will receive an increase in our High Performance Funding by 65% and the USOC will provide $97,000 in Direct Athlete Support and $126,000 in High Performance Funding Support.  We expect to have the agreement finalized in early 2018.


  • Started work on a Regional Referee program to develop officials at the local tournaments.  This program is based on Karate Referee Association program which we acquired and will be enhancing and rebranding in early 2018.


  • Maya Wasowicz and Ashley Davis went to the Olympic Training Center for Elite Athlete Health Profiles to develop support plans for their training.


We had a great year, and I’m proud to say that the athletes were supported at a level that in unprecedented in our history. Overall, we will have provided over $250,000 in financial support to our National Team. Our partnership with the USOC and a focus on results based funding is making a difference for our most elite athletes.  We are proud to say that in 2018 we will have 4 fully funded athletes all ranked in the top 15 of the WKF Rankings.


Our Event staff led by Brody Burns continues to provide amazing support to host incredible competition events. And our referee corps led by Cleve Baxter is one of the best referee corps in the World. Thank you to all the dedicated volunteers that make all this work and allow us to host the best programs and competitions in the United States.


2017 also brought significant changes in the National Office Staff. Change brings an opportunity to look at the National Office differently and we have made and will continue to make additions to our Team. Elizabeth and Christina are amazing and our National Office is operating more efficiently and with better customer service than before and I look forward to continuing to build a great team to support our federation.


Wishing you all a Safe and Joyous Holiday Season!


Looking forward to an Amazing 2018!


Happy Holidays,


Phil Hampel

Chief Executive Officer