Congratulations to our Dubai-based kailiyan Franklin Kawaen for his karate world championship win. He joins the ranks of Julian Chees and company whose achievements in the field of martial arts have helped shape a positive image for Igorots around the world. Kudos to you Franklin and keep on kicking.
Here’s the report on Franklin by Harley Palangchao. Photo above is courtesy of k-1.ae; please note that it is taken from a different event and not from the world championship which is the subject of Harley’s article.
Igorot karate teacher wins world championship
By Harley F. Palangchao/Manila Times
BAGUIO CITY: Franklin Kawaen may have represented the “wrong” country but to people in this northern hideaway, he will always be one of them—an Igorot who has brought pride and honor to the Philippines.
Kawaen, a karate instructor based in Dubai, won the championship in the Kobe Osaka International Karate World Cup held in Latina, Italy, from June 29 to July 6, 2008. He represented the United Arab Emirates in the competition.
His reportedly perfect and convincing execution of the Unsu (cloud hands) kata (form) earned him the victory over a Japanese shitoryu instructor for the title.
Kawaen, a fifth dan blackbelt and member of the Japan Karate Association (JKA) Orient before settling in Dubai, was a top contender in the kata competition participated by seasoned karatekas from 24 countries.
A true-blue Igorot from Maligcong (located in the Mountain Province) and Baguio City, he defeated an Italian in the semifinal to enter the championship match.
One of his students represented Iran and won a bronze medal. Kawaen teaches at Al Shabab Club in Dubai.
News about Kawaen’s triumph spread quickly not only among his colleagues in the JKA Orient Young Men Christian Academy in Baguio but also among his former teammates in the Philippine national karate team.
The victory is seen as a morale-booster to his fellow karatekas in the Philippines.
Kawaen is described by the Martial Arts Academy-Dubai website as a famous karate instructor and competitor.
He also was a champion in the Third International Open Karate Master Cup held at Al Shabab Club in Dubai in September 2007. In 2006, he won in the Second International Open Karate Master Cup held in Etisalat Academy Recreation and Sports Complex, also in Dubai.
Again, his reportedly great execution of the Unsu, which he performed when he was promoted to first-dan blackbelt in Manila several years ago, was his weapon in winning the championship in Italy.
The execution of the Unsu requires constant transformations where all parts of the body are used as weapons, with feints and provocations leading to unique combination techniques and multidirectional kicks.
Kawaen, 42, is one of the Igorots bringing pride and honor to the Philippines and, perhaps, the United Arab Emirates, too.
Seasoned karate kata champion Julian Chees, who also hails from Maligcong and Baguio City, teaches karate in Germany.