The Guardian Girls Karate project officially launched at an event in Los Angeles ©WKF

World Karate Federation (WKF) President Antonio Espinós has claimed that the launch of the Guardian Girls Karate project in Los Angeles will "contribute to further connecting karate with society".

The WKF entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to launch the initiative, which aims to provide girls and young women with the tools to overcome situations of gender-based violence through karate.

Spanish official Espinós welcomed the launch of Guardian Girls Karate.

"The Guardian Girls Karate project will contribute to further connecting karate with society and thus using the strength of karate's values to fight gender-based violence," he said.

"Through the agreement today, the WKF, KIF and UNFPA partner to empower women through karate seminars at all Karate 1-Premier League events starting January 2023.

"We will devote all our resources to the success of this project as we believe that there is no greater contribution that we can bring to society than helping in the fight against gender-based violence."

Espinós was present at the launch event in Los Angeles, alongside the consul general of Japan in Los Angeles Kenko Sone, councilmember Monica Rodriguez, KIF global co-founder Shin Koyamada and UNFPA chief of strategic partnership Mariarosa Cutillo.

WKF President Antonio Espinós claimed that Guardian Girls Karate
WKF President Antonio Espinós claimed that Guardian Girls Karate "will contribute to further connecting karate with society" ©WKF

The WKF President met with Japanese karate grandmasters based in the US, and argued that karate has a global reputation for its value in society.

"All of you are fully responsible for the status that karate has reached all over the world," Espinós said.

"Now, karate is a respected, honourable, and highly regarded discipline that has demonstrated, over and over, to bring tremendous added value to society.

"This achievement has only been possible thanks to your contribution of many decades of hard work.

"For that, the karate family will always be immensely grateful to all of you."

Karate made its debut at the Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020 as an additional sport, but missed out on the Paris 2024 programme.

It made the shortlist of nine sports invited to present their case for inclusion when Los Angeles hosts the Olympics in 2028.