When the Norwegians, together with the Danes and Swedes, went on their Viking expeditions, they were feared all over Europe. But they had to wait a thousand years before learning the noble art of fighting. In 1969, a young Berliner came to the country with nothing but self confidence. His dreams were ambitious, but with hard work and a strong belief in what he was doing, he succeeded in less than six years. Today, due to his promotion of the art, karate is one of the most popular sports in Norway. It all began in 1969 when Wolfgang Wedde, a black belt from Berlin, settled down in Oslo. Karate was until then a practically unknown sport in Norway. Wolfgang realized that to continue his own fighting career, he would have to start teaching his future opponents.
“I started with just a few students, but they showed such enormous interest and motivation, I was forced to expand and choose the role of instructor,” he recalls. He established the Karate Institute of Oslo and today it is the largest school in Norway. Wolfgang wants karate to be a sport for everybody. His institute offers various courses to cover all wishes and needs. In the dojo, small children are trained by specially educated instructors, while their mothers are learning self defense and exercise to keep their bodies in shape. Business men with stress problems are learning how to relax and young ambitious fighters are preparing for the next tournament. Wolfgang states, “We have changed the traditional karate with this in mind because we believed the concept of
forms had to change. Something was missing in the old forms. There was no realism and no efficiency. If you are incapable of defending yourself, then there is something wrong.” “Our karate is based on the Korean style Tae Kwon Do, but it is formed for modern European people as a competitive all-around sport.” He teaches a combination of karate and ju-jitsu and is the only Norwegian teaching karate on a university level and in the national military academy. Through radio and television he has become known all over the country. He and his team are often traveling around making demonstrations. His students are improving rapidly and they are always among the best in national tournaments. In spring 1977 in France, one of his boys defeated the European full contact king—the professional Dominique Valera—on knockout. His school also won the European Cup in super lightweight 1977. “I look at karate from two different points of view. It is a competitive modern sport, a fight man-to-man. But it is also a way of training yourself both physically and spiritually. The fight is against your interior resistance to enable you to find the balance between your body and your mind. People are different. Not all of us like to train in a fighting situation. That is why we have started teaching karate forms along with music. It is a karate ballet in a way—a thorough dance consisting of simulated fighting movements, choreographed and set to music and performed in unison by a group.” Wolfgang Wedde, thoughtful as always, has known for a long time that the quality of karate in Norway could be endangered by “rip off” artists. To protect this art, he formed some years ago an alliance which includes all the schools in the country he or his former students have started. Today, it is a growing organization with more and more people and activities involved. It arranges tournaments and exams and educates referees and judges. The most important thing on the program now is in the making of plans for a Scandinavian Organization to help the cooperation across the borders. Wolfgang Wedde is not afraid of plunging headlong into new and uncertain activities and his imagination is as unlimited as his energy. One of his latest ideas is Sport 2000, a young and exclusive store in the middle of Oslo, specializing in martial arts equipment. He is now working to establish himself in the other countries and getting in contact with their schools and organizations. We are sure this remarkable man will succeed in whatever he is doing. We know he will be doing quite a lot of things in the years to come, for as he says himself, “The importance is not to make business. You have to believe in what you are doing; you have to have idealism and humility. If you forget these, you have lost.”