Guardian Girls Karate workshops this year include events in Spain (pictured), Egypt, Morocco, Japan, Ireland and Hungary. (Courtesy Koyamada International Foundation)

In a global effort to combat gender-based violence against girls and women, the Koyamada International Foundation USA (KIF USA) and USA National Karate-do Federation (USA-NKF) are bringing together diverse communities of women from the greater Los Angeles area for the two-day Guardian Girls Karate Women’s Self-Defense Seminar.

The seminar will be held on Saturday, April 15, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 16, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Terasaki Budokan, 249 S. Los Angeles St. (near Second Street) in Little Tokyo. The event is free.

Instruction will be led by Elisa Au, world karate champion, and assisted by Sakura Kokumai, U.S. Karate Olympian. Celebrities and special guests include “The Last Samurai” cast member Shin Koyamada, Tokyo 2020 Olympics gold medalist and four-time world karate champion Ryo Kiyuna, Los Angeles City Councilmember Monica Rodriguez, Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles Kenko Sone, Secretary General of the World Karate Federation (WKF) Toshihisa Nagura and others.

This women’s karate self-defense seminar is a part of the global efforts of the Guardian Girls Global Karate Project, created and launched by the Koyamada International Foundation, the WKF and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The mission is to empower girls and women to defend themselves from any forms of violence through karate training.

KIF, WKF and UNFPA are launching the project of Guardian Girls Karate during the WKF’s main events of the year, to be held in Egypt, Spain, Morocco, Japan, Ireland and Hungary throughout 2023.

The Los Angeles event will be amplified globally by KIF, UNFPA and WKF through their combined global networks of nearly 200 countries, territories and areas with member national federations and country offices in which they have relationships in the fields of government, business, medical, academic, educational, media and entertainment, and sports.

In addition, the programs will potentially reach tens of millions of global followers and supporters through their combined social media outlets.

USA National Karate-do Federation is the national governing body of karate for the U.S. Olympic Committee and as such is the official member national association of the World Karate Federation in the U.S. As the largest karate organization in the U.S. in “nature, quality, scope and strength” as determined by the Amateur Sports Act and the USOC, the USANKF remains a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization open to all martial arts practitioners. It is an organization dedicated to the growth and promulgation of all types of karate in this country.

The Koyamada International Foundation USA (KIF USA) is a Los Angeles-based U.S. chapter of the Koyamada International Foundation, an international nonprofit organization founded in 2008 by international celebrity Koyamada and his wife, Nia Lyte.

KIF USA manages numerous global initiatives, including its flagship program Guardian Girls, a gender-based violence prevention program, in the U.S.

In 2019, the Koyamada International Foundation initially signed a partnership agreement with the United Nations Population Fund to develop the self-defense Guardian Girls program aimed at preventing gender-based violence for underprivileged girls and women as a means to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

In 2022, the Koyamada International Foundation and the World Karate Federation signed a global partnership to cooperate in fostering gender equality and to fight gender-based violence globally through the practice of karate and the Guardian Girls program.

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